|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
- As always lets start with the Regina Pats. What an incredible weekend at the Brandt Centre. The team was dominant in a 5-1 win over Medicine Hat on Friday night. It was a massive game with the Tigers just 5 points back in the Eastern Conference standings heading in. The Pats had their foot on the gas from the start and didn't look back. Adam Brooks had another night to remember with 4 assists and Tyler Brown did the rest making 41 saves.
On Saturday, well, what a game. The Prince George Cougars were in town and it was the best game of the year in my opinion. From the animosity on the ice, the comeback and the atmosphere in the building... again what a game. The Pats won 5-3 thanks to a late goal from Rykr Cole and then Cole Sanford sealed it with an empty netter, his second goal of the contest and third point. The game got off to a dirty start, after every whistle the Pats were getting abused and Austin Wagner was forced to leave the game after taking a slash on the wrist from Sam Ruopp. However the Pats didn't back down, battled back from a two goal deficit in the second for the win. Tyler Brown was absolutely fantastic and his two saves on Jesse Gabrielle going post to post will challenge for the WHL plays of the week. A performance to remember and for the first time this year the Pats won on back to back nights.
- It's amazing what a two win weekend can do for a team. The outlook is so positive, especially with the Moose Jaw Warriors well within striking distance, just 5 points ahead and the Pats have two games in hand. The Warriors will host the Prince Albert Raiders tonight. Moose Jaw lost captain Brayden Point to injury again on Friday and he did not suit up Saturday against the Red Deer Rebels. I have not heard the extent of the injury but Point has not been the same player since before his first injury this season. Dryden Hunt however has been unbelievable. Was named the WHL's player of the month last week and is two points back of the Regina Pats Adam brooks for the WHL scoring lead.
- Speaking of injuries. Some startling rumours coming out of Kelowna as it pertains to their starting goaltender Jackson Whistle. The talk around the rink this weekend was that Whistle could be done for the year with a hip injury. What a loss that would be for the defending champion Rockets. However Michael Herringer has filled in admirably in Whistle's absence.
- As for the Pats injuries, things are looking a lot brighter for Fridays game against Prince Albert. The Pats will get defenceman Connor Hobbs as well as forwards Adam Berg and Aaron Macklin back into the lineup. Hobbs missed the last 7, Berg the last 5 and Macklin the last 4, all with upper-body injuries. Austin Wagner meanwhile is day to day and the team will see how his wrist progresses this week. Luckily for him it is not broken and if he does miss time it won't be long term.
- Back to the Pats. forward Jared McAmmond had quite a weekend. First he got back into the lineup on Friday after missing time with an upper-body injury. Then on Saturday he celebrated his 19th birthday by scoring a big goal in his 100th career game against the Prince George Cougars. Great to see for the Grande Chache product who has been so good and worked so hard this season.
- I want to recognize the play of the Swift Current Broncos today. A lot of people probably counted the Broncos out after trading away forward Jake DeBrusk and goaltender Landon Bow ahead of the deadline. However, the Broncos are the hottest team outside the playoffs right now having won 7 of their last 10 and sit 9 points out. They are the closest team to Edmonton and Regina who both have 53 points on the year. Head Coach and GM Mark Lamb deserves a lot of credit for bringing in guys who can play in the trades. Lane Pedersen has provided scoring after coming over from Red Deer and forward Jamal Watson and goaltender Taz Burman have been great since coming from Seattle. They are going to continue to push for a post season berth with 20 games left.
- Big congrats to Ron Robison on the 5 year extension as the WHL's commissioner. A great guy that has been so good for the league and major junior hockey in Canada! Not a surprise the board of governors wanted to keep him around.
- Sidney Crosby is back to being Sidney Crosby. Watched the Penguins take on the Ducks on Monday and my goodness he looks like the best player in the world again. Crosby scored an absolute beauty as a part of a two goal performance on Monday and has goals in 7 straight. The Penguins look like a contender again after the coaching change.
- Super Bowl 50 was ok. It wasn't the most exciting game but the Denver defence was fun to watch. Obviously they were the deciding factor in the win. Congrats to Peyton Manning! He didn't have to carry the team but I would be surprised if he doesn't ride off into the sunset as a champion. A heck of a way to go out. As for the criticism on the Panthers Cam Newton... Give the guy a break. Yes he was less than accommodating in his post game interview but go lose a Super Bowl and then you can give him a hard time for not taking it in stride.
- I have nothing to say on CFL Free Agency except that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have to be over the salary cap already. Every time I opened Twitter on Tuesday they had signed a new player and the money totals are not low.
- Tonight's Pats TV on Access 7 starting at 6:30 includes my guests assistant coach Brad Herauf and forwards Cole Sanford and Jared McAmmond.
That's all I have for today, have a great week!