Friday, February 3, 2012

1971-1972 - SEASON

Bernie McLean's Estevan Bruins moved their franchise to New Westminster during the off season, where the team played in the old 4,900 seat Queen's Park Arena. There were also two other new entries from the west coast which joined that year, Victoria Cougars and the Vancouver Nets. The Western Canada Hockey League now had twelve teams, six in each division. Each team was now playing sixty-eight scheduled games, up two games from the previous season. On Thursday, April 13, 1972, in the Regina Leader Post: "Lethbridge WCHL franchise sought a new arena seating between 5,000-6,000 people. It is being built and will be in operation the fall of 1973."

That year, a new trophy for the Best Defenseman was given by Ron C. Johnston in loving memory of his father (a defenseman who played in the 1921-1922 Inter-city League, with Moose Jaw). Regina Pats had a new coach that year, Earl Ingarfield had just retired from playing in the NHL. Earl had been used by the Pats for the Memorial Cup series back in 1955 while playing for the Lethbridge Native Sons. He played in two games for the Regina Pats getting an assist. The rookie coach became the League coach of the year, to-date this is only time it has ever happened to a Pats coach. The next year he became western scout for the New York Islanders. Halfway through the Islanders' season, the coach was let go and Earl had the chance to coach the club to the end of the season, after which he returned to scouting for the Islanders.
Pats grabbed first place on December 14, and were in second place for a brief moment before going on to win the League Pennant.

That same year (1971-72) Regina Pats top line was the famous rookie line made up of centre Dennis “Sobie” Sobchuk who played for Estevan Bruins of the SAJHL in 1970-71 and was traded to the Pats; Dennis' younger brother Eugene, who played for the Pats for one year the previous season; as well as right winger (Mike Wanchuk) and left winger (Clark Gillies). The three finished as the top three scorers for the Pats that season.


THE FAMOUS ROOKIE LINE


....... Clark GILLIES ...................... Dennis SOBCHUK ...................... Mike WANCHUK .......

Rookie LineGPGA
PTSWGOTPPG..T..SHG
BWG
Dennis Sobchuk685667
1236120034
Mike Wanchuk6444388210125101
Clark Gillies6841387950 12000
Rookie's Totals
68131153284212571 35

WG: winning goals, OT: overtime goals, PPG: power play goals, T: tying goals SHG: short handed goals, BWG break away goals.

1971-1972 Regina Pats Roster - Goalies: Bernie Germain, Eddie “Steadie” Staniowski Defense: Dwight Bialowas (Captain), Greg Joly, Doug Marit, John Dobie, Nellie Greene, Sid Pryunka, Kim MacDougall, Mike Harzny, Jim Kelly Centre: Dennis “Sobie” Sobchuk, Glen Burdon, Glen Toner, Brad Anderson Right Wing: Mike Wanchuk, Al Barrett, Rich Uhrich, Jim Minor Left Wing: Clark Gillies, Scott "Smitty" Smith, Ken Marit, Bill Bell, Rob Laird, Harvey Schmidt Jr. Coach: Earl Ingarfield Owner/Manager: Del Wilson Assistant Manager: John Weber Trainer: Charlie Walch Statistican: Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston

East Division Semi-Play-Offs - they were forced to open series in Flin Flon instead of Regina due to the Annual Regina Horse Show at the Exhibition Stadium. A Norcanair DC-3 two hour trip replaced the 10 hour Moose Mountain bus trip.

Sunday, March 16, Dave Shardlow scored a power play goal at 17:25 of the first period and Regina's Mike Wanchuck tied the game 1-1 at 16:23 of the middle period. Regina Pats took a 2-1 lead on Rich Urhrich goal near the eight minute mark of the third period and then stood around as Flin Flon stormed back with two goals in the final two minutes of the game for a 3-2 decision at the Whitney Forum. Rookie Al Hillier scored the tying goal at 18:28. The winning goal had Blaine Stoughton grab the puck at centre ice from defenceman Dwight Bialowas. He shifted around John Dobie and then was home free as he scored at 19:02.

Tuesday, April 4, the 10 day lay-off helped Glen Burdon, who had been side lined with a broken jaw, and Doug Marit, with a broken wrist, return to the Pat line-up. The spectacular performance of netminder Roger Swanson helped the Flin Flon Bombers to a 5-3 win over the Pats at the Regina Exhibition Stadium. Swanson kicked out almost all 46 shots directed his way. Bombers lead 2-0 after the first period. Dennis Sobchuk scored while Bombers were 2 men short 16 seconds into the second. Flin Flon upped the score to 5-1 with 4 minutes left in the game. Then the Pats scored two in the last minutes of the game.

Friday, April 7, Regina coach Earl Ingarfield's Pats won 8-6 in a loosely played game over Flin Flon at the Stadium. Pats took a 4-2 lead at the midway point in the second period only to see the Bombers close the margin. Regina snapped 5-5and 6-6 ties in the third period before Al Barrett and Dennis Sobchuk scored 18 seconds apart late in the period. Barrett scored the winner and turned in his first three goals performance of the season. Wayne Bianchin also scored three goals for the Bombers. Regina rifled 17 shots each period on Swanson and 4 of the 8 goals Pats scored never left the ice.

Sunday, April 9, Pats battled to a 1-1 tie at Flin Flon Witney Forum. Pat goaltender Bernie Germain was brilliant as he kicked out nearly everything the Bombers threw at him. The third period was one of the best played in the series as both clubs went all out to get the go ahead goal. It was Pats' Glen Toner scoring from a face-off just left of Bombers net. Rich Uhrich won the face-off sent the puck back to Dwight Bialowas who let a low drive go and Toner scored on the rebound. Bombers Al Hillier scored in the second on Flin Flon's 21 shot with 21 seconds left in the period.

Tuesday, April 11, Regina Pats turned in their best offensive showing at the Regina Stadium as they walked all over Flin Flon 9-1 in a penalty filled encounter. The wild scoring by Pats lost some of its glitter when, with only 15 seconds left in the game, a wild brawl ensued with both benches charging onto the ice. It took nearly 30 minutes to bring a halt to the near riot. When it was all over, referee Joe Cassidy and penalty-timekeeper Harold Jones required a second score sheet to get it all sorted out.

The final tally was - 444 minutes in penalties, Flin Flon had 235 minutes and Regina 209 minutes. It had to be a record of some sort. Nineteen of 26 majors, 20 misconduct and eight game misconducts came from the game-ending occurence. Regina rookie right-winger Mike Wanchuck led the powerful Pats offence with three goals and linemate centre Dennis Sobchuk had a pair of goals.

Due to a reduced ceiling (below 500 feet) at Flin Flon's airport, Regina's chartered flight Norcanair DC-3 was cancelled Friday afternoon, it never left Regina. The game had to be rescheduled for the next day.

Saturday, April 15, a goal by Al Bennett at the 14 minute mark of the third period capped a come-from-behind effort by the Pats for a 2-2 draw. Bombers had taken a 2-0 lead after the opening period on goals 4 minutes apart, Blaine Stoughton at 14:38 and Gary Howatt at 18:13. Mike Wanchuk started the comeback at the 14 second mark in the middle stanza. Dwight Bialowas' drive from the right point deflected off Wanchuck's leg. In the third period Al Barrett stole the puck from along the boards near centre, skated into the Bombers' zone and rifled a 30 foot shot through Roger Swanson's pads to tie the game.

Sunday, April 16, standing room only witnessed the Regina Pats thrash the Flin Flon Bombers 8-2 at the Exhibition Stadium. Regina wasted little time as they struck for three goals in the space of one minute and 50 seconds in the early part of the opening period. It was Mike Wanchuck at 5:55, Doug Marit 6:54 and Glen Toner at 7:45. Regina added four more in the middle frame for a 7-0 lead then toyed with the Bombers the last 20 minutes of the game.

EASTERN DIVISION FINAL - Tuesday, April 18, the Regina Pats trounced Brandon Wheat Kings 8-1 at the Exhibition Stadium. Both teams came out of the opening period tied 1-1. Regina scored four unanswered goals in the middle frame. Pats poured a total of 30 shots at the Brandon netminder Dave McLelland in the final period as he let in 3 goals. Mike Wanchuk and Scott Smith led Pats with two goals apiece.

Wednesday, April 19, Regina Pats 17-year-old superstar Denis Sobchuck, a native of Lang, Saskatchewan, was the big difference in the face-off circles. He helped Pats to a 6-4 decision over the Wheat Kings at Regina Stadium. Sobie was getting the faster draw over Brandon Wheat Kings' Ron Chipperfield. Sobchuk figured in five of the six Pat goals. He scored a goal and had four assists. Two of the assists came in the last three minutes of the game. Sobchuk won a pair of face offs that led to the winning and insurance markers.

All Brandon Wheat Kings home games were played at the larger ice surface, at the Winnipeg Arena instead of the smaller Brandon Man-Ex Arena.

Saturday, April 22, Ron Chipperfield and the Brandon Wheat Kings thumped Regina Pats 6-1. The Wheat Kings led 2-0 after only four minutes of the starting period and put it out of reach with four goals in the middle frame. Three of the goals in the second stanza came within a minute. Ron Chipperfield scored three loose pucks into a three goal performance for the Wheat Kings. The turning point came with three minutes left in the first period. Pats' Dennis Sobuchuk streaked behind the Brandon defenceman and blasted a shot passed goalie McLelland only to have the puck bounce off the cross bar.


TELLING IT LIKE IT IS: Keeping the Statistical tabs on the junior Pats hockey club, is by no means an easy task. on Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston, who handles everything from shots on goals to shots by and against Pat players, keeps the information for coach Earl Ingarfield. (Photo: Regina Leader Post - file)

Sunday, April 23, Brandon evened the series downing Regina 5-3 with the help of Chipperfield's second period goals at the Winnipeg Arena. His two goals in three minutes and 30 seconds, helped the Kings snap a 2-2 tie in the second. Poor coverage by the Regina defence played a major roll in the club's downfall. Three Brandon goals came after Bernie Germain came up with big saves, only to have the defenceman back in on top of him and give the Wheat Kings chances on the rebounds. Scott Smith of the Pats chipped in with two goals.

Monday, April 24, Regina Pats captain Dwight Bialowas helped to blank the Wheat Kings 3-0 back at the Regina Exhibition Stadium. The winning goal was a beauty. Regina defenceman grabbed the loose puck at Pats' blue line. He streaked up the middle, beat a Brandon defender with a beautiful shift, skated in unmolested on the goalie and scored at 5:49 of the first. In the third period Mike Wanchuk drilled a 40 footer slapshot at 6:08 and Ken Marit went around the defence and scored from in front of the net at 8:25.

Wednesday, April 26, Regina Pats advanced to the League final against Edmonton in impressive style as they blanked Brandon 6-0. It was the second straight shutout for goalie Germain. Clark Gillies scored twice for the Pats to take a 1-0 leadincluding the winner at 6:21 of the opening period. With only 30 second left in the period, Ron Chiperfield jumped out of the penalty box and streaked in alone on Bernie Germain who robbed him on a slapshot. At the time Pats were trapped inside of Brandon's zone. Pats' coach Earl Ingarfield had Rich Uhrich covering Brandon's high scoring ace Ron Chipperfield in the two games and kept him off the score sheet.

LEAGUE FINAL - Saturday, April 29, Regina Pats won the opening final at the Regina Stadium posting a 5-2 victory over Edmonton Oil Kings. Pats scored four of their five goals in the opening period as Regina lead 4-1. Pats Al Barrett opened the scoring as he picked up the puck off the boards and slid it passed surprised Doug Sortaert. In the second period John Rogers flipped a long shot that Pats' goalie Bernie Germanin thought was going over the net only to drop just below the cross bar at 11:22. Regina's Dennis Sobchuk scored in the third period with only 2 minutes left in the game.

Sunday, April 30, Edmonton's goalie Larry Hendrick was wearing a giant sized horse shoe as the Oil Kings shut the Pats out 3-0 at Regina Exhibition Stadium. Glen Ing was the first to feel the effect of Hendrick's horse shoe, letting a blast go passed the netminder only to hit the goal post at the 8:30 mark of the second period. A minute later Dennis Sobchuck ripped a shot through Hendricks' pads only to have the puck trickle passed the corner of the net. Defensive errors by the Regina Pats cost a pair of goals by Marcel Comeau in the first period. Pats had 44 shots on Henrick.

Tuesday, May 2, for the second straight game, Oil Kings blanked the Pats 3-0 at the Edmonton Gardens. Edmonton's netminder Hendrick still had lady luck with him. On three occasions he was caught going the wrong way with the puck lying in the goal crease. Each time a Pat player was inches away, the player either didn't see it or could not get to the puck. Don Kozak opened the scoring on a power play goal at 16:39 of the first period on a slapshot as he crossed the blueline. In the second period, Tom Bladon blasted a 60 foot screen drive by at 6:11. In the third, Curtis Shokoples drirected Phi Russell's low drive from the point at the 12:11 mark.

Thursday, May 4, Regina dropped a 4-1 decision to the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Gardens. It was the first time this season Pats lost three games in a row. Pat's lone goal was scored by rookie centre Dennis Sobchuk at 11:47 of the second period, ending Oil King's goalie Larry Hendrick's shut outstring at 153 minutes and 48 seconds. Don Kozak carried the puck down the right side and passed in front of the net and John Rogers scored at 9:13 of the second period. Just over two minutes later, Dennis Sobuchuk tied the game on a shorthanded goal and with in 5 minutes Terry McDonald scored from in front of the net. In the third period Terry Smith and Darcy Rota both scored for Edmonton.

Friday, May 5, Fred Comrie's goal at 5 minutes and 2 seconds of sudden death overtime lead the Oil Kings to a 2-1 victory and the League crown. Comrie's winning goal was hotly disputed by the Pats as they said the puck never entered the net, instead it hit the goal post. The goal came just moments after Regina's Scott Smith scored on a 10 footer shot that netminder Hendrick did not even see. The puck ricocheted off the goal post. Edmonton's Marcel Comeau scored at the 10 minute mark in the second period. Mike Wanchuk of the Pats tied the game at 4:23 of the third as he took Dennis Sobchuk's perfect pass at Edmonton's blue- line, then went in and let a low drive go.

That year was the start of the round robin format. It had Peterborough Petes (OHA), Cornwall Royals (QMJHL), and the Edmonton Oil Kings (WJHL) playing at Ottawa. Cornwall defeated Peterborough 2-1 in the final deciding game for the Memorial Cup.

............ Stick Boys: Ken Gilson and Randy McCormack ..............

Front Row: Al Barrett, Bernie Germain, Earl Ingarfield Sr. (Coach), Dwight Bialowas, Del Wilson (Manager), Ed Staniowski, Scott Smith Middle Row: John Weber (Assistant manager), John Dobie, Dennis Sobchuk, Doug marit, Charlie Walsh (Trainer), Clark Gillies, Glen Burden, Brad Anderson, Ron "Scoreboard" Johnston (Statistician) Back Row: Greg Joly, Bill Bell, Mike Wanchuk, Ken Marit, Sid Prysunka, Kim McDougall, Glen Ing, Rick Urich (Photo: Dennis Sobchuk Collection)