Pats forward Nick Henry played hero in WHL action, scoring the game winner with just over four minutes left in the third period — his second of the game and eighth of the season.
Captain Jake Leschyshyn also had a big night with the Pats, scoring twice and adding an assist for his second three-point game of the year.
Pats goalie Max Paddock stopped 21 of 26 shots and was replaced by Dean McNabb in the third. McNabb stopped all six of the shots he faced.
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.
Max Gerlach scored his 11th and 12th goals for the Blades. Forwards Tristen Robins and Chase Wouters, along with defenceman Seth Bafaro, also scored for Saskatoon.
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.
Saskatoon starter Nolan Maier stopped just five of eight shots in 20:31 of ice time before Dorrin Luding took over and finished the game. He turned away 14 of 17 shots.
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.
The Saskatoon Blades and Regina Pats renew acquaintances for the first time in the 2018-19 Western Hockey League Regular Season on Access TV tonight!
Separated by roughly 250 kilometres, the teams from Saskatchewan’s two largest cities always provide for an entertaining matchup when they meet.
Despite the Blades missing the playoffs and the Pats finishing as one of the top teams in the division last season, the tide was already turning to favour the Blades last year. In the eight-game season series between the two clubs, the Blades won five of the matchups, though the Pats won two of the final three meetings to salavage some late-season points against their rivals to the north.
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.
While the division has been dominated by the Prince Albert Raiders, the Blades have been close behind them as well, holding down second place for the majority of the season and recently regaining that spot after a brief time in third. Still, there’s no question the Blades are a team on a mission this season and are poised to make their return to the WHL Playoffs.
2019 NHL Draft prospect Kirby Dach has been better than what most might have expected him to be this season, leading his team in scoring and placing third in the league with 29 points (11G-18A) through his team’s first 18 games. The ‘A’ rated prospect by NHL Central Scouting in their ‘Players to Watch’ List will represent Team WHL at the 2018 CIBC Canada Russia Series following Saturday’s performance where he’s hoping to make a strong offensive impact as well.
Posting a strong start as well has been defenceman Dawson Davidson, who will make his second trip back to the Brandt Centre after being traded from the Pats to the Blades at the WHL Trade Deadline last year. Davidson presently sits third in WHL defensive scoring this season, behind only first round NHL Draft selections Ty Smith (New Jersey Devils) and Alexander Alexeyev (Washington Capitals). After Davidson however, it appears to be slim picking on offensive contributions after Davidson, though Brandon Schuldhaus has impressed with with seven points (2G-5A) in 13 games since being acquired from the Warriors.
The drop-off in offence is a similar conundrum for the Pats. The top talent of Nick Henry (Colorado Avalanche), Jake Leschyshyn (Vegas Golden Knights), and Aaron Hyman have kept the Pats going steady. While the Blades are resting comfortably as the third place team in the Eastern Conference, the Pats have some early-season ground to make up already.
The road back to the WHL playoffs isn’t yet insurmountable though. Of the four teams between them and a wild card spot, the Calgary Hitmen, Kootenay ICE, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Moose Jaw Warriors have all gone through their own fair share of early-season defeats. Add in the competitive season series between the Pats and Warriors and things could get might brighter in the short term in the Queen City.
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.
One are the Blades will be looking to expose the Pats on is the penalty kill. With the 20th-ranked power play this season, the Blades have the second-worst man advantage of any team current in the playoff spot. Against the 22nd-ranked penalty kill in the league, the Blades will have an opportunity to succeed and find their rhythm.
What this season series will ultimately boil down to is a look at drafted NHL talent against those soon to be there. How will Dach separate himself from the likes of Leschyshyn and Henry. Can Maier, ranked by NHL Central Scouting this season, win the duel against Max Paddock, who was himself ranked last season and earned some NHL interest at the San Jose Sharks camp in the off-season.
Be sure to catch the two talent-loaded teams as WHL on Access action comes at your Saturday night from the Brandt Centre!
Record: 10-6-2-0, 22 points – Second in Central Division Head Coach: Mitch Love Leading scorers: C Kirby Dach (11-18-29), D Dawson Davidson (4-16-20), RW Max Gerlach (10-9-19) Leading Goaltender: Nolan Maier (14 GP , 8-5-1-0, 2.96 GAA, 0.905 SV%, 1 SO) Power play: 20th – 19.5% Penalty kill: 5th – 81.7% Injuries/Unavailable: D Seth Bafaro (upper body, day-to-day), D Jake Kustra (lower body, 5-to-7 weeks)
Record: 4-12-0-0, 8 points – Fifth in East Division Head Coach: Dave Strutch Leading scorers: RW Nick Henry (6-15-21), C Jake Leschyshyn (7-10-17) and D Aaron Hyman (4-10-14) Leading Goaltender: Max Paddock (13 GP, 3-10-0-0, 4.17 GAA, 0.873 SV%) Power play: 19th – 19.7% Penalty kill: 22nd – 67.4% Injuries/Unavailable: F Robbie Holmes (lower body, indefinite), F Koby Morriseau (upper body, indefinite), F Logan Nijhoff (upper body, indefinite)
Season Series Nov. 3 – Saskatoon at Regina* Jan. 4 – Regina at Saskatoon Jan. 18 – Regina at Saskatoon* Jan. 19 – Saskatoon at Regina Feb. 1 – Saskatoon at Regina* March 1 – Regina at Saskatoon*