RECAP: Blades edge Raiders in Sunday matinee
Saskatoon, SK – In game number two of the season series between one of the oldest rivals in the Western Hockey League, the Saskatoon Blades edged out their foes from the north skating to a 3-2 final Sunday afternoon at SaskTel Centre. The win puts the Blades at 12-16-2-1 on the season and now just 4 point behind the Raiders for the final playoff spot in the East.
The Blades opened the scoring 4:58 into the match coming off the end of Cameron Hebig‘s stick. Josh Paterson got the puck in deep along the left wing to Braylon Shmyr who then flicked it laterally across the blue paint where Hebig was able to chip in his 24th goal of the season and give Saskatoon the lead.
Hebig’s ‘Teddy Bear Toss’ goal would be the only of the opening period as the Blades went into the first intermission leading on the score board 1-0. Meanwhile, the Raiders held the lead in the shot count at the first break, 10-6, with Nolan Maier holding down the fort in net for Saskatoon by making several highlight-reel saves.
The Blades’ headed to the penalty kill early in the second period and the Raiders took advantage of the opportunity to level the score with Jordy Stallard’s snipe passing a screen and then bouncing in off the left-corner of the post at 3:48.
After intercepting a Raider’s pass deep in the Blades’ defensive zone, Libor Hájek transitioned to offence with haste and set up Bradly Goethals on a breakaway with an outlet pass that split the middle of Prince Albert’s defence. Goethals deked forehand-backhand and released but it was saved by Raiders’ net minder Ian Scott with his right pad. As Goethals pulled away to avoid hitting Scott, he managed to get a slight tip on his own rebound which just got the puck over the goal line.
Prince Albert tied up the game again at 13:01 of the second period. Curtis Miske banged home a loose puck from close range when the Raiders’ sprung it loose from underneath Maier’s pads. The second period of play finished with the scores level and the visitors leading the Blades’ 23-17 in the shot count.
ZAWATSKY!!! Bardownskis and it's 3-2 Blades!
— Saskatoon Blades (@BladesHockey) December 10, 2017
Alec Zawatsky sniped in the Blades’ third goal of the afternoon, his third of the season, 5:04 into the third period. Zawatsky’s shot bested Scott on his glove side, flying in the top right corner of the net. He was set up by blueliners Seth Bafaro and Jackson Caller.
Saskatoon’s penalty kill unit shut down the Raiders on an extended 5-on-3 in the final frame to preserve the lead and eventually the win.
Nolan Maier was outstanding in goal for Saskatoon, making 34 saves on 36 shots to earn himself his 2nd career 1st star honour. Max Martin of the Raiders was named the game’s 2nd star with an assist and 5 shots on goal, and Alec Zawatsky’s game winner rounded out the trio of 3 stars for the night.
Saskatoon will now look ahead to Tuesday night when they play host to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.