Monday, February 19, 2024

Howe, Huet lead Pats in 6-0 win over Hitmen

In what many called a must-win game for the Regina Pats, they came out in full force in a 6-0 shutout win over the visiting Calgary Hitmen in a Family Day matinee. 4,416 spectators watched as Tanner Howe led the charge with a four-point outing and Ewan Huet stood tall in goal stopping all 38 shots he faced as he collected his first career WHL shutout. The Pats finished the season series with a perfect 4-0 record against the Central Division opponent. Regina now finds themselves just five points back of the 8th and final playoff spot. Unfortunately, the two teams they are chasing each have a pair of games at hand. Wins are important and the Pats are starting to run out of points they can get.

Ewan Huet was a brick wall for the Pats on Monday - Keith Hershmiller Photography

The Pats got the ball rolling at about the six-minute mark of the first period. Howe leveled a Hitmen defender before getting the puck back and sending a nice saucer pass to the front of the net where Zach Moore chipped it home to give the Pats a 1-0 lead. The hometown Pats lead 1-0 on the scoreboard and 12-9 on the shot clock.

As the second period got started, the Pats took over on the scoreboard as Logan Peskett and Tye Spencer scored within 88 seconds of each other giving the Pats a 3-0 lead before the second was four minutes old. Howe notched his 25th of the season when he crashed into the Calgary net to extend the Pats' lead to 4-0, eight minutes into the period. Spencer added his second of the period when he converted a nice pass from Howe giving the Pats a five-goal lead just after the halfway mark of the second period. Jaxsin Vaughan rounded out the scoring for the Pats when a centering pass deflected twice and eventually off Vaughan to give the Pats a 6-0 heading into the second intermission. Despite scoring five times in the period, the Pats were outshot 12-9.

No one found the back of the net in the third period, thanks to some sharp netminding by Huet as he stopped all 17 shots he faced as the Hitmen outshot the Pats 17-7 in the third and 38-28 overall.

Goalie Battle

“He was a big difference maker,” Pats head coach Brad Herauf said of Huet’s performance. “He kept momentum on our side even when they had a little momentum push. [He] made a real big save at the start of the second period there, [it] could have been a 1-1 hockey game. He made a few other big saves for us in the second period there that really kept momentum until we kind of came alive there again.”

Huet stopped everything he faced as he picked up his first career shutout making 38 stops. Alex Garrett made the start for the Hitmen and stopped 14 of 19 shots before being pulled at the 33:01 mark (it appeared to be injury-related as he did not return to the bench). Ethan Buenaventura stopped 8/9 in 26:59 of relief.

“Obviously," Huet on playing multiple games in a row. "I'm excited we're playing great hockey and it's a lot of fun playing right now, and you see the two last games were a little tough but it was great bouncing back tonight. You know, it just gets me excited for the U.S. road trip.”

Special Teams

The Pats went 1-for-3 on the powerplay while they went a perfect three-for-three while killing penalties.

Whitehead keeps on streaking

Braxton Whitehead picked up a pair of assists and has extended his point streak to six games where he has nine points (1G-8A).

Season-high for Howe

Tanner Howe had four points to lead the way - Keith Hersmiller Photography

The Pats captain notched his first four-point game of the season with a goal and three assists. His physical play and leadership on the ice was key for the Pats today. His 69 points on the season guarantee him at least a point-per-game pace for the third straight season.

The Kid hits 20

Spencer scored twice, giving him 20 goals in 55 games on the season. Before this season, Spencer had 20 goals in 113 WHL games. The 19-year-old has 12 points (5G-7A) in his last eight games.

Sam stays sharp

Sam Oremba picked up an assist, and like Spencer has 12 points (6G-6A) in his eight contests.

CV returns

"It took me a while to just fully embrace it," C. Vaughan on his injury. "When I wasn't playing I was itching to come back for too long, it felt too long."

After missing 31 games due to injury, Pats defender Corbin Vaughan made his return to the Pats line-up. The 17-year-old defender had a great scrap on his first shift and a couple of big hits.

"I thought that's probably the best way to get me back engaged," Vaughan said fo his first-period scrap. "It's something I like to do and it got the boys going, too."

Injury concerns

When one returns, another one exits. Not long after Moore scored the opening goal, he left the game with an upper-body injury.

Up Next

The Pats begin a stretch of seven straight road games and head south of the border to begin the trip. The Queen City Kids begin their six-game, nine-day U.S. swing on Friday, February 23 when they face off with the Spokane Chiefs at 9:05 p.m. (Saskatchewan time).