The Saskatoon Blades dropped a 5-0 decision to the Swift Current Broncos on Friday night. Special teams and former Blades were the storyline in the game as the Broncos went 2 for 8 on the powerplay and got two points each from Nathan Burns and Brett Lernout to help seal the win.
The Broncos didn’t take long to get involved in the game, with a pair of former players from each side getting in on the act. With former Bronco Connor Sanvido in the penalty box for Saskatoon, new Bronco and former Blade Nathan Burns netted the game’s opening goal only 1:30 in. The goal came off a point shot that hit the glass and bounced in front, with Burns standing on the doorstep to score his first goal with Swift Current. The primary assist on the goal also went to a former Blade as Brett Lernout had unleashed the shot and Coda Gordon grabbed the second assist. The Broncos didn’t waste much time doubling that lead just under 4 minutes later. This time it was Lernout doing the damage himself as his PP point shot beat Blades goalie Troy Trombley clean through the screen to make it 1-0. The Blades tried to push back with an Ayrton Nikkel point shot leading to a rebound chance for Cory Millette at the 7 minute mark, but he failed to corral the biscuit in front. The shots were 10-2 at the media timeout in favour of Swift Current, who continued to go back and forth with the Blades. Saskatoon generated a pair of chances as the frame wound down including a pass from Nikita Scherbak to Sanvido, with his shot stopped by the stomach of Eetu Laurikainen. Brett Stovin also had a good look turned aside late in the frame as he cut to the slot on the rush. Through 20 minutes the Broncos held a 2-0 advantage off a pair of powerplay goals. Shots were 13-6 for Swift Current in the period.
The Blades penalty kill and Troy Trombley were the stories to start the middle stanza. Trombley made a number of key stops in the first 7 minutes of the frame, many while the Blades were shorthanded as part of a stretch of taking 6 consecutive minor penalties compared to zero for the Broncos. Included in the saves were a trio of stops off of Graham Black as he was robbed point blank twice and by the glove on a separate stop early in the frame. But the stops only lasted so long as the Broncos finally broke through. 10:02 into the period Brycen Martin took a feed on the rush from Jay Merkley, as the big defenceman’s shot from the slot beat Trombley to extend the Bronco lead to 3-0. Saskatoon finally generated a PP chance shortly after the 3-0 goal and had a decent amount of puck possession during the advantage, but failed to create a top notch scoring chance. Then minutes later the Blades got their best chance of the game and it was fitting that it came shorthanded. A long flip pass landed right in front of Sanvido at the offensive blueline as he won the race for the biscuit but just fired it high on his chance. In the final minute he got another great look after a feed from Scherbak, but the shot from the slot was turned aside by Laurikainen as the Finnish goalie kept it as a 3-0 game through 40 minutes.
The Broncos kept the pressure on to start the final period and also made their chances count. Coda Gordon fed Glenn Gawdin on the 3 on 2 rush at 4:16, with his shot beating Trombley high on the glove side to make it 4-0. That lead was stretch to 5-0 less than a minute later as Jay Merkley tallied on the wraparound. The Blades were looking for life and defenceman Ayrton Nikkel tried to give it to the guys on the bench with 11:43 to play, as he took on a tough customer in Tanner LeSann. The two stood toe-to-toe at the Broncos blueline and threw a number of big punches, with the scrap ending in a draw. Minutes later the game had it’s second scrap as Nick Zajac and Dakota Odgers dropped the mitts. The pair also displayed great energy, throwing a number of punches. Then with 4:14 to play the Blades had possibly their best chance of the game. Cameron Hebig fed Dylan Busenius at the point with his hard point shot trickling through Laurikainen before just being pulled off the line by Burns to keep it 5-0. That would be as close as the Blades would get as the final was 5-0 in favour of the Broncos.
Special teams was huge in the game as the Broncos were 2 for 8 on the PP, the Blades went 0 for 3. The two former Blades were also a massive storyline in the game as both Burns and Lernout had a goal and an assist while Black and Gordon each had 3 assists.
The Blades are back on home ice tomorrow to meet the Regina Pats. You can find tickets for that game by clicking here.