Pats second half struggles continue against Seattle

 

The Regina Pats  four-game homestand did not get off to the start that they would like as they were shutout by the Seattle Thunderbirds 6-0 on Friday night at the Brandt Centre.

In their first five games following the Christmas break, the Pats have lost four of them.

Jordan Gustafson and Lucas Ciona each had a pair of goals in the win for the Thunderbirds. Coster Dunn and Gracyn Sawchyn also scored for Seattle.

The Thunderbirds wasted little time opening up a lead as they skated away with a four goal margin after the opening 18 minutes of the game.

Despite the six goal cushion, Seattle goalie Scott Ratzlaff had to earn his shutout with 28 saves including denying a few Pats odd man opportunities.

Kelton Pyne tried his best to keep the Regina hopes alive as he made 28 saves in the loss. The White City product was making his second start of the season.

Both teams were missing key parts to their lineup thanks to the recent World Juniors in Halifax. The Pats were without their captain Connor Bedard and defenceman Stanislav Svozil. Among those who were out of the Thundersbirds lineup were goalie Thomas Milic, defenceman Kevin Korchinski and forward Reid Schaefer.

After the game, assistant Ken Schneider says the hype surrounding Seattle is real, especially with the size in their lineup.

“They’re big, they’re strong and they’re really hard on the puck. We tried to warn our guys prior to  the game it’s going to be a physical game. ”

“We’re fragile right now, it’s pretty evident, just in the first period when you give up four goals and it just seems when things aren’t going right and you’re that fragile a goal against, I think there’s a lot of people thinking here we go again.”

A small positive for the Pats on Friday night was their ability to win the faceoffs, Schneider pointed out the efforts of 15-year old Cole Temple and his work on the draw.

With less than ten games of WHL experience, Temple says the one lesson that he has discovered about how tough the league is especially after facing elite teams like Seattle and the Winnipeg ICE.

“You have to play physical against teams like that, one thing I have learned since being called up is how much stronger the guys are and bigger than me, in the offseason I’ll have to get stronger.”

With the loss, the Pats record drops down below the .500 mark with a 18-19-1-1 record and now sit only two points ahead of Brandon for seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.

On Sunday Regina will look to get back in the win column when they host the Calgary Hitmen.

Coverage on 620 CKRM begins at 3:35, Dante De Caria will have the play-by-play at 4:00.

 

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