Two goals 44 seconds a part in the first, and then two more 39 seconds a part in the 3rd period proved to be the difference as Regina beat the Broncos 5-2 in the first of six head-to-head contests.
It was a good game, and I thought Linden Rowat was spectacular in the Pats' goal. He made some key saves to stymie an attempted 2nd period rally in which the Broncos threw some quality chances his way and came up empty handed.
The Broncos kept coming in the third despite a deficit which grew from two to four goals in a matter of 39 seconds.
Not like he needed it, but Linden Rowat received some help from his posts as the Broncos rang iron at least four times in the third period. Then Keegan Dansereau was robbed point blank on a cross-ice pass one-timer on a 5-on-3 powerplay.
I thought the game lacked physical play considering the teams were involved in a tough six-game playoff battle just months ago. Expect that side of the game to develop as the season series continues.
Jordan Eberle is the real deal. The Pats 17 year-old had a quiet three points including the empty-netter in the final minute to make it 5-2. He has more to give, and that's a bit scary.
Overall the Pats are a similar team to last year. I like their top four d-men in Tuebert, Pyett, Ross and Valach. Their goaltending is top notch with Rowat. I think they've lost a little depth on offense over last year with the departures of Garrett Festerling, Kyle Ross, and Kaspars Saulities. They will look for some of the 2nd and 3rd year players to fill that void.
16 year-old Broncos rookie Cody Eakin was the best Bronco...again. That's good and bad. It shows the veterans didn't have a large impact in the game but also shows that Eakin will develop into a premier player in the WHL. He did it all last night and was the 2nd star on our broadcast.
The whirlwind tour doesn't slow down. The team leaves this afternoon for Red Deer. They play the Rebels tomorrow night then head North to Edmonton to play the Oil Kings for a third time in three weeks Saturday.
The Broncos are expected to have Levi Nelson back in the line-up this weekend. Just in time as rookie Mike Brown went down with an upper-body injury in last night's contest. The return of Dale Wiese will be questionable as he recovers from a broken thumb. An x-ray today may shed more light on his situation.
Broncos/Rebels tomorrow night... we're on the air at 7pm with the pre-game show, play-by-play at 7:30.