The Saskatoon Blades were still searching for the first win of their BC road-trip as they reached the midway point – the third of five games, this time in Victoria against the Royals. After giving up nine goals and almost 100 shots the previous two games, the Blades were looking to clamp down defensively – and blue-liner Ryan Coghlan, who hails from nearby Nanaimo, was ready for the challenge.
“I’m very excited. It’s always awesome to be playing at home, in front of family and friends, with extra support. Although first and foremost, I’m here to play hockey, and I want to win”.
Just three minutes in, Coghlan would show he was indeed ready, as he would power his way to the front of the net and beat Coleman Vollrath to make it 1-0 for the Blades. It would stay that way through the end of the period, as both goaltenders would turn away shot after shot.
Four minutes into the second, the Royals would tie things up, when Axel Blomqvist would beat Trevor Martin from in close. The Blades would come right back though, as Alex Forsberg would be on the doorstep to knock in a Nikita Soshnin rebound for his 11th of the year, making it 2-1 for the Blades.
Things would stay that way until late in the frame, when Victoria would once again tie things up – this time it would be Joe Hicketts that would beat Martin, making it a 2-2 game.
With just one minute left in the second, things would look bleak for the Blades, as Isaac Schacher would be sent to the penalty box. However, Brett Stovin would take a nice pass from Nick Zajac and beat Vollrath shorthanded to once again give the Blades a one goal lead.
That penalty from the previous period would prove to be costly however, as Blomqvist would score his second of the game on the still-going power play, beating Martin just thirty seconds into the third period to once again tie it up.
The penalties would continue to haunt the Blades – two minutes later, with Alex Forsberg in the box for charging, Chaz Redekopp would score his first of the year, giving the Royals another power-play goal and their first lead of the game.
“Yeah, those penalties are tough, and we keep shooting ourselves in the foot with them”, said Nick Zajac after the game. “Coach Woods tells us what to do, and unfortunately, we don’t seem to be listening, we keep taking bad penalties, and it’s hurting us big time”.
Late in the frame, Blomqvist would seal the deal for the Royals, burying his third of the game and completing the hat trick, making it 5-3. With the Blades’ net empty, Victoria would add one more, making the score 6-3, which is how it would finish.
“I guess it is tough to keep a positive attitude”, added Zajac, when asked about the team’s 0-3 start to their BC trip. “It’s one of those ones where we need to think about it for a bit, watch the film and get ready for Vancouver, because they’re a good team and we need to be ready for them”.
The Blades play their fourth of five games when they take on the Vancouver Giants on Saturday.