The largest crowd of the season did not leave SaskTel Centre disappointed on Friday night as the Saskatoon Blades took down the league leading Prince Albert Raiders by a score of 3-2 in front of 9188 fans. The win was the Blades eighth straight victory, improving their overall record to 45-14-8-0 on the year with 98 points.
WHAT WENT DOWN
The visiting Raiders got things started as Spencer Moe won an offensive zone face-off back to Parker Kelly (35) who then one-timed a rolling puck past Nolan Maier to make it 1-0 for Prince Albert just 1:21 into the contest.
Blades veteran defender, Brandon Schuldhaus (8), provided the answer later in the period to tie the game up at 1. Max Gerlach and Gary Haden picked up the helpers on Schuldhaus’ 8th of the season and third goal of the month. The game was tied 1-1 at the first break with the Blades holding an 11-8 edge on the shot clock.
Back-to-back minor penalties to the Raiders at the end of the first period gave the Blades a two-man advantage to start the second period and they wasted no time. Kirby Dach worked the puck from up high, down to Dawson Davidson in the right wing circle. He then ripped a quick backdoor feed to Ryan Hughes (30) who tucked in his 30th goal of the year. Saskatoon grabbed their first lead of the hockey game at 2-1 and it would remain that way after 40 minutes.
Prince Albert leading goal scorer Noah Gregor (41) evened the score just six seconds into a Raider power play in the early goings of the third period. However, the Blades pushed back and less than three minutes later Max Gerlach took the lead back for Saskatoon. The “Texan Sniper” batted his 41st of the season out of mid air after a scramble in front of Raider netminder Ian Scott. Kirby Dach and Ryan Hughes each earned their second points of the night on what was Saskatoon’s second power play goal of the evening.
Saskatoon ended up outshooting Prince Albert 12-9 in the third period and didn’t allow the Raiders to get close in the dying minutes with an extra attacker.
Nolan Maier made 28 saves for his 36th win of the season and was named the third star of the game. Ian Scott turned aside 29 of 32 shots faced.
Max Gerlach: 1 goal, 1 assist, +1, 5 shots, GWG, 1st star
Kirby Dach: 2 assists, 3 shots
Ryan Hughes: 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 shots
Nolan Maier: 28 saves, 3rd star
Dawson Davidson played his 300th career WHL game and extended his personal point streak to 4 games.
Max Gerlach reached the 250 career point milestone thanks to a 2-point night.
Brandon Schuldhaus tied his career high in goals from last season with his 8th.
Ryan Hughes hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career. He had 27 when he was 17.
The Blades wrap up the regular season tomorrow night in Prince Albert against the Raiders. Round one of the 2019 WHL Playoffs begins on Friday, March 22nd, at 7:00pm at SaskTel Centre against the Moose Jaw Warriors. Single game tickets are now on sale.