War of words heating up between Lethbridge Hurricanes and Regina Pats
The Lethbridge Hurricanes and Regina Pats are just a day away from clashing in the Eastern Conference Final, but the verbal sparring has already begun. On Wednesday, Pats General Manager and Head Coach John Paddock had this to say about Hurricanes Captain Tyler Wong.
“He has skill, ability to score and is physical. He (also) jumps a couple feet in the air when he hits guys and doesn’t get called.”
Paddock may be referring to a hit on Pats forward Austin Wagner that occurred in the playoffs last year, a hit that Wong was suspended for.
Hurricanes General Manager Peter Anholt was asked about Paddock’s comments.
“Love the man, but he’s sly like a fox,” Anholt said. “I think really, ultimately, the facts speak for themselves. (Dawson) Leedahl takes (Lane) Pederson out of the Swift Current series… The Regina Pats take runs at top players, I think it’s pretty obvious. Facts speak for themselves.”
Anholt believes the comments were made to distract the Hurricanes going into the Eastern Conference Final.
“It’s gamesmanship… John can smoke and mirrors all he likes,” Anholt said. “He can talk about Tyler Wong and probably take the brunt of it from our fans, taking a run at Tyler Wong. I don’t see what the reason for that would be.”
The Hurricanes GM hopes that ‘Canes faithful will be fired up by the remark.
“I hope our fans show their ire towards John Paddock when he comes back here for Games 3 and 4. It doesn’t make sense to me, but the facts speak for themselves… I think our top players better be very wary and watch because their team has a history of taking runs at top players.”
The two teams met in the playoffs last year, when the Pats knocked the ‘Canes out in five games. This season, the two met four times with the Hurricanes winning twice, and the Pats taking two.
“They’re deep, they can score, they’ve got a good goalie,” Hurricanes Head Coach Brent Kisio said. “Hey, they’re the best team in our league for a reason and it’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
The Pats were the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League entering playoffs, and the highest scoring team in the WHL, but the ‘Canes Captain believes it’s the pats that need to worry about their offence.
“Well I think we’ve got a lot of fire power too,” Hurricanes Captain Tyler Wong said. “So, I think they’re going to have the same trouble. I think that, so did Med Hat, they had a lot of big goal scorers and I think we did a great job handling them.”
The Hurricanes and Pats play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final Friday at 7:00 p.m. in Regina.
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