REGINA — The Acadie-Bathurst Titan talked in their dressing room during the second intermission about continuing to press the Regina Pats despite a four-goal advantage.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion went on to allow four goals in the third Sunday, but held on for an 8-6 victory over the hosts at the Memorial Cup.
Titan captain Jeffrey Truchon-Viel said his team let up in the third.
"We talked about it after the second that we cannot stop working and that's what we did," said Truchon-Viel, who had two goals and an assist.
"It's a good lesson for us."
Acadie-Bathurst (2-0) earned a berth in Friday's semifinal of the Canadian major junior championship with the victory.
Noah Dobson led the Titan offensive attack with two goals and two assists, including an empty-netter in the dying seconds. Ethan Crossman struck twice and Liam Murphy added a goal and two assists apiece for Acadie-Bathurst. Samuel Asselin also chipped in.
Dobson said that his team fell asleep in the third period.
"But a win's a win in this tournament," he said. "I think if we said at the start of the tournament to be 2-0 after the first two games, I think we'd take it."
The Pats' rally started shortly after Crossman's second goal to make it 7-2.
Cameron Hebig's second of the game followed by a power-play goal from Nick Henry closed the deficit to three. Josh Mahura and Matt Bradley then made it 7-6 with under two minutes remaining.
"The third period disguised a whole bunch of crap," Pats coach John Paddock said. "We didn't do anything. Their best players outplayed every one of ours from the goaltender on out."
Acadie-Bathurst coach Mario Pouliot said his team didn't manage the puck efficiently late in the game.
"Doesn't matter if you have the lead 7-2, 7-3 or 2-1, you have to be careful with the puck and we were not careful with the puck in the third period," he said.
Jared Legein also scored for Regina (1-1) while Sam Steel tacked on four assists. Steel and Truchon-Viel are tied for the tournament lead with six points apiece.
The Titan broke the game open early in the first period by scoring three times in a span of 1:21.
Dobson tied the game at 1-1 after picking up a rebound from Max Paddock, who had just made a sprawling save off a 2-on-1 rush. Crossman then sniped one top corner just over a minute later above Paddock's blocker before Murphy added another off a rebound at a bad angle.
"There’s no excuse for that," Regina captain Sam Steel said.
"I don't think we deserved to win with a start like that."
Evan Fitzpatrick made 32 saves for the win in net while Max Paddock turned aside 26-of-32 shots in defeat. Ryan Kubic came on in relief for the Pats to start the third and made three saves.
Regina's coach said that he didn't think it was fair to make a goaltending switch mid-period and put Kubic in cold. He added that he doesn't know who he will start in net for the Pats' next game on Wednesday against Western Hockey League rival Swift Current (0-1) to wrap up the round robin.
"I can't change all the players," Paddock said.
Both teams get a day off Monday. Acadie-Bathurst faces the Ontario Hockey league's Hamilton Bulldogs (0-1) on Tuesday night.
Notes: Humboldt Broncos goaltender Jacob Wassermann, a survivor in the April 6 bus crash that killed 16 people, was in attendance and received a standing ovation in the first period.
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Ryan McKenna, The Canadian Press