If anyone doubted whether or not the Regina Pats belonged in the Mastercard Memorial Cup, those doubts were erased by the biggest goal in the career of Nick Henry.
The 18-year-old forward batted a rebound past Kaden Fulcher with 32,6 seconds to play in regulation to lift the host team to a 3-2 victory over the Ontario Hockey League champion Hamilton Bulldogs in the first game of the tournament.
WATCH THIS: Henry the hero @Avalanche prospect @nhenry19 scores with 33 seconds left in regulation to break a 2-2 tie and give @WHLPats an opening night win at #MCMemorialCup. pic.twitter.com/g30YVtewwx
— CanadianHockeyLeague (@CHLHockey) May 19, 2018
“Libor (Hajek) took the shot and there was a rebound sitting there.” Henry said. “I just tried to get it at the net and luckily enough it went in.”
While Henry staged the late-game heroics, the story of the game was Regina goaltender Max Paddock. He stopped 31 shots to record the victory. He says despite the stage he was on, he treated this like any other game.
“I just went out there and played my game, stuck to the game plan and did my normal routine as I would for any other game.” Paddock said after the victory. “It’s the Memorial Cup, so I was obviously nervous, but it was just like any other game for me.”
Paddock also gave credit to his teammates for blocking many shots.
“Oh my god, they were amazing,” Paddock said with an ear-to-ear grin. “That’s the most blocked shots I’ve seen all season. It’s great to see them selling out like that and buying into the system.
Hamilton coach John Gruden was also quick to praise the Regina goalie for his effort.
“I thought he played pretty well. He made some big saves, but I don’t think we had a lot of traffic in front of him.” Gruden said.” He was very composed for a 17 year old.”
The tournament will continue Saturday afternoon when the Swift Current Broncos meet the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in a 2 o’clock start. 620 CKRM’s pre-game coverage starts at 1. The Pats will meet Acadie-Bathurst Sunday afternoon at 5.
1st Game Period-1, Hamilton, Thomas 1 (Lemcke, Strome), 7:49. Penalties-Stillman Ham (hooking), 2:51; Studenic Ham (check from behind), 8:58; Henry Reg (hooking), 11:20; Entwistle Ham (hooking), 14:33; Walters Ham (holding), 18:47.
2nd Game Period-2, Regina, Steel 1 (Mahura, Henry), 0:19 (PP). 3, Hamilton, Studenic 1 (Stillman, Moore), 13:14. 4, Regina, Mahura 1 15:30. Penalties-No Penalties
3rd Game Period-5, Regina, Henry 1 (Hajek, Steel), 19:27. Penalties-Hajek Reg (holding), 7:54.
Shots on Goal-Hamilton 9-10-14-33. Regina 8-10-12-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Hamilton 0/2; Regina 1/4.
Goalies-Hamilton, Fulcher 0-1-0-0 (30 shots-27 saves). Regina, Paddock 1-0-0-0 (33 shots-31 saves).
Referees-Jonathan Alarie (8), Steve Papp.
Linesmen-Chad Huseby, Tarrington Wyonzek.