View Full Version : Pats earn respect from Desjardins

10-12-2005, 02:11 AM
Pats earn respect from Desjardins

Greg Harder
The Leader-Post

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Medicine Hat Tigers head coach Willie Desjardins spoke softly but his words echoed with stunning clarity.

"They're going to be a contender this year," he said of the Regina Pats, who beat Medicine Hat 4-1 on Monday afternoon, handing the Tigers their first regulation loss of the WHL season.

"You have to respect a team when they just come out and beat you. They beat us. That's the bottom line."

Desjardins' thoughtful critique resonated inside the Brandt Centre, where a sparse gathering of 3,519 watched the home team skate to its most meaningful victory of the young season.

It had been nearly two years since Regina last got the better of the Tigers, a free-wheeling club which is widely regarded as one of the most entertaining in the league.

Regina would love to emulate the Tigers' up-tempo style -- as well as their success.

"That's nice of them to say," added Desjardins. "But they're a good organization and Curtis Hunt is a great coach. I'll learn way more from Curtis Hunt than he'll ever learn from me.

"They're a good, honest team. Every time you play them, you know they'll play hard."

Hunt will gladly accept the compliment, especially when it's coming from the head coach of the 2004 WHL champions. Such kudos been few and far between for the Pats, who are looking to break a trend of three straight losing seasons.

"For us to skate with them and then take that game over like we did is such a positive for our group," said Hunt, whose team sits alone atop the East Division with a 5-3-0 record. "That's a good hockey team we just beat. We have to use that and not just walk away (without) knowing why. That's what makes the good teams great, when you understand why you had success and you're able to duplicate that."

Czech sensation Petr Kalus opened the scoring 1:28 into the second period when he forced a turnover just inside Medicine Hat's blueline and went in alone, scoring his latest in a series of highlight-reel goals.

After being burned by Kalus, Tigers defenceman David Schlemko redeemed himself on a subsequent power play when his shot found eyes on the way past goaltender David Reekie, who was screened on the play.

Garrett Festerling restored Regina's lead while shorthanded, burying a great cross-ice feed from Denis Tolpeko. Matt Robinson made it 3-1 when he wired a shot under the crossbar behind Matt Keetley with 1.3 seconds left in the second period.

Justin Bernhardt rounded out the scoring with the only goal of the third, clinching Regina's second straight victory.

"This was a big one," offered Pats centre Kyle Ross, whose team also beat the host Saskatoon Blades 6-2 on Saturday night.

"We had a bad start to that Kelowna game (a 6-4 loss on Friday) but pretty much from then on we had a strong weekend. It was good to get that first road win out of the way and I think we're starting to roll."

Tolpeko had two helpers on Monday to follow up a two-goal, one-assist effort in Saskatoon. Ross and Festerling each added one goal and one assist against the Blades while Robinson and Craig Schira also scored one apiece. Schira and Kyle Deck also had a pair of assists.

Devin Setoguchi scored twice for the Blades, who were outshot 40-39. Reekie got the win for Regina, thanks in large part to stopping all 17 of the shots he faced in the first period.

"I'm definitely in a comfort zone but the defence is keeping the shots wide," noted Reekie, who also blanked the Tigers on 14 first-period shots en route to a 36-save effort. "I'm seeing 30 shots a game but they're all from outside and I'm liking it. It's a lot different than last year."

Regina begins a stretch of three games in three nights on Friday in Brandon against the Wheat Kings. The Pats return to home ice for games on Saturday against the Prince Albert Raiders and Sunday versus the Calgary Hitmen.

EXTRAS: Medicine Hat (3-1-0-3) has lost three times via shootout this season . . . The Pats were outshot on home ice for the first time this season (37-32) . . . A spate of injuries on the blueline forced Deck, Schira, Logan Pyett and rookie Nick Ross to log most of the icetime on Monday . . . D Matt Delahey, 16, was called up from the Moose Jaw midget AAA Warriors in the absence of Curtis Patterson (knee), Spencer Fraipont (back) and Andy Schenn (broken finger) . . . Tigers LW Darren Helm saw his six-game points streak come to an end. He's tied with Kalus for second in the WHL with eight goals . . . Regina's last win over Medicine Hat came Dec. 6, 2003. Josh Harding got the shutout in a 1-0 decision . . . Pats LW Jordan McGillivray returned to the lineup Monday after being a healthy scratch against Saskatoon.

10-12-2005, 04:38 AM
I didn't see the game or listen to it but yup, much props to the Pats. Good to see them starting to turn the corner.

Fight Guy
10-12-2005, 03:57 PM
You heard it from him first...

"They're going to be a contender this year,"

10-12-2005, 05:48 PM
You heard it from him first...

"They're going to be a contender this year,"

Man, that must be hard for Moose Jaw fans to swallow. :)

10-12-2005, 11:01 PM
It might be hard for Moose Jaw fans to swallow, but dont forget us Pats fans. Due to the events of the last few seasons, we get excited when the Pats are over .500. A contender... well that might take a bit more getting used to. :groovy: :laugh: