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Gerlach’s heroics lead Blades to overtime victory over Rebels

Steve Hiscock

Saskatoon, Sask. — Max Gerlach scored all three goals for Saskatoon including the overtime winner to lead the Blades to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Red Deer Rebels Friday night at SaskTel Centre. It was the fourth straight win for the Blades who are now 7-2-0-0 on the season.

Red Deer silenced the crowd as Oleg Zaytsev opened the scoring less than a minute into the game. The rookie import forward from Russia received a pass from Jeff deWit who was behind the Blades goal and then used his momentum to reach around Nolan Maier and tuck in his 4th goal of the season to make it 1-0 Rebels.

Max Gerlach evened the scored on a 5-on-3 power play in the second period with a one-timer for his 5th goal of the season. Kirby Dach extended his point streak to five games with the primary assist while Eric Florchuk added the second helper. Red Deer answered back with a power play marker of their own just minutes later. Jeff deWit redirected a point shot from Alex Alexeyev; his third goal of the season against Saskatoon. Crazy enough, all three have been tip-in goals and not a shot. Nonetheless the Blades found themselves trailing in the game again.

It wasn’t until the dying seconds in the 3rd period with the net empty that the Blades were able to beat Red Deer’s Ethan Anders. Almost a carbon copy of the first goal, Kirby Dach set up Max Gerlach for a one-timer from the left wing circle and the 20-year-old Texan made no mistake blasting his second of the game. Dawson Davidson had the secondary assist continuing his prolific start to the season.

Then in the overtime period both teams exchanged chances before Max Gerlach found the puck on his stick within striking distance. Josh Paterson took an outlet pass from Dawson Davidson, entered the Red Deer zone, then dropped the puck off for Gerlach who saw an opportunity and pulled the trigger with a quick wrist shot over the glove of Ethan Anders to complete the hat-trick and win the game for Saskatoon. Gerlach’s goal was his 7th of the season and third of the night. Davidson’s assist on the play extended his point streak to 6 games which includes 1 goal and 10 helpers.

Nolan Maier picked up his 6th win of the season between the pipes thanks to a 23 saves performance. Maier also kept his team in the game with a huge save on an Alex Morozoff penalty shot late in the 3rd period. His counterpart at the other end, Ethan Anders, has a slight busier night facing 37 shots and stopping 34.

Both penalty killing units outmatched the power plays in the contest as the Blades went 1/6 on the man advantage with Red Deer striking just once on five chances.

The Blades will not sit idle on Saturday as the await the arrival of the Prince Albert Raiders on Sunday for an afternoon tilt at SaskTel Centre. The Blades and Raiders will face-off at 2:00pm on Sunday. Prince Albert will play host to Red Deer on Saturday night.

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