When all else fails, turn to…dogs?!
The Blades were hoping to snap a three game losing streak, and they would have some added support – of the four legged variety. The Blades held their second annual Critters Pucks & Paws game, where fans could bring their pet to come support the boys.
The team also had some help on the ice, as three key players all returned from injury. Nik Amundrud, out since Halloween, was back between the pipes, while Ryan Coghlan and Alex Forsberg also returned to the lineup after missing time. The Blades were hoping the three could provide a needed spark on all areas of the ice.
“We came in thinking we’re sick of losing” said Josh Uhrich. “We lost on the Alberta road trip. Our record is poor. We wanted to turn things around, and we wanted to do it now”.
Just three minutes in the Broncos would bite first – Jake DeBrusk would beat Amundrud for the quick lead. Midway through the frame, the Broncos would strike again – Brett Lernout would beat Amundrud, who was seeing his first action in nearly a month.
Just five minutes later, the Broncos lit the lamp again. Lernout would score his second of the game, and coach Bob Woods would decide a change was in order, sending Trevor Martin out to man the net.
“It obviously didn’t work. Nik hadn’t played in awhile, so we just switched things up”.
The goals kept coming, as shortly after that, the captain Brett Stovin would go backhand and score a beauty, cutting the lead to 3-2.
“That had a lot to do with the guys being back” said the captain. “Forsberg, Cogs, those guys played great, opened up scoring opportunities for us”.
The Blades would keep things going in the second. Just thirty seconds in, Uhrich would beat Landon Bow to knot the score up at threes. However, the Broncos would take their lead back just minutes later, when Glenn Gawdin would score a power play goal with Nick Zajac in the box.
With just one minute left in the second, Brett Lernout would hit the score sheet again, completing the hat trick with his third goal of the game, and making it 5-3 for the Broncos.
In the third, Josh Uhrich would do exactly what he did in the second – score thirty seconds in. Uhrich picked up a rebound and beat Bow to make it 5-4. The Broncos would strike back though – Andreas Schumacher would beat Martin to run the lead to 6-4.
Things would get a little strange after that – ice problems behind the Blades net would cause a near 20 minute delay as crews worked to repair the ice. When play resumed, the Blades would once again make things interesting, as Sam McKechnie would score to cut the lead to one. Just thirty seconds later, the Blades would come all the way back, when Austin Adamson would score to tie it up.
“Its fun playing in those back and forth games” added Stovin. “First we were down, than we’re tied, than we’re down again. How many times did we come back, three, four?”
The wild back-and-forth action would continue, as shortly after the Blades tied it up, Shumacher would score his second, and the Broncos would once again be up 7-6.
Believe it or not, it wasn’t over. Rookie Nikita Soshnin, who Woods specifically mentioned as a player who would benefit from more ice time after the Cory Millette trade, would score his first ever WHL goal with just two minutes left, knotting the score at 7-7.
“It was good that Sush got his first goal” said the Coach after the game. “That was a big positive. We didn’t think we would score seven goals, that was a positive too. We did some things good tonight”.
Things would go to overtime, where Coda Gordon would break the Blades hearts, scoring his 13th of the year, but most importantly, the 8th and final goal of the game. The Broncos would win a wild one, 8-7. Uhrich said it was one of the most heartbreaking games he’s ever played in.
“It was wild. Back and forth. We came in saying we wanted a win, and we almost got it. We’ve had problems this year where we didn’t show enough heart, where we didn’t give full effort all game. Tonight we did, so we can take that positive out of it. A tough loss for sure, but we played well”.
The Blades get a few days off, before they head to Brandon for a game on the 25th. They’ll than head home to host Moose Jaw the next night.