Heading into the Christmas break the Pats are on a tear. Pending the outcome of last night’s game in Brandon against the Wheat Kings, they’ve racked up 11Ws in their last 13 games. That includes wins on the road against the Kelowna Rockets who currently boast the best record (26W-5L-3OT/L) in the WHL, and a sweep of a home-and-home with Brandon who own the second best record in the WHL.
The Pats’ inspired play of late has put them in the thick of the WHL East Conference playoff race with a 19W-11L-1OT/L record. With 39 points, they’ve got some ground to make up on the two division leaders Brandon (52 points) and Medicine Hat Tigers (48 points). But if the season ended today they would have home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Of course, the season doesn’t end today. After tonight’s game against the last place Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Pats will have a 10-day holiday break before returning to action in Swift Current against the Broncos on Dec. 27.
Last week, the Leader-Post did an article speculating on whether the Pats would be active as a buyer or seller as the WHL trade deadline of Jan. 10 approached. The team has some veteran players (most notably, Morgan Klimchuk who was invited to the Team Canada World Junior training camp earlier this month) that could be used as assets in trades with teams like Kelowna and Medicine Hat who seem poised to take a run at the league title this year.
With the Pats’ strong play of late, though, they might not be too far away themselves. If that viewpoint carries the day with the team’s brain trust they might be looking to add some talent. But the team will likely be reluctant to mortgage too much of its future by giving away a top prospect like 16-year-old centre Sam Steel (pictured) for what still has to be considered a long-shot run at a WHL title in 2014-15.
Tonight’s game against Lethbridge goes at Brandt Centre at 7 p.m. For more information visit the Regina Pats website.