The Regina Pats season came to an end on Monday night with a 4-1 loss in Game 7 of their first-round series with the Saskatoon Blades.
It was a defensive start to the game with no goals through the opening 39 minutes of the game.
Spencer Shugrue opened the scoring with 13 seconds remaining in the second period. He finished off an odd-man rush with Brandon Liskowsky and Egor Sidorov setting Shugrue up.
Jake Chiasson extended the Blades lead to a pair after he capitalized on another odd-man rush for the Blades in the third period.
Stanislav Svozil would put the Pats on the scoreboard with his fourth goal of the series.
Vaughn Watterodt regained the two-goal advantage with just over two minutes remaining.
Trevor Wong added an empty-netter for Saskatoon.
Drew Sim made 36 saves in the loss as the Blades outshot the Pats 40-26. Austin Elliot picked up the win for Saskatoon in his first action after being relieved during Game 2. The former Notre Dame Hound made 25 saves in Game 7.
In what will likely be his last game as a Regina Pat, Connor Bedard had an assist on Svozil’s goal. The 17-year-old ended the first round with 20 points over the seven game series. (10G-10A).
After the game, assistant coach Ken Schneider says the Game 7 loss was a bittersweet pill to swallow. Despite the difficulty of the season coming to an end, he was proud of how the young Pats squad battled until the final buzzer.
He added that the series against the Blades can be a valuable lesson for the team.
“The maturation that comes with those kind of experiences really helps to build your team, it sets a culture, it sets a tone and a foundation that you can work from.”
Monday night’s loss officially marks the end of the Western Hockey League careers for the Pats three 20-year-old players, Luke Bateman, Riley Ginnell and Tanner Brown.
Schneider said the trio provided Regina a veteran presence.
“They really led by example, they gave everything they had, they emptied the tank completely and you know I think our young guys saw that. They’ll pass the baton on to the next group of guys that need to step up and be those leaders.”
Along with the graduating 20-year-olds, the Pats will likely loss a pair of the top-end players this off-season. Svozil will probably end up in the American Hockey League as a 20-year-old next season. Schneider is excited about the defenceman’s future.
“He’s a really gifted player, but he’s got a big heart, he wants to win, he’s super competitive and highly skilled and motivated.”
As the likely number one pick in the upcoming NHL Draft, it’s all but certain that Bedard will not be back with the Pats. Schneider says as talented as Bedard is, he’s going to miss the Pats captain as a human-being.
“His leadership really, really, really came a long ways, and you can tell, even on the bench tonight, you know he was really pushing our guys, trying to help us win. ”
Schneider added that Bedard possesses a never give up attitude.
A memorable season ends in the Queen City for the North Vancover product with a regular season total of 71 goals and 72 assists (143 points).
With the win, the Blades will move on to a second-round matchup with the Red Deer Rebels.
The other matchup in the Eastern Conference will see the Winnipeg ICE take on the Moose Jaw Warriors.