Liam Fitzpatrick had a hat-trick and a four-point night on Monday, as the Moose Jaw WINMAR AAA Warriors left Regina with a 4-3 overtime win over the Pat Canadians.
That was Fitzpatrick’s third game-winning goal of the season and his second hat-trick.
“He’s a guy that we lean on,” says Warriors head coach, Trevor Weisgerber. “We’ve always known that he has it, it’s just the consistency. He’s elevated his hockey game here and is becoming the player everyone sees him as. He continues to improve and is playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
With Monday’s four-point game Fitzpatrick now is tied atop the league lead in points with the Saskatoon Blazers’ Cole Reschny with 48 points.
It wasn’t the easiest win for Moose Jaw, as they surrendered a two-goal lead just over nine minutes into the third period but came out on top in the overtime frame.
The first period was a back and forth affair with both teams trading chances, but neither was able to find the back of the net.
Regina took a penalty late in the first period, giving Moose Jaw an opportunity with the man advantage.
After some nice passing in the offensive zone, Grady Hoffman got the puck on the near side just above the faceoff dot and rifled it to the net, Connor Miller was there to tip in past Pat Canadian’s starter John Macpherson for the 1-0 lead.
That was Miller’s eighth powerplay goal of the season and his fifth goal in his last six games. Fitzpatrick and Hoffman picked up assists on the goal.
Moose Jaw would take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission and trail in the shot department 9-7.
The start of the second period is when Fitzpatrick's night got started. Twenty seconds into the period he was sprung on a partial breakaway and ripped one low blocker on Macpherson to extend the lead to 2-0.
Regina’s Jaxon Skiftun would get that one back just over six minutes later. On an ensuing two-on-one Skiftun would take a shot from the left faceoff dot and it would deflect off a defender’s stick, change directions, and go over the glove of Warriors starter Ryan Bain and finds twine to make it 2-1.
But as they did in the first period Moose Jaw would get a late goal in the period to restore their two-goal lead.
After an errant pass by the Pat Canadians leaves the offensive zone and gets behind the defense, Fitzpatrick picked the puck at centre ice and fled on a breakaway. His initial shot was stopped but got his own rebound and put it under the goaltender for his 22nd goal of the season and the 3-1 lead.
Moose Jaw led in shots after 40 minutes 14-13.
This would set up an exciting third period. Regina would cut the lead to one, 7:16 into the third period. Coming off the bench was Steven Steranka who would receive a cross-ice pass from Kolten Bridgeman and roof it over a sliding Bain to cut the lead to 3-2.
Over a minute later, Isaac Poll would tie the game for Regina with his fifth of the year and just like that it was 3-3.
Late in the third period, both teams would have a crack at the powerplay but neither club was able to capitalize and after 60 minutes the game remained tied at 3-3.
The game would head into a three-on-three overtime period. Following a post-to-post game-saver by Warrior's goalie Ryan Bain, Fitzpatrick would be sprung on yet another breakaway and wouldn’t miss putting it past the glove of Macpherson for the game-winner and the extra point.
The final shots were 23-22 for Regina.
Bain would make 20 saves for his seventh win of the season.
The extra point was much-needed as the Warriors now find themselves tied with Prince Albert for seventh place in the league standings with 30 points. Moose Jaw would pick up their 13th win of the season and improve to 13-15-0-4 on the year.
Moose Jaw will return home on Wednesday to begin a seven-game homestand starting with the Yorkton Maulers. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.