Regina Pats (9-23-0-1) at Moose Jaw Warriors (16-8-4-1)
Saturday, December 15 – Mosaic Place 7:00 p.m. (Central)
Channels: Access7 SD, Access 70 HD, WHL Live
Saturday night hockey is once again here! The Regina Pats and Moose Jaw Warriors will head into the holiday break looking for two important points in WHL on Access action live from Mosaic Place.
Last year, high-scoring matchups dominated the landscape of the season series with an average of 6.75 goals scored per game by the two teams. The shift in each team’s roster this year has resulted in just 11 goals scored between the two teams through their first three games against each other. Of the three guaranteed things in life, close games between the Trans-Canada rivals are always worth taking note of.
Having played in four-straight one-goal games, including Friday’s 2-1 win for the Pats at the Brandt Centre, the two teams will no doubt be at their best when they take each other on Saturday night in Moose Jaw.
Still the Warriors have emerged as the victor in three of those games before Friday’s narrow loss. True to how they’ve succeeded this season, the Warriors’ next-man-up mentality will be crucial over the next few weeks. With head coach Tim Hunter fulfilling his obligations as head coach of Canada’s National Junior Team for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, and captain Josh Brook (Montreal Canadiens) battling to earn a spot on the team, the WHL club will have to persevere without two of their top leaders.
However, a wealth of talent will no doubt continue what the Warriors have done early on. The defending Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy winners as champions of the 2017-18 WHL Regular Season have managed to put themselves into a playoff spot by the unofficial halfway mark of the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season. They’re only eight points behind the Saskatoon Blades for second in the division, while holding five games in hand on their other rival to the north. They also hold a three-point lead and one game in hand on the Brandon Wheat Kings for that third spot in the East Division. So as strong as the Warriors have performed, the battle for positioning is far from over in either direction.
Friday’s win was a critical juncture for the Pats as it snapped a nine-game losing streak, with just one point in that stretch. While Saturday’s road contest will send them into the holiday break, it marks the third of nine-straight games against the East Division. That’s not surprising given how divisional play factors into a team’s schedule, but still an important stretch nonetheless.
The win against the Warriors was the Pats first since a 4-2 result February 18 in Regina, with their last win in Moose coming two days before that. In Friday’s game, Dean McNabb’s introduction to the rivalry resulted in a 26-save performance and the win. As they’ve done at times this season, the Pats could split their goaltenders, playing Max Paddock in net. While Paddock is 0-2 against the Warriors this season, he’s posted relatively strong numbers with a 2.53 GAA and 0.914 SV%.
Countering them will be the likes of overage forward Tristin Langan and WHL Rookie of the Month for November, Brayden Tracey.
Since the start of November, Langan has been held pointless in just two of his team’s 16 games, including an 11-game point streak. He’s already set career-high totals for goals, assists, and points. Tracey meanwhile is playing near a point-per-game pace as a rookie and is the lone rookie to reach double digit goals and assists this season heading into Saturday’s action.
Be sure to check out the thrill of the Trans-Canada rivalry Saturday night in WHL on Access action!
Record: 9-23-0-1 – Fifth in East Division
Head coach: Dave Struch
Leading scorers: RW Austin Pratt (12-15—27), C Jadon Joseph (12-12—24), C Ty Kolle (8-8—16)
Leading goaltender: Max Paddock (26 GP, 6-16-0-1, 3.90 GAA, .882 SV%, 1 SO)
Power play: 19th – 16.2%
Penalty kill: 20th – 71.7%
Injuries/unavailable: F Robbie Holmes (lower body, day-to-day), F Koby Morriseau (upper body, indefinite), D Ryker Evans (lower body, 6-to-8 weeks), D Brady Pouteau (upper body, day-to-day)
Moose Jaw Warriors
Record: 16-8-4-1 – Third in East Division
Head coach: Mark O’Leary
Leading scorers: LW Tristin Langan (21-29-50), C Justin Almeida (6-30-36); D Josh Brook (9-24-33)
Leading goaltender: Brodan Salmond (15 GP, 9-3-2-1, 2.70 GAA, .905 SV%, 1 SO)
Power play: 3rd – 27.7%
Penalty kill: 19th – 73.1%
Injuries/Unavailable: D Josh Brook (Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp) D Dalton Hamaliuk (lower body, day-to-day);
Sept. 30 – Moose Jaw 2 Regina 1
Oct. 20 – Moose Jaw 3 Regina 2
Dec. 14 – Moose Jaw 1 Regina 2
Dec. 15 – Regina at Moose Jaw *
Feb. 16 – Regina at Moose Jaw *
Feb. 23 – Regina at Moose Jaw
March 8 – Moose Jaw at Regina *
March 9 – Regina at Moose Jaw
* Indicates WHL on Access broadcast