REGINA - Jordan Eberle's 24th goal of the season was the game winner as the Regina Pats defeated the Kelowna Rockets 4-3 in the WHL Sunday afternoon.
The Pats (21-13-0-1) got off to a rough start when Tim Kraus was called for interference just 23 seconds into the game. Regina was able to kill Kraus's penalty but not the following one, handed to Kirt Hill at the 5:16 mark for cross-checking.
Sniping the power-play marker for Kelowna was Luke Schenn, who ripped a wrist shot top shelf over Regina goalie Linden Rowat's glove for his fifth of the year. Assisting on the goal was Tyson Barie and Colin Long.
Kelowna added another goal at the 13:54 mark thanks to a great effort from Jamie Benn for his 13th goal of the year. Although Regina's Juraj Valach was all over Benn on a partial breakaway, Benn managed to beat Rowat and save Valach a trip to the penalty box. Earning his second assist of the afternoon on the goal was Long. Also assisting on the play was Brandon McMillan.
Down 2-0 after one, Regina started the second on a better note two minutes in when Garret Mitchell banged home his third goal of the year to get the home team on the board. Picking up assists on the play were Hill and Troy Ofukany.
Then, after getting in more penalty trouble than they did in the first, the Pats played some of their best hockey of the game.
With Rudolf Cerveny in the penalty box for tripping, Hill forced a turnover at centre ice, broke in alone against Kelowna goalie Kristofer Westblom, then slid the puck through the five-hole for a short-handed marker to tie the game at two.
Five minutes later, Regina was short-handed again after Kraus was called for roughing then given another two minutes for arguing the call.
But for the next four minutes it looked as if Regina had the power play as Ofukany and Jared Jagow both had breakaways against Kelowna. Neither were able to make good on their chances but Valach bailed them out at the 18:39 mark when he blasted a power-play slapshot past Westblom to put Regina up 3-2.
Regina's lead didn't last long. Forty-two seconds into the third Kelowna's Evan Bloodoff tied things up after finishing a perfect pass from Brady Leavold for his ninth of the year.
Eberle, quiet for most of the night, then came alive and completed a pass from Kraus for the eventual game-winner.
Rowat (15-9-0-1) made 20 saves for the win. Recording the loss and making 26 saves for Kelowna was Westblom (13-6-2-1).