|Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews|
- Crazy it's the final week of the regular season in the WHL. Training camp seems like it was light years ago and yet it still feels like the year has gone fast. Lots left to be decided though with three games left on the season.
The Pats are coming off an incredible three games. The club won 5-2 in Swift last Wednesday and then swept a home and home with the Moose Jaw Warriors on the weekend. All year there has not been a three game stretch where the Pats were so dominant. They outscored their opponents 15-7 in the games, the powerplay went 4 for 8, the penalty kill 17 for 19 with two short handed goals and they outshot the opposition 127-93 in the three wins.
Now Regina is just a point behind the Warriors for third in the East Division with three games left. The Pats will host Saskatoon tonight, host Swift Current on Friday and visit Brandon on Saturday. Moose Jaw meanwhile hosts Prince Albert tonight, visits Brandon Friday and hosts Swift Current Saturday. Both teams have two home games and the Pats need two more points that the Warriors to take over third in the East Division and play the Prince Albert Raiders in the first round. If that does not happen, it's likely Lethbridge in round one for the Pats or there is an outside chance at the Red Deer Rebels.
- Jordan Hollett got the call when starting goaltender Tyler Brown got sick and could not play starting last Wednesday. Hollett responded well going 3-0-0-0 with a 2.27 G.A.A and a .924 save percentage. He gave the team what the needed and now Brown is back and ready to go for the final week and the playoffs.
- Tip of the hat to the Pats top players who did a heck of a job shutting down the Moose Jaw Warriors top guns. The Adam Brooks, Austin Wagner and Lane Zablocki line smothered the Warriors Brayden Point, Dryden Hunt and Noah Gregor in the two game series, limiting the three to 4 points combined. while the Pats top line put up 13 points. Adam Brooks entered the weekend a point back of Hunt for the WHL scoring lead and then put up 5 points to Hunt's 1 to take a three point advantage into the final week of the year. The Pats did what most teams have struggled to do all year long; keep those top Warriors from being the difference in a game. From what I saw in the two games, no doubt Adam Brooks deserves to the the Eastern Conference nominee for the Player of the Year. In a head to head situation, in the biggest games of the year, he dominated. Nothing against Hunt, great guy, he's having a great season and he deserves all the credit in the world but Brooks proved something on the weekend. I put my player of the year votes in to the league yesterday. Brooks was number 1 and Hunt number 2. Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings deserves a vote too but I only get two of them.
- Cole Sanford just keeps on rolling. Six game goal streak, with 8 goals in those games now for the 20-year-old. He has 20 goals in 27 games with the Pats. Incredible stretch, and the way he is putting the puck in is so impressive. The quick release and how heavy his shot is... wow, fun to watch.
- Defenceman Jared Freadrich got his 20th point of the season over the weekend. He is just the fourth rookie d-man to reach the 20 point plateau for the Pats in the last decade. The others were Dmitri Sinitsyn, Brandon Davidson and Nick Ross. Pretty good company.
- The WHL playoff race is so fun to watch. I was glued to my couch last night watching the Kootenay Ice beat the Edmonton Oil Kings 2-0. Edmonton with a win would have all but sewn up the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. But now they remain just two points ahead of Medicine Hat with two games left to play. The Tigers will take on Lethbridge twice and the Oil Kings have two against Red Deer. You never know what could happen. The Rebels stubbed their toes a little last night in a 4-2 loss at home to Calgary. A win would have put Red Deer to within a point of Lethbridge for top spot in the Central Division but with the loss the Hurricanes just need a single point out of their last two games to secure the division crown.
- Out West... my goodness. The Victoria Royals have won 10 straight and have all but locked up the number one seed in the league for the playoffs. Kelowna is four points back. The Kamloops Blazers have won 7 in a row and are now four points ahead of the Prince George Cougars who have fallen into a wild card spot and will likely have to play Seattle in round one. The Thunderbirds won last night over Spokane last night and now lead the U.S. Division by 6 points with three games left. Everett is in second and could play Portland or Spokane in the first round. The Tri-City Americans are holding on to playoff hopes with two games left, they are two points back of Spokane who currently sit the the last wildcard spot. The drama is incredible.
- Be sure to catch tonight's episode of Pats TV on Access 7. My guests are defenceman James Hilsendager, goaltender Tyler Brown and Head Coach and GM John Paddock.
That's all I have for today, have a great week! Talk to you from the rink tonight.