the Saskatoon Blades who recently enjoyed a four game winning streak,
including 3 in a row at home slipped a notch recently this past weekend and
were in danger of falling into the east division basement. The Blades were
winless in a three game in three night Alberta road trip. On Friday, the
Blades fell behind early to the Medicine Hat Tigers by a score of 4-0 and
could never really get back into the game. The Blades got to within 2 goals
on a pair of tallies by WHL eastern conference player of the month Justin
Kelly but that would be as close as the Blades would come losing 5-3 to the
Saturday night the Blades were in Lethbridge to play a Canes team
who has really beaten up on the Blades so far this year outscoring them 20-8
in three previous meetings. This time the Blades were able to stay close
but not close enough losing 4-2. Jeremy Jackson salted the game away with
his 26th of the season with 1:13 remaining in the game. With a 2 game
losing streak going entering Red Deer, the Blades could have easily folded
with a pair of home games on the horizon but that wasn’t the case.
the Blades looked past the fact the Rebels had won 11 in row and looked past
the fact they are defending Memorial Cup champs. The Blades stayed close
all night long and forced OT but lost 3-2 in overtime. The trip wasn’t
exactly a success for the Blades but they faired pretty well on the road
against some very tough teams. The Blades still only have 1 win vs Central
Division teams this season.
Last nights game vs the Warriors is as big as they come at this point in the
season. The Warriors were 7 points ahead of the Blades for 3rd in the
division while the Blades were only 2 points up on the Prince Albert Raiders
for 4th. However, the Blades did have 2 games in hand on Moose Jaw and 1 in
hand on the Raiders. Last nights game started of with a bang literally as
Warriors defenseman Craig Olynick hamered Daniel Volrab with a vicious elbow
and receive a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for doing so.
were able to capitalize once during the major and led the game 1-0. Later
in the first period the Warriors scored on a PP of their own as Brian
Sutherby notched his 16th of the season. In the second period the Warriors
again on a PP to make it 2-1 and it looked like it was going to remain that
way until the 3rd but that didn’t happen. With 3.4 seconds remaining, the
Blades, on a set play scored with no time left on the clock to tie it up at
2 and set up a terrific finish in the 3rd. In the 3rd, the Blades really
took it to the Warriors. Richard Mueller scored on a nice individual effort
using his tremendous speed to the outside to give the Blades their first
lead since the first period.
The Blades kept coming and Davin Heintz
notched a pair of tallies 2 minutes apart to give the Blades a 5-2 victory.
The Blades outshot the Warriors 44-30 on the night and Davin Heintz scored a
hatrick for the Blades. With the win, the Blades move to within 5 points of
the Warriors and with the subsequent Raiders loss to the Wheatkings last
increase their lead to 4 points over their Arch Rivals to the north. The
Blades have now won 4 games in a row at home.
PROSPECT WATCH/BLADE BITES
Blade prospect Wacey Rabbitt continues to play well for the Calgary North
Stars in the Alberta AAA midget league. Rabbitt has moved into 10th in
league scoring with 42 points in 30 games including 19 goals for the 15 year
old. Goaltender Dustin MacDonald continues to impress , MacDonald who plays
for the Saskatchewan AAA Notre Dame Hounds has recorded a 2.56 GAA and a
91.2 save percentage in 17 games so far this season.
Other Blade prospects
to note are Ryan Antoniuk who has recorded 28 points in 20 games for the
Lethbridge Midget AAA team. Next week I’ll take a look at Josh Froese and
Joe Barnes of the Manitoba AAA league.
Blades forward Justin Kelly has been named the CHL player of the month for
January. The 20 year old winger recored 13 goals and 10 assists in the
month to receive the honour. Kelly is the first WHL player to receive CHL
player of the month honors this season. Blades defenseman Scotty Balan will
miss the remainder of the season as he will undergo knee surgury.
ON THE HORIZON
The Blades play host to the expansion Vancouver Giants on Saturday night
then travel to Prince Albert on Sunday for a matinee against the Raiders.