Lethbridge Hurricanes (33-18-5-5) at Regina Pats (18-40-1-2)
Saturday, March 2 – Brandt Centre 2:30 p.m. CT
Channels: Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW, WHL Live
For the final time this season, the Regina Pats and Lethbridge Hurricanes will meet, doing so on the stage of Sportsnet’s Saturday Showcase.
Entering the final month of the 2018-19 Western Hockey League Regular Season, both teams face different situations, but will still provide an intense matchup.
The Hurricanes roll into Regina still looking to secure a spot in the 2019 #WHLPlayoffs. A 6-3-1-0 stretch in their last 10 games have the Hurricanes fixated in second place in the tight Central Division. Like the other top four teams in their division though, they know nothing is guaranteed in the final few weeks of the regular season.
Eleven points separate the division-leading Edmonton Oil Kings and wild card Red Deer Rebels with the Hurricanes, Calgary Hitmen, and Medicine Hat Tigers all situated in between those two marks. After concluding their road trip with a Friday date in Moose Jaw, Saturday’s tilt in Regina, and a date at home against Brandon, the Hurricanes will close out their schedule with four-straight games against their own division.
Lethbridge is in their current position thanks to the likes of Jake Elmer and rookie goaltender Carl Tetachuk. Though you won’t find Elmer among the top three scorers on the Hurricanes, there’s no denying he had the most impressive month with 23 points (14G-9A), including a 10-game goal-scoring streak. Elmer is now one of four 30-goal scorers on the Hurricanes this season.
Also aiding the Hurricanes is Tetachuk, the WHL Rookie of the Month for February. Tetachuk posted a 7-3-1-1 record in February with a 2.83 goals-against-average, .910 save percentage, and one shutout. The hometown product has carried the crease admirably for Lethbridge this season and despite all the usual talent on the Hurricanes, he could end up being a X-factor for the team over what they hope is a long run in the 2019 #WHLPlayoffs.
On the Pats side, they’re looking to finish the regular season strong with an impressive 5-5-0-0 record in their past 10 games. That included a 2-1 shootout win on February 5 in Lethbridge, giving Regina a chance to salvage a split in the season series this weekend.
While that isn’t enough to get them into the 2019 #WHLPlayoffs, it is enough to provide more hope in the locker room and to their fans that their post-Memorial Cup rebuild won’t take as long as many think it might.
As a 19-year-old, Austin Pratt has taken another step forward with Regina this season, leading the team with nine points (4G-5A) in the month of February. Ty Kolle led the team with five goals during February. The offence continues to run through the pair of forwards, but there are other bright spots on the team.
In net, both Max Paddock and Dean McNabb have provided stable goaltending for their team, stealing or keeping them in the conversation of most games. As a young team, they’re learning what it takes to win close games as well, posting a 13-9-1-2 record in one-goal games this season, tied for sixth in the league for most wins via that route.
The stat isn’t a promise of good times on the horizon. The reasoning behind that is that some playoff-bound teams are obviously winning by more than just a single goal, but it’s still a step in the right direction for a team looking to build.
Overcoming the Prince George Cougars for 19th place in the overall standings is also a strong possibility for the Pats. It serves as an attainable goal that could provide a great challenge for the team in their final seven games.
Also worth watching for in Saturday’s game is the return of Jake Leschyshyn (Vegas Golden Knights) and Nick Henry (Colorado Avalanche) to the Queen City. The pair were on the losing end of the Hurricanes’ lone game in Regina up until tomorrow, an 8-4 decision in late September. Two pair were traded from the Pats to the Hurricanes in November 2018, providing plenty of fond memories about their time with the Pats.
With all this considered, Saturday’s game will bring an enticing matchup with two teams worth keeping an eye on down the stretch. Tune into Sportsnet tomorrow afternoon for CHL on Sportsnet action from the Saskatchewan’s capital!
Lethbridge Hurricanes (entering play Friday)
Record: 33-18-5-5 – Second in Central Division
Head coach: Brent Kisio
Leading scorers: RW Nick Henry (24-59—83), C Dylan Cozens (30-45—75), C Jordy Bellerive (28-45—73);
Leading goaltender: Carl Tetachuk (31 GP, 18-9-1-1, 3.10 GAA, .902 SV%, 1 SO)
Power play: 4th – 24.3%
Penalty kill: 17th – 76.2%
Regina Pats (entering play Friday)
Record: 18-40-1-2 – Fifth in East Division
Head coach: Dave Struch
Leading scorers: RW Austin Pratt (23-25—48), C Ty Kolle (13-11—24), LW Riley Krane (12-12—24);
Leading goaltender: Max Paddock (43 GP, 11-25-1-1, 3.57 GAA, .893 SV%, 2 SO)
Power play: 17th – 18.0%
Penalty kill: T-18th – 75.3%
Injuries/unavailable: F Sebastien Streu (upper body, one week), D Kyle Walker (lower body, day-to-day)
Sept. 28 – Lethbridge 8 at Regina 4
Oct. 10 – Regina 2 at Lethbridge 4
Feb. 5 – Regina 2 at Lethbridge 1 (SO)
March 2 – Lethbridge at Regina*
* Indicates WHL on Sportsnet broadcast