Thanks to their captain, the Regina Pats are heading to the Mastercard Memorial Cup semi-final.
Sam Steel tied a tournament record by having five assists while Nick Henry had the hat-trick as the Pats eliminated the Swift Current Broncos with a 6-5 win.
Steel’s effort certainly caught the attention of head coach and general manager John Paddock.
“I’m not sure if it was his best game ever. He had a big series as a 17 year old against Lethbridge, but with the stage he was on, what more could you ask for.” Paddock said. “There are many things that impresses me as a head coach. He does everything he can to prepare to play a game which says a lot to his upbringing, and he’s extremely skilled. I don’t have to worry about him.”
As for Henry, he is playing perhaps his best hockey since joining the Pats at the start of the 2016-17 season.
The Colorado Avalanche draft pick says it was his best game as a Pat. He says playing with Steel is a lot of fun.
“Sam is a real special player.” Henry said. “I’ve played a lot with him and we’ve had some chemistry. Having Cam (Hebig) has been a nice addition so we are having a lot of fun. The time off gave us some more time to work together.
When asked if it was nice to beat the team that knocked them out of the WHL playoffs, Henry just smiled and said “most definitely”.
In the other dressing room, Broncos coach Manny Vivieros praised the Pats, but said it was tough for his squad to fill up the gas tank after a gruelling playoffs that saw them win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
“This was the first game out of the three that we played that showed who we were throughout the season and the playoffs. We never quit and that’s the way we played to get here.” Viveiros said. “We made some mistakes that they capitalized on. The mistakes we made in this tournament were tired mistakes. Our kids had low energy levels and when you get tired, you make mistakes.”
The Pats now move on to play the Hamilton Bulldogs in the semi-final which will go Friday night in an 8 o’clock start. The winner of the game will advance to play Acadie-Bathurst on Sunday at 5 in the championship game.
1st Game Period-1, Regina, Henry 3 (Steel, Mahura), 7:36 (PP). Penalties-Fyten Sc (holding), 1:48; Steel Reg (high sticking), 4:28; Minulin Sc (hooking), 6:46.
2nd Game Period-2, Regina, Hebig 3 (Steel, Mahura), 10:29 (PP). 3, Swift Current, Gawdin 1 (Heponiemi, Minulin), 11:46. 4, Regina, Henry 4 (Steel), 16:09 (SH). 5, Swift Current, Malenstyn 1 (Gawdin, Minulin), 16:32 (PP). 6, Regina, Henry 5 (Steel), 17:35. Penalties-Pouteau Reg (roughing), 5:28; Gawdin Sc (holding opp. stick), 9:53; Leschyshyn Reg (elbowing), 15:38; Hebig Reg (slashing), 19:36.
3rd Game Period-7, Regina, Platt 1 (Bradley, Hebig), 10:43. 8, Swift Current, Heponiemi 1 (Estephan, Khaira), 14:22. 9, Swift Current, Estephan 3 (Heponiemi, Malenstyn), 17:11. 10, Regina, Hajek 1 (Steel, Holmes), 18:23 (PP). 11, Swift Current, Gawdin 2 (Heponiemi, Sissons), 19:10 (PP). Penalties-Anderson Sc (delay of game), 7:49; served by Elder Sc (too many men), 17:48; Mahura Reg (roughing), 19:05.
Shots on Goal-Regina 11-11-6-28. Swift Current 8-14-9-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Regina 3/5; Swift Current 2/5.
Goalies-Regina, Paddock 2-0-0-0 (31 shots-26 saves). Swift Current, Skinner 0-2-1-0 (28 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Quincy Evans (7), Jonathan Alarie (8).
Linesmen-Chad Huseby (59), Nick Bilko (66).