RECAP: Blades open the season with 2-1 win over defending champs

Swift Current, Sask. — Max Gerlach scored twice on Friday night leading the Saskatoon Blades to a 2-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. The Blades will take the two points home to Saskatoon where they will get set to host the Broncos for the Merlin Ford Lincoln Home Opener on Saturday at SaskTel Centre.

It was a typical first game of the season for both sides as the Blades and Broncos kicked off the new WHL season on Friday night in Swift Current. Players on each team appeared to feel things out and shake off the nerves in the early going of the game. The first period ended without a goal and only three minor penalties being called, however not one full two minute power play took place. Saskatoon did manage to get plenty of pucks to the net outshooting the Broncos 12-5 at the first intermission.

Saskatoon started the middle period with a short 33 second power play but failed to capitalize. Finally fans in Swift Current were treated to a goal as Kaden Elder buried a loose puck in front of Nolan Maier to put the Broncos up 1-0. The celebration was short-lived though, as Max Gerlach responded for Saskatoon just 21 seconds later. Kirby Dach picked up the assist on what was Gerlach’s 100th career WHL goal.

The third period began deadlocked at 1-1 with the visiting Blades holding a 10 shot lead at 23-13. Max Gerlach broke the tie with his 2nd goal of the night 3:58 into the third period. Emil Malysjev had the primary assist in his WHL debut while Kirby Dach earned his 2nd point of the night with the second helper.

Gerlach’s early tally in the third period would hold up as the eventual winner as Saskatoon held off a late push from the Broncos to claim the 2-1 victory. The two division rivals will meet again Saturday night at SaskTel Centre for game two of an eight game season series.

Nolan Maier earned his first win of the season between the pipes for Saskatoon making 15 saves in the process. Joel Hofer’s 34 saves at the other end were only good enough for 2nd star honours.

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