|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
It's been a good week and looking forward to a weekend of football with the Riders and Thunder both in action at Mosaic Stadium. We will get to that in a moment but first a big congrats to the Pats Director of Game Day Operations Joel Pickering and his new wife Sarah who were married in Nipawin on Saturday. They were kind enough to ask me to emcee the reception and it was a great night. Congrats guys!
Regina Pats forward Sam Steel and Team Canada won gold at the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial U18 tournament on Saturday. It was the 8th straight gold for Canada at the tournament. Steel recorded three points in 5 games played.
It was the first time Steel had played in an actual game since he suffered a high ankle sprain late last season in Prince Albert and missed the rest of the year. Steel said it was good to get out there. "It was great to get back into a real game. It's been a while and was something I was looking forward to so it was nice to get some games in. It's always different from practice to game but I thought it felt really good, no issues there really. Coming into camp it should be 100 per cent."
Steel says the tournament as a whole was great to be apart of. "It was a really good experience to get to play against the top players in the world and with the top players in the world. It's something you only get to do at international competitions so it was a really good experience. Whenever you get to play with players like that it's an honour. We had a really good team and a great group of guys off the ice too and you can't ask for anything more than that."
It was the 8th straight gold for Canada at the tournament and Steel said he is glad they kept that streak going. "You don't want to end the streak and it was a good thing we didn't. But like I said we had such a great team and I think a lot of us were confident going in and we came out with a gold medal, it was awesome. It was pretty special. It's something you watch growing up like the World Juniors. You watch them winning the gold medal and you always want to win a gold medal for your country so to be able to do that is pretty special."
Steel now will turn his focus to the 2015/16 season with the Regina Pats. His 17-year-old and more importantly NHL draft year. As a rookie last season Steel finished with 17 goals and 37 assists for 54 points in 61 games.
Pats training camp opens a week from Friday.
- Some other WHL news of note. The Swift Current Broncos acquired the Winnipeg Jets Dustin Bfuglien's half brother Calvin Spencer yesterday from Seattle. Spencer has played 100 games in the league and has 19 points and 93 penalty minutes. He is entering his 19-year-old season. The Broncos gave up a conditional 6th round pick in 2017 in the trade.
- The Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club announced the hiring of Josh MacNevin as an assistant coach late last week. MacNevin, joins new Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio and incumbent assistant coach Mike Craig to complete the coaching staff for this season.
- And lastly The Prince Albert Raiders announced Friday they have appointed Mark Odnokon as Skills Coach and Terry Lange as Strength and Conditioning Coach.
The Regina Thunder opened up the regular season with a big win at home to the Winnipeg Rifles. There were two other contests over the weekend and here is a week 1 recap of action in the PFC courtesy of cjfl.org.
THUNDER 49 - RIFLES 32
Week 1 saw another high scoring affair in Regina, as the Thunder held on to beat the Winnipeg Rifles, 49-32 with the teams combining for 35 points in the fourth quarter.
The Thunder used a successful running attack, tallying 277 yards on the ground led by Colton Klassen who rushed 18 times for 139 yards and a major. Victor St. Pierre-Laviolette was equally effective rushing six times for 116 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Quarterback Jaeden Marwick left the game before halftime with an injury. He finished 5 of 9 for 70 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Kristiane Desautels. Back-up Sawyer Buettner was 7 of 17 for 109 yards in relief.
The Thunder got into the action as well as Ashton Vien scored a touchdown on a blocked punt.
Defensively the Thunder forced four turnovers. Taylor Mayer, Dustin Erbach and Mason Dick each picked off passes, while Vien recovered a fumble. Terry Giovannetti recorded the lone sack.
The Thunder (1-0) will host the Edmonton Wildcats (1-0) on Sunday at 2:00pm.
The Winnipeg Rifles showed a lot of fight on Saturday in Regina collected 360 yards offensively.
Former BCFC Rookie of the Year and new Rifles pivot Jamie Ybarra finished 13 of 27 for 233 yards and threw three touchdown passes in his PFC debut. He would find Timothy Demidiuk, Alexander Tachinski and Brendan Naujoks in the end zone. His favourite target however was Ian Lee who caught a game high five passes for 107 yards.
On the ground Jonathan Remple scored the lone major, but former VI Raider Michael Ritchott led the charge with 16 carries for 103 yards getting reunited with former teammate Ybarra.
The Rifles defence was led by Chris Brown-Fillion and Joshua Onyebuchi who each had four tackles. Spencer Riche collected the lone sack.
Sunday afternoon the Rifles (0-1) will host the defending champion Saskatoon Hilltops (1-0) at 1:00pm.
HILLTOPS 31 - COLTS 10
Speaking of the Saskatoon Hilltops, the champs began the season right where they left off last year, with a 31-10 win over the Calgary Colts.
The passing attack from quarterback Jared Andreychuk led the charge as he completed 16 of 30 for 249 yards and threw a pair of touchdowns. He found Chad Braun for a game high seven time s for 63 yards, but Evan Kopchynski was the main man with three catches for 116 yards and a score. Logan Fischer also caught a touchdown pass.
Veteran Hilltops kicker Brett Thorarinsson was 3 of 4 in field goals, including hitting from 45 yards out.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Hilltops pitched a second half shutout for forced four turnovers. Defensive lineman Tom Schnitzler collected three tackles, two sacks and a knockdown. Derek Sadownick intercepted a pass while Dillon Buckle jumped on a fumble for a touchdown. James Vause and Austin Thorarinsson also recovered fumbles.
The champs (1-0) stay on the road on Sunday and will visit the Winnipeg Rifles (0-1) at 1:00pm.
The Calgary Colts didn’t score in the second half collecting just 279 yards of total offence.
Quarterback John Kiesman finished 20 of 29 for 237 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Dylan Minshull. Kyle Brick led the Colts with five catches for 97 yards.
Kicker Kyle Byrne who is kicking for the “Kick It Champion” program was good on a 38 yard field goal helping raise money for kids cancer research.
The Colts “D” forced three turnovers as Connor Robinson and Owen Redlick each picked off passes and Tariq Lachance recovered a fumble.
Saturday the Colts (0-1) will head north on Highway 2 and face the Edmonton Huskies (0-1) for the lone PFC game at 7:00pm.
WILDCATS 35 - HUSKIES 33
The City of Champions became a shootout on Saturday night as the Wildcats scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Edmonton Huskies 35-33. Both teams combined for 943 yards of total offence.
The Cats had a balanced attack gaining 235 yards on the ground led by Bray Josue who carried 12 times for 165 yards and scored twice. Armand Katamba scored a touchdown on seven carries.
Through the air, veteran quarterback Jordan Olson finished 12 of 24 for 204 yards and threw a pair of TD passes. Six different receivers caught passes as Tristan Schutlenkamper and Brandon Olson hauled in touchdowns.
The Wildcats defence didn’t create a turnover but did collect three sacks. Travis Semenok, Marcus Goods and Tony Savchuk each had a solo sack. Gordie Poliak finished with a team high seven tackles.
This Sunday the Wildcats (1-0) will travel to Regina to take on the Thunder (1-0) at 2:00pm.
The Edmonton Huskies let Week 1 slip away leading 24-14 going into the final quarter. They outgained the Wildcats recording 518 yards of total offence despite the loss.
Running back Jimmie Airey was simply awesome carrying 24 times for 190 yards and three touchdowns. Landon Rosene added a major on four carries. Quarterbacks Bradley Launhardt and Kieran Pruden finished 16 of 32 for 214 yards, neither one of them throwing a touchdown pass.
Defensively Brandon Mellen led the club with four tackles and the lone interception. Stephan Paleniuk and Michael Getzinger also had four tackles.
The Huskies (0-1) will host the Calgary Colts (0-1) for the lone Saturday game at 7:00pm.
- The Riders are sold out for Saturday's contest at home to the Calgary Stampeders. Well done Rider Nation! I did not expect that email from the team yesterday but makes a guy proud to be from this province.
- I'm going to have a tough time picking the Riders in our weekly pool this week considering how good Calgary looked last weekend against the Ottawa RedBlacks. However I do believe they have a chance at winning. The bye week has to have done some good and home field has to come into play because it hasn't yet this year. I am cautiously optimistic lets say.
- The Blue Jays got a big win on the road last night in Philadelphia which kicked off an 8 game road swing. Josh Donaldson hit two more home runs and leads the Majors with 91 RBI. He keeps letting the world know that he is one of the best players in baseball. Is the the MVP for this year? While the biased side of me says yes, there is a guy named Mike Trout with the Angels who could be the guy for a second straight year. Regardless, all I care is that the Jays win and get to the post-season.
- Last but certainly not least. I think the whole city should be proud of the Regina Red Sox and what they were able to accomplish this season. From the lows of their big losing streak to getting it together to even make the playoffs and then make the run to the WMBL championship. They showed a lot of heart and it was fun to watch. Great season guys! Can't wait until next year.
That's all I've got for today, have a great week!