MOOSE JAW -- The Regina Pats opened the WHL's 50th Anniversary season with a 3-1 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors Thursday evening at Mosaic Place.
Zach Sawchenko made 32 saves and Moose Jaw did all its scoring on the power play as the Warriors knocked off their TransCanada rivals before a jubilant crowd of 4208.
Jiri Smejkal, Ryan Bowen and Brett Howden scored for the Warriors (1-0-0).
Lane Zablocki found the back of the net for the Pats (0-1-0), who got a 26-save outing from Daniel Wapple.
Moose Jaw went 3 for 4 on the power play while Regina scored once on seven chances with the man advantage. The Pats outshot the Tribe 33-29 however at one point had a 30-18 edge.
There were a host of WHL dignitaries on hand including, from the league office, Commissioner Ron Robison and V.P. Richard Doerksen. 88-year old Pats legend Del Wilson was flown in from Vancouver Island, while legendary Calgary broadcaster Ken Newans was brought in to co-MC a pregame reception with former Warriors voice Rob Carnie.
The Pats and Warriors conclude the season opening home-and-home series Saturday night at the Brandt Centre with a 7:00 pm faceoff on 620 CKRM.
(With files from the Canadian Press)