The first round of provincial hockey playoffs had the Preeceville Midget Pats on the road in Humboldt against the Broncos in the Elgar Peterson Memorial Arena on February 5.
"It was a very physical start to the game, maybe even putting our boys back on their heels, as they are more used to being the aggressive type and it was very apparent that the refs were going to let the guys play that kind of game,” stated Kirby Pankratz, head coach. “By the start of the second period they knew what they needed to do and picked up their compete and battle level."
The physicality kept coming both ways in the game but when it came to the end it was the Pats with a 2 to 1 victory.
The Humboldt came to Preeceville February 11 for the second game of the provincial matchup with the Pats.
“The message to the guys was simple, they knew what they needed to do, and they knew they couldn’t afford to have a bad start like the one in Humboldt," said Pankratz.
The hometown arena carried a good crowd with lots of hype and expectations and the Pats delivered, charging out to a very early 4 to 0 lead.
“That took a lot of life out of Humboldt and our boys enjoyed really pouring on the heat," said Pankratz.
The Broncos tried to rally back at times, but all they could muster was two power play goals in the third. The Pats took the game 5 to 2 and now look forward to playing the next opponent, the Moosomin Rangers, in the quarter finals in the pursuit of a provincial title.
In league play, the Pats hit the road February 7 to the HCU Arena in Melville in a battle with the Chiefs for their third and last meeting of the regular season.
“The guys looked a little complacent, like all they needed to do was to just show up and have a win given to them. This wasn’t the case and they had to get it together fast," said Pankratz.
The Pats got down to business and probably had the majority of chances in the second and third periods, but were only able to manage a 3 to 3 tie.
Indian Head came to Preeceville the next night, the first of back to back nights against the Chiefs, who were pushing for a spot in the top four of the league.
“This was expected to be a heavy clash of physical hockey,” said Pankratz. “The guys started the game off the right way, which they needed after their previous two game starts.”
Fans were not disappointed as the teams “exchanged pleasantries” but it was the Pats being the only team to hit the scoreboard in a 6 to 0 win.
The Pats returned to Indian Head the next day for the quick rematch, and the teams got reacquainted pretty fast, picking right up where they left off the night before. The Pats managed another six goal performance. There was some push back from Indian Head players on the scoreboard with three of their own, but the Pats skated away with a 6 to 3 victory.