Kennewick, WA – The perfect start to a long road trip is to keep it simple and open with a win and the Saskatoon Blades did just that on Tuesday night in Kennewick Washington with a 5-2 victory over the Tri-City Americans. The win is the second consecutive for the Blades improving their record to 10-12-2-1 on the season as the journey continues tomorrow night in Spokane against the Chiefs.
Cameron Hebig opened the scoring for Saskatoon 8:10 into the hockey game on the Blades’ first of many power play chances of the evening. Libor Hájek set up the Blades leading scorer who made no mistake blasting a one-timer seemingly right through Americans tender, Patrick Dea. Saskatoon followed up 1:12 later as Kirby Dach fed a cross crease pass to Josh Paterson for his 8th of the season making it 2-0 for the visiting Blades.
Not long after the Americans were awarded their first power play of the game, which was quickly upgraded to a 5-on-3. Tri-City came alive in the second half of the opening frame but Nolan Maier kept the Blades in front 2-1 after 20 minutes.
The Blades came out firing in the second period and quickly regained the two goal lead. Caleb Fantillo tipped a point shot from Evan Fiala for his 7th of the season, and 3rd in his last 4 games. Fiala’s helper was his 2nd of the night, the other assist coming from Cam Hebig. Again the Americans answered back, this time taking until the 16:54 mark of the second period, leaving the Blades with a one goal lead after 40 minutes.
In the final frame Saskatoon bucked their recent trend of giving up their lead and kept the pedal down. Brad Goethals showed off his hand-eye skills batting a rebound out of mid-air off the back of Tri-City netminder Patrick Dea to put the Blades ahead 4-2. Gage Ramsay and Jackson Caller added the assists.
The Americans continued to pressure but the Blades stifled them in the final five minutes limiting their opportunities to get anything close to Nolan Maier. Then, with the net empty in the final minute Josh Paterson pushed the puck out of the Blades zone for Braylon Shmyr who drained his 13th of the season from half-court to extend his point streak to 7 games.
Cam Hebig lead the way with a goal and 2 assists, while Kirby Dach (2A), Evan Fiala (2A), and Josh Paterson (1G,1A) enjoyed multi-point nights. Nolan Maier stopped 26/28 shots faced to earn his 2nd straight (and career) win in goal for the Blades.
The special teams were busy, but the power plays weren’t overly successful with each side going 1/6 on the man advantage.
Next stop for the Blades is Wednesday night in Spokane against the Chiefs at 9:00pm Saskatchewan time.