GAME DAY PREVIEW: Blades Open Roadie in Cranbrook
Tonight… The Saskatoon Blades open up a 3 game in 3 night road trip in Cranbrook against the Kootenay ICE.The Blades have points in their last 4 games (3-0-0-1) and remain 3 points ahead of the Calgary Hitmen for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The ICE are far from a playoff spot sitting in the bottom of the league standings. Despite being winless in their last 7 outings, Kootenay has points in 2 of their last 3 (0-0-1-1). This is the 3rd meeting of the season between the Blades and ICE; Saskatoon has won both previous games 3-2, lastly on Nov. 5th in Saskatoon.
The Last Game… Kirby Dach scored the lone goal for Saskatoon – his 3rd of the season – as they Blades fell 2-1 to the Everett Silvertips in Saskatoon on Wednesday. The Blades are 5-4-0-1 in their last 10.
Payton Lee made 30 saves in a 3-2 OT loss for the ICE on Wednesday in Edmonton, Kootenay is 1-8-1-1 in the last 10.
Back in Blue… ’97 F Mason McCarty returned to the Blades lineup last weekend after missing 27 games with a lower body injury. McCarty, who was the Blades leading scorer when he went down with injury, has provided a boost to the injury riddled Blades, posting 1 goal, 1 assist, 4 penalty minutes and a +5 rating in 3 games since coming back. McCarty now has 25 points including 15 goals in 29 games this season. ’96 F Markson Bechtold returned to action on Wednesday after missing 18 games due to injury.
Dach this way… Highly touted prospect, Kirby Dach, was called up to the Saskatoon Blades last week on an emergency basis to join the club full time for the rest of the season. The 2016 2nd overall bantam pick scored twice last Friday against Moose Jaw, including the game winner, and again on Wednesday vs Everett. Dach now has 3 goals and 1 assist in 7 career WHL games.
Back on the bus… After a favourable stretch in the schedule which saw the Blades play 13/14 games at home going 8-5-0-1, Saskatoon is back to the grind once again. This weekend the Blades play 3 games in 3 nights: Tonight @ Kootenay, Saturday @ Lethbridge, Sunday @ Calgary. Saskatoon has wins in each trip visit to Kootenay and Lethbridge this season, and have yet to play in Calgary.
Bryton up… ’96 D Bryton Sayers leads by example on and off the ice for the Blades, and has been leading on the scoresheet in a recent stretch. Over the last 13 games, Sayers has 11 points, and leads the Blades in assists with 23.
Draft Watch… ’99 F Josh Paterson was listed at 163rd in the NHL Central Scouting Midterm rankings… ’99 D Mark Rubinchik was ranked 119. Paterson scored his 12th goal of the season last weekend, giving the Edmonton product 30 points (13G-17A) and is one of only 3 Blades to have played in all 56 games this season. Rubinchik had 2 assists last weekend, totaling 18 points in 47 games this season.
Shynkaruk Shining… ’96 F Jesse Shynkaruk continues to win fans over after once again leading the Blades to victory last weekend in overtime scoring his 26th goal of the season. Shynkaruk has 40 points in 41 games this season, and leads the team with 8 game winners.
This Date in Blades History… February 17, 1974…the Blades and Winnipeg Clubs played to a 5-5 tie at the Saskatoon Arena. That’s not all that significant except the same teams played to a 5-5 draw at the Saskatoon Arena two nights earlier on February 15, 1974. The Blades finished the 1973-74 campaign with nine ties…in addition to 30 wins and 29 losses, finishing fourth in the Western Canada Hockey League’s East Division before losing a best-of-seven quarter-final to the Regina Pats in six games.
On call… The injuries continue to pile up for the Blades, prompting another call up. ’00 F Tyler Lees has joined the Blades for the weekend trip. Lees currently sits 10th in league scoring in the SMAAAHL with 42 points in 41 games this season.
97 F Cam Hebig – upper body – indefinitely
97 F Braylon Shmyr – upper body – day-to-day
00 F Chase Wouters – upper body – week-to-week
98 F Caleb Fantillo – upper body – day-to-day
99 F Lukus MacKenzie – upper body – week-to-week
99 D Jake Kustra – upper body – week-to-week
Download & view the full game notes: Game Notes at KTN Feb17:17