Saturday, February 25, 2012

Moose Jaw Warriors 2 at Regina Pats 8 - February 24, 2012


After a 6-hour drive west along the Trans-Canada Highway, I arrived in Regina to watch the hometown Pats host the Moose Jaw Warriors in WHL action.

Brandt Centre


Located on the western edge of Saskatchewan's capital, the Brandt Centre was opened in 1977 as the Regina Agridome and renamed in 2005 when local agricultural equipment manufacturer Brandt bought the naming rights. It is the main attraction of Evraz Place, a trade show and exhibition space that is used for fairs and rodeos among other events.

There are two main access routes for cars that lead to a large parking lot, which is free and reasonably easy to escape from after the game. There is one main entrance at the east end of the building where the box office is located inside a large lobby. There are two seating levels and tickets are $20 for a seat in either; I found the upper deck to provide somewhat better views. There is one section called the Safeway Funzone which is only $10 with a catch: tickets must be bought at a local Safeway. That's not much use for us roadtrippers.


There is a concourse between the two levels and this can get very crowded during intermissions. Many fans use this concourse as a standing area during the game, but it isn't that useful as you have to stand about a foot back from the top row of seats, so there are areas that are not clearly visible. I also noticed that the number of seats per row is quite long, with some rows containing 24 seats. If you don't like getting up and down all game, avoid the aisle seats here.


There are a number of concession stands but I found the food to be rather expensive for a junior rink, with the chicken strips running $8.50. Poutine was also available at $6.50 but did not look particularly appetizing, so I did not partake. There was one bargain, a 32 oz beer for only $10, that seemed to be the beverage of choice among the men.

The Pats are the oldest junior hockey franchise in the world, having been founded in 1917 and operated continuously since then. They were originally named the Patricias after a granddaughter of Queen Victoria; the name was shorted to Pats in 1923. There are a few pennants here from those days, including one commemorating a 1919 Memorial Cup Finals appearance. That was the year the Stanley Cup wasn't awarded due to an outbreak of influenza. You can also see the 1925 and 1930 championship pennants below.


There are also a few picture banners of old Pats heroes, including Doug Wickenheiser. All of these are located at the back of the rink, surrounding the main scoreboard. Unlike nearly every other arena, there is no scoreboard over center ice here, so if you are sitting in the end zone below, you have to turn around to see replays. There are a few TV monitors but they are too small to be of much use.


Due to the scoreboard and pennants, the upper bowl doesn't go all the way around the rink. If you like to sit up high behind the net, you only have one choice here.


The most surprising feature here is a hot tub that is used as a promotional tool for a local business. Sitting right next to the ice, it was filled with 4 hardy souls in bathing suits, who seemed to spend most of the game there. I can't imagine the condition of their skin after 2 hours in that thing.

Overall, the Brandt Centre is a decent venue for junior hockey with some history and a very good crowd. I like to move around from place to place to take pictures but the place was nearly full and I couldn't find a good seat because they were all taken. It is worth visiting but I'd suggest buying tickets in advance if you are particular about where you sit.

The Game

The Pats were 7th in the East but a fairly solid playoff bet with a 10-point lead on 9th-place Red Deer. The Warriors were 2nd, so there is a chance this would be a playoff preview. For Moose Jaw's sake, I hope it isn't.


After Moose Jaw dominated the first few shifts only to be denied by keeper Matt Hewitt (above), they took their first of many penalties and the Pats converted when Lane Scheidl perfectly deflected a point shot. Despite the early deficit, Moose Jaw continued to dominate and were finally rewarded when Cam Braes scored after the Warriors spent 3 minutes cycling the puck in the Regina zone.

The Pats regained the lead against the run of play when Morgan Klimchuk beat Luke Siemens with a pretty deke on a delayed penalty. The first period ended 2-1 for the home team despite Moose Jaw outplaying the Pats for much of the frame.



In the second, Jordan Weal (above, drafted by L.A. 70th overall in 2010) began to put on a show. First he assisted on a goal by Chandler Stephenson (#22 below) who threw the puck at the net and was fortunate to have Siemens misplay it. Then Weal showed a true goal scorer's touch, finding open space and beating Siemens on the short side. The second stanza ended 4-1, and Siemens was replaced by Spencer Tremblay (below) to start the third.



The goalie change did not work at all though, as Weal assisted on another power play marker that took several minutes to review and then added his second on another fantastic shot. It was his 100th point of the season making him the 4th WHL player to reach that milestone so far.

The rest of the game was pretty much garbage time. Regina added two more with their eighth being yet another goalie error. Below is a shot of Tremblay pulling himself out of the net just hoping that the game would soon be over.


Moose Jaw added a meaningless one when Hewitt misplayed a Kendall McFaull shot with a couple of minutes left, but that's didn't stop him from being awarded the game's 2nd star behind Weal, whose 4 points gave him the first star. Highlights are here.


This was an ugly game from the second period onward, with far too many penalties and scuffling after the whistle. There was one good fight between Cody Beach and Brandon Underwood (above). I've seen a lot of hockey on this trip but few fights, as it is obvious that fisticuffs are on the decline across all levels of hockey. This trend doesn't bother me, but I still enjoy a good scrap once in a while and this was the best one on the journey.


Overall though, there wasn't much to remember here. Neither Warrior keeper played well and the team will look to rebound tomorrow when they host Swift Current (they did, winning that game0. I'll be there too and hope for a better game than this one.

Notes

The scoreboard showed the Canadiens-Capitals game until the players began the warmup. After that though, there was no out of town scoreboard or announcement of the result.

The 50-50 winner was from Moose Jaw, which elicited a few boos, despite the score being 8-1 at that time. Hey, at least Moose Jaw won something!

Next Up

I'm driving a short distance to Moose Jaw tomorrow for a rematch of last weeks Swift Current-Warriors game. There's a winter storm warning in effect for southern Saskatchewan, so that could slow me down considerably, but the two cities are just an hour apart, so I should be able to make it. Check back tomorrow to make sure I did.

Best,

Sean

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sean

    Great stuff. How jarring is it to watch baseball played with metal bats instead of wooden. Worth a post.

    Sharpy

    ReplyDelete