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#WHLPlayoffs Roundup: Pats advance with resounding Game 7 victory
Keith Hershmiller

 

Swift Current Broncos (1) at Regina Pats (5)
Pats win series 4-3

The Regina Pats never quit.

Trailing 3-1 in their best-of-seven series with the Swift Current Broncos, the Pats not only erased that deficit, they did so in resounding fashion. In Game 6, the Pats stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to force a Game 7, in which they roared out to a 4-0 lead en route to closing out their East Division rivals with a 5-1 decision Monday night.

The Pats got off to about as good of a start as a coach could ask for in Game 7. Only 2:19 into the festivities, Sam Steel snuck through the slot before shipping a backhand past the outstretched glove of goaltender Jordan Papirny to Regina an early 1-0 lead. Within another 2:28, Filip Ahl slipped through the defense and went in alone on Papirny, deking before sliding a forehand shot between the legs of Papirny to make it 2-0. That prompted a timeout from Broncos head coach Manny Viveiros as he aimed to settle his horses in the early going.

The Broncos did get their opportunities later in the first period. The first came midway through the period as Dawson Davidson lifted a puck over the glass and out of play for a delay of game minor penalty. Swift Current was unable to convert there, but was provided another chance – this one for four minutes – as Dawson Leedahl served a double-minor for high sticking. Once again, the Broncos moved the puck around and generated a few opportunities, but none good enough to be WHL Goaltender of the Week Tyler Brown.

The Pats continued to pour it on in the second period. Midway through the proceedings, Steel secured his second goal of the night and seventh goal of the post-season as he parked atop the blue paint and poked a rebound past Papirny to make it 3-0 in favour of the hosts. Then, with time winding down, Austin Wagner continued his hot play of late, getting a stick on an absolute blast from Connor Hobbs and redirecting it past Papirny to extend the Pats lead to 4-0 after 40 minutes.

With a commanding 4-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Pats seemed all but content to wind the clock down. Eventually, Conner Chaulk found the back of the net on a power play with 5:27 to go in regulation, getting the Broncos on the board and making it a 4-1 game. With another power-play opportunity moments later Viveiros brought Papirny to the bench for an extra attacker once again but this time, Wagner won a foot race for a loose puck and deposited it into the open cage, putting the Pats ahead 5-1 and closing out Game 7.

Brown was strong once again, finishing the night with 23 saves. Papirny was steady in his final WHL appearance, turning aside 38 shots.

Steel (2G), Wagner (2G), Hobbs (3A) and Ahl (1G-1A) paced the Pats in Game 7.

With the victory, the Pats advance to the Eastern Conference Championship series, which is set to being Friday, April 21 at the Brandt Centre in Regina. What remains to be determined is the opponent as the Medicine Hat Tigers and Lethbridge Hurricanes are set to skate a Game 7 of their own – Tuesday (7 p.m. MT) at the Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat.

Eastern Conference Championship series:
Game 1: Friday, April 21 – Brandt Centre, Regina – 7 p.m. MT
Game 2: Saturday, April 22 – Brandt Centre, Regina – 7 p.m. MT
Game 3: TBD
Game 4: TBD
*Game 5: TBD
*Game 6: TBD
*Game 7: TBD
* = if necessary

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