Regina Pats savour dramatic win amidst trying season

Regina Pats savour dramatic win amidst trying season
WHL Roundup: Henrys second goal the difference as Pats edge Blades 6-5
Dawson Davidson didn’t know it at the time, but his move to the Saskatoon Blades has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

When Davidson was traded by the Regina Pats midway through last season, the veteran defenceman was understandably disappointed that he wouldn’t get a chance to be part of the 2018 Memorial Cup in Regina.

“It was really tough (at the start),” said the 20-year-old Moosomin product. “I had a lot of really good friends in Regina. The city is unbelievable. The fan base is unbelievable. It’s a first-class organization. I have nothing but good things to say about the Regina Pats and their hockey ops.

WHL Roundup: Nick Henry scores twice as Blades beat Pats

“At the same time, for me individually, it wasn’t the worst thing. They were just so deep. They had guys like Josh Mahura and Cale Fleury on the back end who were offensive guys and were maybe a little bit ahead of me. To come to Saskatoon and get a little more opportunity, I think it’s helping me out this year.”

Davidson is ranked second on the team this season with 22 points (four of them goals) in 19 games. That ties him for first among all WHL defencemen in scoring.

“I’m having some individual success this year,” he said after notching two assists Saturday in a 6-5 loss to the Pats. “I’ve been on a little dry spell lately. It kind of ended tonight. It’s nice to contribute offensively. That’s what I am. I’m an offensive defenceman. I think I can still do a little bit better job picking my spots and being a little bit more responsible in my own end, but I’m going to keep working hard and continue to get better.”

Davidson was part of a blockbuster deal last season that saw the Pats acquire one of the WHL’s elite defencemen, Libor Hajek. Saskatoon received Davidson, prospect Tristen Robins — who scored a goal on Saturday — and a first-round pick in the 2019 bantam draft.

Davidson was originally acquired by Regina from the Kamloops Blazers during the 2016-17 season. He was a member of the Pats when they reached the WHL final in 2017 and again last season when they were preparing to serve as the host team in the 2018 Memorial Cup.

Regina is now in the early stages of a major rebuild while the Blades finally appear to be emerging as a relevant playoff contender. They’ve missed the post-season in all five years since hosting the 2013 Memorial Cup.

“I’m having a great time in Saskatoon,” said Davidson, who set career highs last season with 10 goals and 43 points in 69 games with the Blades and Pats. “Being on a team that’s more of a contender in my 20-year-old year — not saying Regina can’t do good things but they’re a little younger than us — I think is something that’s big for me.”

It’s also good for the Blades, who can draw upon Davidson’s experience as they try to reach the next level.

“I had some really good mentors when I was younger. I’m trying to do that for the young guys,” he added. “Saskatoon hasn’t been a winning organization for the last five or six years. Lots of guys on the team haven’t really experienced winning. I’ve been fortunate enough to play on a couple of really good Regina Pat teams. I’m trying to take that culture and implement it here.

REGINA — Nick Henry’s second goal of the night turned into the winner as the Regina Pats beat the Saskatoon Blades 6-5 on Saturday in Western Hockey League action.

Henry broke a 5-5 tie at 15:48 of the third period while tacking on an assist for a three-point outing.

Jake Leschyshyn also had two goals and an assist for the Pats (5-12-0) while Duncan Pierce and Austin Pratt rounded out the offence.

Max Gerlach had a pair of goals while Tristen Robins, Seth Bafaro and Chase Wouters also scored for the Blades (10-7-2). Kirby Dach chipped in with three assists.

Max Paddock allowed five goals on 26 shots in two period of work for Regina before giving way to Dean McNabb, who stopped all six shots he faced in relief to get the win.

Meanwhile, Saskatoon starter Nolan Maier gave up three goals on eight shots in 20:31 of ice time. Dorrin Luding took over the rest of the way and turned away 14-of-17 shots to get pegged with the loss.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Shane Farkas turned away 34 shots as the Winterhawks hung on to beat Victoria.

Cross Hanas and Joachim Blichfeld scored six minutes apart in the second to give Portland (9-6-1) a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes.

Dino Kambeitz got one back for the Royals (9-5-0) in the third. Griffen Outhouse made 36 saves in a losing cause.

SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. — Andrew Fyten scored 41 seconds into overtime and Isaac Poulter made 42 saves as the Broncos halted Edmonton’s win streak at five games.

Max Patterson, Ethan Regnier and Alec Zawatsky also scored for Swift Current (3-14-1), which has won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Jalen Luypen, Brett Kemp and Matthew Robertson scored for the Oil Kings (10-7-2), with Trey Fix-Wolansky picking up an assist on all three. Dylan Myskiw made 16 saves in defeat.

CALGARY — Ethan Anders stopped all 34 shots his way as Red Deer blanked the Hitmen for its third win in a row.

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Keenan Taphorn struck twice and Brodan Salmon made 17 saves as the Warriors toppled Kootenay.

Yegor Buyalski, Tristin Langan and Dalton Hamaliuk also found the back of the net for Moose Jaw (7-5-3).

Jaeger White kept the Ice (6-9-3) from being blanked. Duncan McGovern turned aside 38 shots in defeat.

Dylan Ferguson made 31 saves to give the Blazers (6-7-2) a chance. Zane Franklin supplied the lone goal.

KELOWNA, B.C. — Kyle Topping scored the winner late in the third while on the power play as the Blazers downed Brandon.

Nolan Foote struck twice and Erik Gardiner had the other for Kelowna (7-10-0), which got 21 saves from Roman Basran to win its third game in a row.

Luka Burzan had a pair of goals and Braden Schneider added a single for the Wheat Kings (8-4-5). Jiri Patera made 25 saves in defeat. Centre Connor Gutenberg was given a major and game misconduct at 15:57 of the third that led to Topping’s winner.

Liam Hughes turned aside 25-of-27 shots for the Thunderbirds (7-6-2), who are on a three-game slide.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Connor Dewar, Jackson Berezowski and Sean Richards scored in a three-minute span as Everett cruised to a win over the Chiefs.

Dawson Butt, Martin Fasko-Rudas and Gianni Fairbrother also scored while Dustin Wolf made 23 saves for the Silvertips (11-6-0).

Spokane (8-5-3) got its goals from Cordel Larson and Carter Chorney. Bailey Brkin took the loss after allowing three goals on seven shots. Dawson Weatherill played the final 43:59 and stopped 13 of 16 shots.