Regals’ offence goes AWOL

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A fine start to the NPHL season for the High Prairie Regals came to a thundering halt last week.

The club suffered back-to-back losses and while one may not have been a surprise, the other was a bit of a shocker.

The Regals were whipped 8-4 at Manning Nov. 24. Considering the Regals blasted the same Comets 9-3 six days earlier, the result had to be puzzling.

Or was it? The Regals have now lost nine straight games in Manning dating back to Nov. 16, 2007, or just over 10 years.

The Comets scored four goals in the first 14:03 and never looked back. Three times, the Regals battled back to close the gap to two goals, but they never got any closer. Had they scored to make it a one-goal game, the pressure was back on the Comets and who knows what would have happened.

Caty Thomas opened the scoring with two of his three goals in the first nine minutes. Steven Kover and Josh Rutherford added the other goals to stake the Comets to the quick lead.

Rutherford would end the night with two goals. Defenceman Bo Asmussen scored two goals of his own to complete the Comets’ attack.

Jacob Anderson, Jay Anderson, Gordy Laderoute and Drake Cunningham, playing in his first game with the club this season, replied for the Regals.

The Regals outshot the Comets 44-33 in the contest, including 22-14 in the first period, but trailed 4-1. Comets’ goaltender Braden Gamble was his usual MVP self stopping 21 shots.

The Regals continued to press in the second period outshooting the Comets 16-9 but the clubs split four goals.

The Regals returned home to face the tough Fort St. John Flyers the next night, fresh on a four-game winning streak. The Flyers have never lost in High Prairie during their NPHL existence and they continued the trend with a 4-1 win. It was their sixth straight in High Prairie and tenth straight overall as the Regals have yet to taste victory over the Flyers.

Damian Cardinal opened the scoring for the Regals just before the midway point of the first period. The teams appeared evenly matched but the Flyers clearly asserted themselves as the game wore on. From the late stages of the first period to the end of the game, they had total control. Their pinpoint passing and quick puck movement had the Regals chasing most of the night.

An optimist would point out the Regals did have some chances, and they did. The puck dribbled off James Tallman’s stick when he was in all alone. Two or three other times, the puck bounced the way of the Flyers’ favour. It was not the Regals’ night.

Robbie Sidhu scored first and third period goals to lead the Flyers. Rick Cleaver scored his league-leading 12th goal of the season in the second period while Steven Fast scored the game-winner, also in the second period.

The Flyers outshot the Regals 31-30 but the chances were hugely in favour of the Flyers. Regals’ goaltender Sandford Lamouche was deservedly named the game’s first star, stopping several excellent chances.

The Regals get a week off before hosting the Dawson Creek Canucks Dec. 2 at the Sports Palace at 8:30 p.m. The Canucks have won three straight games in High Prairie with the latter’s last home win over the Canucks coming over 12 years ago in 2005.

Overall, the Canucks have now defeated the Regals in seven straight games.

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