The Regina Pats’ first home preseason game came against a team who many think will be a WHL title contender. The Saskatoon Blades showed why with an 8-3 win over the Pats.
Both teams played a mix of veterans and young players. Regina carried the bulk of the play in the first period. Newly-signed Sloan Stanick scored early with a nice move around Blades netminder Nolan Maier.
“It was really exciting,” Stanick said of the goal. “Pratt made a really nice pass to me in the front, and I was lucky enough to put it in the back of the net”
Saskatoon responded with a goal late in the period to send it to the intermission tied at one.
The Blades came out in the second period and scored six straight goals — two against 2109 draftee Matthew Kieper and four against Matthew Pesenti who came into the game near the midpoint of the second period. The Blades took advantage of some of the younger Pats players.
Head coach Dave Struch alluded to that postgame. “Our young guys were definitely exposed, and the message to them after the game was ‘take this as a learning experience and see where we need to get to.’
Struch was happy with the first period. “We had some good chances, got lots of shots on net. They had their number one guy in between the pipes, so when you have opportunities like that and the goalie is making big saves and you continue to push, it’s a good sign for us.”
The Pats were able to score a couple late in the second. The Blades scored the only goal in a relatively quiet third period.
Struch has been impressed with Matthew Kieper, not only tonight but at camp as well. “The kid’s really dialed in. He’s so prepared.
“He was real good for us tonight.”
Regina returns to the ice Saturday evening against the Swift Current Broncos to close out the weekend preseason tournament.