The Regina Pats made it seven straight wins and 40 wins on the season Friday night in a dramatic 3-2 overtime win over the Swift Current Broncos.
Nick Henry’s 14th of the year at the 2:59 mark not only gave the Pats the win, but they also secured third place and a first-round playoff date with the Broncos that will start next Friday in Swift Current.
— x – Regina Pats (@WHLPats) March 17, 2018
Sam Steel and Jared Legien had the other Regina markers while Max Paddock stopped 31 saves for the Pats who improve their record to 40-25-5-1.
The two teams will meet in Swift Current Saturday to end the regular season before getting it going for real next week in Game 1 of what should be a hotly-contested series.
Before the game, the Pats handed out their year-end awards:
Player of the Year – Sam Steel
For a second consecutive year, forward Sam Steel was named the Regina Pats Player of the Year. The Anaheim Ducks prospect enters the final weekend of the regular season with 32 goals and 80 points in 53 games. The 19-year-old is the reigning WHL Player of the year and won gold with Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships. Steel leads the Pats with a 1.55 points per game average and since returning from the World Juniors has 47 points in 26 games. Steel sits alone in 10th on the Pats all-time scoring list with 337 points.
2016-17 Award Winner: Sam Steel
Charles Johnston Memorial Top Defenceman – Josh Mahura
Josh Mahura enters Friday night fifth among all WHL defenceman with 68 points in 59 games and his 22 goals are third best. The 19-year-old has already set career highs in goals and assists, well surpassing his 17 goals and 53 points from the 2016-17 season. The signed Anaheim Ducks prospect has put up 130 points in 185 career WHL games and is a career plus-44.
2016-17 Award Winner: Connor Hobbs & Sergey Zborovskiy
Rick Rypien Memorial Award (Unsung Hero) – Brady Pouteau
19-year-old defenceman Brady Pouteau was given the Rick Rypien Memorial Award as the Pats Unsung Hero for 2017-18. Despite playing in Regina for just half a season, the product of Oak Bluff, Manitoba has been a strong leader on and off the ice and brought an incredibly consistent game every night. In 26 games this year, Pouteau has one assist, 14 penalty minutes and holds an even plus/minus rating.
2016-17 Award Winner: Dawson Leedahl
Nick Papas Rookie of the Year – Max Paddock
Goaltender Max Paddock has solidified the Pats goaltending position in the second half of the 2017-18 season. The 17-year-old has a 12-2-1-1 record in 16 games since December 28 with a 2.46 goals against average and a .914 save percentage in that stretch. The product of Brandon, Manitoba currently holds the third best goals against average in the WHL at 2.94 as well as the 11th best save percentage at .902. His overall record sits as 18-7-1-1. 2016-17 Award Winner: Nick Henry
Hub Bishop Most Sportsmanlike – Sam Steel
Forward Sam Steel has just 18 penalty minutes in 53 games in the 2017-18 season. The Sherwood Park, Alberta native has never taken more than one minor in a game and has not seen the penalty box in 43 of 52 games played this year.
2016-17 Award Winner: Chase Harrison
Mike Kartusch Community Service Award – Matt Bradley
Matt Bradley’s enthusiasm and willingness to participate in community events, combined with his play on the ice, quickly made the Pats first year forward a fan favourite. Donating his own money to cancer research for every point he put up in the Month of October, working with kids at schools, as well as supporting the Canadian Mental Health Association, Bradley has been a credit to the Pats and the community this year. Bradley made over 20 community appearances this season.
2016-17 Award Winner: Tyler Brown
Bill Hicke Most Popular Player – Sam Steel
Just take a look at the lineups for autographs during postgame skates to see the evidence of Sam Steel’s popularity with fans. The Pats captain and second leading scorer ran away with the fan voting for this award. Steel returned the fans’ adulation with highlight reel play after highlight reel play.
2016-17 Award Winner: Adam Brooks
Scholastic Player of the Year – Max Paddock
As a young player in the league, school is as much a part of life as hockey. Striking the balance between book work and life at the rink isn’t an easy one. In his rookie season, Max Paddock put together a strong campaign on the ice with 18 wins in goal. While doing that he continued his bilingual education, taking French immersion at LeBoldus High School.
2016-17 Award Winner: Jake Leschyshyn
Three Star Award – Sam Steel
Pats Captain Sam Steel was named a star in 16 games this season including an impressive six first-star performances. Steel is four ‘star points’ clear of Matt Bradley who captured the second most points with 30. Josh Mahura rounds out the top three with 20 ‘star points’ on the season.
2016-17 Award Winner: Sam Steel
Pats play-by-play man Phil Andrews was also surprised as he was recognized on the ice before the awards ceremony started for recently doing his 500th WHL game.