Okay, it’s not really that great like cake or cherries are, but the Pats, thanks to the Swift Current Broncos, have sealed the deal on their playoff fate. It’s not the greatest one. The Pats fought hard to win this game, but they now sit 11 points out of playoffs with only 5 games to go. Therefore, it would be impossible to make playoffs even if they won every single game. Sigh. I think I need a serious cup of hot chocolate and many cookies and brownies to help grieve the loss.
Well, I may as well look at the plus side. Jordan Eberle got his 300th point in his WHL career on an assist on the goal that belonged to Matt Strueby (35th of the season). Eberle scored his 46th (151st in his WHL career) of the season as well on a 6 on 4 power play (they pulled goalie Dawson Guhle). Guhle spent about 7 seconds in goal in the last 5 minutes as the Pats unsuccessfully tried to battle back the three then two then three goal deficit (Eakin scored on the empty net).
One other exciting thing! Eberle is leading in scoring with 97 points this season. I’m REALLY hoping he hits 100 really soon. You know, before his season’s over. Jordan Weal is sitting in second with 94 points. Eberle is also two markers short of top spot for most goals. Matt Strueby is in 13th. This to me makes no sense. The Pats have argueable the best players in the league (this also includes Teubert), yet when they need to win, it doesn’t happen. Is the team to bipolar — i.e. are there really strong players and weak players — and they therefore just don’t mix or is it that the superstars act like it and don’t play as a team? I think most definitely none of the above. So what is it then? This just boggles me. The accomplishments despite their team amaze me, but I just don’t get it.
What else is there to say? I guess the Pats need to have a good last few games and play because they love to play hockey. I predict that they will have an outstanding last few games because there is no pressure. Think about it. Pats shut out the Blades.Why? They were pretty much expected to lose, and they won. So what do you think will happen once they have no pressure? Excellence. That’s my prediction.
Rod Pederson had an interesting comment as the buzzer sounded. He said “Time runs out. Does it ever.” He was referring to their playoff hopes.
So who was the Hardest Working Pat? I would say Eberle or Strueby. Molson Three Stars should have been: 1) Morgan Clark, 2) Cody Eakin, and 3) Eberle. That was NOT the case. Eberle didn’t make it, nor did Eakin, which really surprised me. Eberle was indeed the hardest working Pat, but I would like to send out some much deserved cootos to Strueby.
There really isn’t much else to critique or say that they need to work on. I guess they need to start playing to fight for their spot on the bench next year. I feel pretty bad for the older guys like Eberle, Colten Teubert, Brett Leffler, and Strueby (and anyone else I missed) who are in their last season as a Pat. It would have been so rewarding to come up from behind and make it. Too bad! On the bright side, some of the up and coming players will be called up to get some experience.
What’s in the Pats’ future? Well, they have five games left to make a statement. They will play the Hurricanes at home on Friday. On Saturday, they play the Raiders for Fan Appreciation Night.
I thought it was really interesting that Shaun Sutter bluntly said that the Pats were just “flat-out not good enough.” I’m glad that he didn’t pussyfoot around the issue. It’s true. They played really well the last several games and just couldn’t catch a break. Seems like a shame, but it is hard to admit that they aren’t as good as they needed to be. That shows some great composure. I also was pretty interested to hear Darren Eberle’s interview with Rod Pederson. It was nice to hear about the kid underneath the gear. I didn’t like part of the interview Rod did with Dawson Guhle the other night which was aired during the second intermission. He spent most of the interview talking about Guhle, which I liked, but then he made some wise crack that he should divide the puck that Guhle kept to commemorate his shut out and split it with Eberle because Eberle scored. I am a die-hard Eberle fan, but when you are giving the guy attention for something great, he should get the all attention, especially when it is Guhle’s first big career highlight. Regardless, I still enjoyed listening to the interview and found it really interesting.
All I can say is that it will be a long bus ride home tonight, and that I’m so sorry guys. I wish the Pats all well for the last few games of the season and want them to go out and kick some ass to prove a point. Let’s aim for 9th since we can’t make 8th.