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RECAP: Blades flip the script and complete 3rd period comeback over Raiders

Saskatoon, SK – The Saskatoon Blades fought back in the 3rd period to erase a 1 goal deficit and defeat the Prince Albert Raiders 6-3 at SaskTel Centre on Saturday night. The Raiders have now lost 14 straight games at SaskTel Centre and have been bumped out of the final playoff spot in the East. The Blades leap frogged ahead of Prince Albert, now sitting at 57 points; 2 ahead of the Raiders.

The Highway-11 rivalry was alive and well and most certainly on display during the first period of the evening, as the Blades and Raiders took turns scoring and exchanged 23 minutes worth of penalties before the first break.

Saskatoon jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 12:16 when Eric Florchuk and Kirby Dach won the puck down low and played it backwards up the left wing to Michael Farren. With the puck, Farren cut away from the left wing and found himself with time and space right in the slot. Recognizing his opportunity, he sniped in his 7th goal of the season past Ian Scott to open the scoring.

The celebrations were short-lived for the Blades, with the Raiders responding through a Parker Kelly goal less than a minute later, tying the game up 1-1.

A penalty to the Raiders in the final quarter of the first period allowed Saskatoon to reclaim the lead, going up 2-1 at the first break. Syncing up on the power play were Chase Wouters and Braylon Shmyr. Wouters snuck over the blue-line and pulled up to a stop, splitting two Raider defenders by subtly giving the puck to Shmyr. Shmyr then drove hard down the right wing and drew the attention of the last man back for Prince Albert. Finally, Shmyr then passed the puck across the slot for Josh Paterson who buried his 26th of the season to make it 2-1 for the Blades.

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A scary moment took place late in the period as Parker Kelly laid a check on Kirby Dach from behind, sending the Blades rookie into the corner boards awkwardly. Dach immediately looked to be in some discomfort and teammate Mark Rubinchik came to his aid, starting a melee in the corner. The result was a spirited bout between Rubinchik and Cody McDonald of the Raiders; each were given 5 minutes for fighting while Parker Kelly was assessed a 5-minute checking from behind major penalty and game misconduct.

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The Blades failed to capitalize on the extended man advantage which carried over into the second period. Instead, the Raiders scored the only two goals in the middle frame; both coming from Prince Albert’s leading scorer, Jordy Stallard. The Raiders clearly held the momentum at the second intermission and carried it over into the final period.

That changed however, when Logan Christensen sniped a sharp angle shot short-side over the shoulder of Ian Scott to tie the game at 3-3 midway through the stanza. Then Brad Goethals unloaded a canon less than a minute later to put the Blades ahead 4-3. The Raiders appeared stunned.

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Still with momentum on their side, Braylon Shmyr got in on the action to increase the lead to 5-3. Alone in the slot, Shmyr was set up by Max Gerlach before one-timing a shot over the glove of Scott, off the inside bar, and quickly out of the net. So quick did the puck fly out of the net, the referee initially waved off the goal thinking it hit the outside cross-bar. Though, after a quick review the good goal was signalled.

Prince Albert attempted to get back in the game by pulling their goalie but that only resulted in an empty net goal from Brad Goethals to seal the Saskatoon victory.

The Blades improve their record to 27-26-2-1 on the year and move 2 points ahead of the Raiders in the standings for the final playoff spot in the East.

Logan Christensen – who’s been having a good week with 5 points in his last 4 games- earned 1st star honours with a goal and an assist. Eric Florchuk had 2 helpers for the game’s 2nd star while Prince Albert’s Jordy Stallard was named the game’s 3rd star thanks to his 2 goal night.

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Nolan Maier made 29 saves for his 18th win of the season. The Blades went 1/3 on the man advantage and 4/5 on the penalty kill.

Next up for the Bridge City Bunch is the Memorial Cup host Regina Pats on Sunday afternoon at SaskTel Centre; game time is 4:00pm.

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