Victoria was undefeated in the shootout this season. So after the Pats had successfully killed a two minute minor penalty that carried over into overtime, the shootout may have been their toughest test. Donovan Buskey stood tall and stopped all three Royals shooters while Cole Dubinsky scored the only Regina goal for the victory.
It was a game of comebacks for Regina. Third star of the game, Brandon Cutler, opened the scoring. He made a nice move past Nikita Sedov and fooled Donovan Buskey. Gary Haden made it 2-0 with a power-play marker. A Pats defender was without his stick and Haden was able to score off a rebound. Late in the first period the Pats responded. Austin Pratt took a feed from Carson Denomie and deked the Royals defender and scored on the back hand past Adam Evanoff.
Despite giving up the first two goals Pats head coach Dave Struch liked how the team responded. Post game he said “When you run up against a real good team like Vic is, and you can weather the storm every once in a while like you’re gonna have to. You do things right, get an opportunity, and I think we took good advantage of it tonight.”
Regina carried that momentum into the second period. Second star of the game Cole Carrier, scored his first career goal from a rebound off a Kyle Walker point shot. That tied up the game early in the period, but there was no more scoring until the third. Early in the period the Pats took their first lead. Austin Pratt returned the favour with a great pass to Carson Denomie for an easy tap in on a two-on-one.
“We weren’t executing or just playing hard in general. First intermission Dave kind of woke us up and told us that if we want to get back in the game we’re going to have to start working. I think we answered the bell well.”
Denomie on the response after the first period.
Victoria would not be held down. Brandon Culter potted his second of the game to tie it back up. Tarun Fizer had a great opportunity in the slot, but his shot was deflected and it landed on Cutler’s stick and he made no mistake from the side of the net. The Royals would take the lead back when Alex Bolshakov grabbed the puck off a Graeme Bryks face off win and ripped a shot top corner for his first career WHL goal.
Once again the Pats responded. On another two-on-one Robbie Holmes set up Logan Nijhoff for a back door tap in to tie the game up. That sent the game to the eventual shootout where the Pats collected their fourth win in the skills competition.
Saturday’s game had a few milestones. Two first career goals and Austin Pratt played in his 300th game. Pratt scored one goal and added one assist, while also engaging Graeme Bryks for a fight to collect the Gordie Howe hat trick, he was named first star of the game.
“It felt really good, (I’m) fortunate to be able to play 300 games in this league and that’s not something everyone gets to do, so it’s an honour.”
Austin Pratt on playing his 300th career WHL game
Marcus Taylor made his WHL debut for Regina on Friday night.
Donovan Buskey stopped 25-of-29 shots in regulation to collect back to back wins for the first time this season.
Adam Evanoff stopped 32-of-36 in the loss.
Victoria was 1-for-4 on the power play, Regina 0-for-3.
Carson Denomie extended his scoring streak to four games. He now has two goals and four assists in the streak.
The Royals collected their first point on their Eastern Division road trip. They had gone pointless in the first four games. The final game is Saturday night in Moose Jaw.
Regina is back in action next week. They visit Saskatoon on Wednesday. Friday they are in Swift Current, Saturday they return the favour with the Broncos in town.