Going in, it had the makings for a huge game – the always intense Saskatoon/Regina rivalry, ugly christmas sweaters, and toque toss night…not to mention the Blades riding a nine game losing streak that they were aiming to snap.
Just three minutes in, the toques and teddy bears would hit the ice, as the Captain Brett Stovin would slip one past Daniel Wapple, making it 1-0 for Saskatoon, causing fans to litter the ice with the toques and teddies that will go to those in need this Christmas.
“It felt good to get the big goal”, said Stovin. “Nice to see all those toques and bears that will go to a good cause”.
Midway through the frame, Regina would get even. With Luke Gingras in the box, Connor Gay would one-time one past Trevor Martin to make it a 1-1 game. The score wouldn’t last long, as just a minute later, Rykr Cole would fire one on net, and it would trickle through, giving Regina a 2-1 lead, which is how it would stand heading into the second.
The Blades were looking to turn things around in the second frame, and with Regina taking an early penalty, things would look good. Unfortunately, a defensive turnover would lead to a shorthanded goal for the Pats, scored by Sam Steel. The Blades wouldn’t stay down for long though, as just thirty seconds later Ryan Graham would strike on the still ongoing power play, cutting Regina’s lead to one, making it 3-2.
Later in the frame, the Blades would come back to tie it – this time it would be Luke Gingras who would beat Wapple for his first ever WHL goal, tying it up at 3-3, which is how it would stay going into the third.
“You know, it felt amazing to score the first”, said Gingras after the game. “To tie it up with my first ever Dub goal, man, it means a lot, I won’t forget it”.
With the home crowd rocking, the Blades would start quickly in the final frame, as just 20 seconds in, Cameron Hebig would wire one in, and the Blades would grab a 4-3 lead.
Unfortunately for the boys in blue, the lead would again be short lived, as Chase Harrison would slide one past Martin, tying things up at 4.
“That’s way too many times in the past ten games that’s happened”, added Stovin after the game. “We let up in the third for whatever reason, hang our goalies out to dry, and we just have to stop doing that”.
As has happened so many times in the past, the final minute would prove to be the Blades undoing. With just three seconds left in the third, and overtime looking like a certainty, Braden Christoffer would put one past Martin, sealing a 5-4 victory for Regina, and once again breaking the Blades hearts.
“It’s just…I don’t even know anymore”, said a frustrated Captain after the loss. “It’s heartbreaking, I’m sick of it. Our top guys, we need to step up, that’s obvious. We just need to get one win, turn this around, stay positive”.
Stovin says they may hold another players-only meeting to try figure out how to right the ship.
“Just take the things we’re doing right, and try to keep doing them. Stay positive, come up with a game plan, and turn it around”.
The Blades will have a few days off, before travelling to Swift Current for the final game before the Christmas break, Wednesday December 17th.