GAME DAY PREVIEW: Blades begin next chapter of rivalry with Raiders
The Saskatoon Blades travel up the road to Prince Albert tonight to begin an eight game season series with their perennial rivals, the Raiders. Last season the Blades won 5 of 8 games in the season series, and Saskatoon took 2/3 pre-season games this past September against Prince Albert. Both squads missed the playoffs last season meaning the rivalry will begin a new chapter as the Blades and Raiders race to get back into the contender conversation in the heavyweight East Division.
Both teams had a rare Friday off last night and both are coming off games against the Vancouver Giants. The Blades fell 6-3 to the G-men on Wednesday night at SaskTel Centre and the Raiders earned a single point in an 5-4 overtime loss to Vancouver on Tuesday.
Each side is searching for their 4th win of the season, but the Raiders come in with a three point lead on Saskatoon thanks to a 3-4-3-0 record. The Blades have had better luck on the road this season going 2-2 away from SaskTel Centre, and will look to snag win number three on the road in the always hostile Art Hauser Centre.
It’s no secret the Blades’ top line is one to take note of; Braylon Shmyr leads the team with 14 points in 9 games with line mate and fellow overager Cam Hebig right behind at 13 points in 7 outings. 19-year-old winger Brad Goethals has found success posting 5 points in his last four games which have been spent alongside Hebig and Shmyr.
Secondary scoring needs to come through and support the big guns for Saskatoon in order to be successful, and recently it’s been coming from the back end. Veteran defender Libor Hájek already has 6 points in 9 games this season including 3 goals and an assist in his current 4 game point streak. Fellow blue liners Jackson Caller and Seth Bafaro also scored their first career goals last week, meaning nearly 20% of the Blades goals this season have come from the back end.
The bridge city bunch will also need their power play to click in order to find success. Saskatoon didn’t register a power play goal in the first four games of the season, but since then have been steadily clipping along at one per game in the last five.
With both teams coming in well rested and looking to set the tone for the season series, not to mention it being a Saturday night, this one has the ingredients for a vintage rivalry matchup.
Game time is 7:00pm in Prince Albert and fans can tune in on the official voice of the Blades, 92.9 The Bull FM. The pre-game show with Les Lazaruk begins at 6:30pm.
Download & view the full game notes: game notes at PA Oct21