To say the Blades were kicking off the second half of their season with a big game would be an understatement. The boys in blue were in PA to take on their bitter rival, the Prince Albert Raiders. They were also looking to snap an 11 game losing streak which ran back into November. Finally, they were welcoming back talented youngster Wyatt Sloboshan, out over a month with an upper body injury.
Things would start well for the Blades, as just five minutes in, Sam McKechnie would finish off some great passing from Alex Forsberg, slipping one past Rylan Parenteau, making it 1-0 for Saskatoon.
Just three minutes later, the Blades would add a second, again from McKechnie, who would be sent in all alone on a breakaway and would snipe one top corner to make it 2-0.
The score would stay that way until the end of the frame, when McKechnie was sent off for hooking. On the ensuing poweplay, Reid Gardiner would fire a one-timer past Trevor Martin, and the Blades lead would be trimmed to one.
Midway through the second frame, the penalties would continue to haunt the Blades – this time, Jordan Tkatch would fire one past Martin on the powerplay, and it would be tied up at 2-2.
Things wouldn’t stay that way for long, as it would be a new face giving the Blades their lead back. In only his second game with Saskatoon, Mason McCarty would beat Parenteau, making it 3-2 for Saskatoon.
In the third period, the penalty box would once again prove to be the Blades undoing – with Cameron Hebig in the sin bin, Jayden Hart would beat Martin for the powerplay goal – the Raiders third such goal of the game, tying it up.
“Sometimes we have problems with those penalties”, said Head Coach Bob Woods. “Thankfully they didn’t come back to bite us in the end”.
The Blades would continue to battle though, as just minutes later, Nikita Soshnin would take a feed from Sam McKechnie and beat Parenteau, giving McKechnie his third point of the game, and the Blades a 4-3 lead.
“It was a big game for sure”, said McKechnie. “My line mates played great, Soshnin, he was awesome”.
With the Raiders net empty, the Blades would seal things – Ryan Graham would hit the empty cage to make it 5-3. Seconds later, Graham would hit the empty net again, and the Blades would be up 6-3, which is how it would end, snapping the 11 game losing streak and starting the second half off in style.
“It feels great to get a big win”, said Woods after the game. “We worked hard during the losing streak, and finally we clicked, we got a big one we needed, and we’re ready to turn things around”.
“We look at it as a second season now”, added McKechnie. “We aren’t out of it, we will keep battling, hopefully make the playoffs.
The Blades will have a quick turnaround, as they’ll host PA at 2pm on Sunday.