Regina, Sask. — Playing their third game in as many nights, the Saskatoon Blades came out on the losing end of a see-saw battle on Saturday in Regina falling 6-5 to the Pats. Saskatoon held a one goal lead heading into the third period, but ran out of steam as the home side score twice to take the lead and eventual victory. The loss leaves the Blades with a 10-7-2-0 record on the season.
The game got off to a good start for the Blades as Max Gerlach found the back of the net just 3:12 into the first period on Saskatoon’s first power play. Kirby Dach and Dawson Davidson added the helpers on Gerlach’s 11th of the season.
Nick Henry answered back for Regina after streaking down the right side and picking the far top corner over the blocker of Nolan Maier to make it a 1-1 hockey game. The Pats scored a controversial goal later in the period to take a 2-1 lead into the first break. During a scramble at the side of the Blades net, Nolan Maier appeared to have the puck frozen on his left pad before being pushed into his own net along with the puck. The goal counted despite the argument from the Blades bench. The Blades did carry the play for the better part of the opening 20 minutes, leading on the shot clock 14-6.
It only took 31 seconds for Regina to score in the second period; another scramble at the side of the Blades goal with Austin Pratt lighting the lamp this time. The goal prompted Saskatoon’s head coach Mitch Love to make a goaltending change inserting Dorrin Luding in relief of Nolan Maier.
The next goal came from former Regina Pat, Tristen Robins. The still 16-year-old winger walked into the high slot from the boards and released a wrist shot past Regina netminder Max Paddock to cut the Pats’ lead to 3-2. Robins, who was acquired from the Pats at last year’s trade deadline, scored his second of the season without any assists.
Again, the Pats would respond. This time captain Jake Leschyshyn beat Dorrin Luding on a power play at the 11:02 mark of the middle stanza. Then the visiting Blades rifled off three straight goals to take a 5-4 lead into the second intermission.
First up was 18-year-old defenseman Seth Bafaro threading a wrist shot through a crowd for his first goal of the season. Bafaro missed the entire month of October due to injury before returning to the lineup on November 1st. Eric Florchuk and Josh Paterson added the helpers on Bafaro’s tally, which extended Paterson’s personal point streak to five games.
Then Eric Florchuk set up Max Gerlach on the power play and the veteran sniper blasted his second of the night to tie the game at 4-4. Kirby Dach had the secondary assist; his second of the game. The goal was Gerlach’s 12th of the season, fourth in two nights, and 198th career point in the league. Less than two minutes after Gerlach’s goal, Kirby Dach set up Chase Wouters for a back door tuck-in to make it 5-4 for Saskatoon. The go-ahead goal was Wouters’ fourth point in his last five games. Dawson Davidson had the secondary helper; his second of the night as well.
Saskatoon carried the momentum into the third period but a tying goal from Regina’s Jake Leschyshyn seemed to slowly turn the tables once again. The Blades began to look as if the grind of playing three games in three nights was starting to set in. An opportunity arose as the Pats were assessed a penalty with 6:14 left on the clock. Instead of retaking the lead, a misplay at the Blades blue line lead to a short-handed breakaway for Regina’s Scott Mahovlich, which then lead to him being held up and being awarded a penalty shot. Thankfully, Dorrin Luding made a big save to keep the game tied.
Shortly afterwards the Blades were given a minor penalty and the Pats didn’t waste their chance. Nick Henry unleashed a heavy shot from the point that found it’s way in to make it 6-5 for Regina. The Pats then stifled the Blades for the remainder of the game, not allowing them to get set up in the offensive zone with an extra attacker.
Saskatoon will now prepare for another weekend set of road games beginning on Friday in Medicine Hat. Next Saturday the Blades will visit the Kootenay ICE in Cranbrook for the first time this season.
The Blades power play had a good evening going 3/5 but the penalty kill wasn’t as successful giving up goals on both of the Pats power plays.
Nolan Maier saw just over 20 minutes of work making 5 saves on 8 shots while his partner Dorrin Luding went 14/17 through two periods.
Kirby Dach had three assists on the night to bring his season total to 32 points; eight of which have come in the last four games. Josh Paterson now has 5 points in his last 5 games thanks to an assist in the contest. And Max Gerlach’s second consecutive two goal game leaves him with 12 on the season.
Next home game for the Blades is scheduled for Tuesday, November 13th, against the Medicine Hat Tigers. Game time is 7:00pm.