The Saskatoon Blades are looking to rest and recharge over the holiday break as they finished off their first part of the season on Tuesday night. The Blades entered the break with a 7-1 loss to the Kelowna Rockets.
The Blades and Rockets got underway in the first period with Kelowna striking for the first real good chance in the game. The opportunity came with 3:55 gone as a high shot from the boards from Carter Rigby was stopped by Blades goalie Alex Moodie’s left hand before the puck went up in the air and landed behind Moodie before just trickling wide. Saskatoon countered with their own chance on the PP minutes later when a Ryan Coghlan point blast was turned aside by Rockets starter Jackson Whistle. After a few more chances for either team the Rockets were first to strike. The opening goal came at 9:01 when Rourke Chartier fed Carter Rigby in the slot and he one-timed home the puck to make it 1-0. But, the Blades were quick to respond. At 14:30 some pressure on the forecheck led to a turnover by Whistle, with Chase Clayton stealing the puck and sliding it home to make it 1-1 with his 3rd of the season. But, the penalty wouldn’t end on a good note for the Blades. A double-minor for high sticking sent Graham Millar to the box and the Rockets made the chance count. With 27.9 seconds to play in the frame, Tyson Baillie fired and scored from the slot to make it 2-1. Then Chartier scored his 7th of the year only 17 seconds later to make it 3-1 through 20 minutes for Kelowna. Shots favoured the Rockets 19-8 in the first.
The Rockets extended the lead to start the second period as Zach Franko had his shot deflect off Ryan Coghlan on the rush and bounce past Moodie at 4:31 to make it 4-1. The lone assist on the play went to Ryan Olsen as the former Blade made his return to Saskatoon since being dealt prior to the 2012-13 season. Less than 5 minutes later the Rockets extended the lead again, this time on the PP as Mitch Wheaton pinched in off the point and chipped the puck past Moodie to make it 5-1. Saskatoon came close to cutting into that lead only seconds later when Cory Millette fed Nick Gomerich, only to be denied on the hard one-timer from the slot as Whistle slid to his right and made the big pad stop. Whistle was also key late in the frame, stalling the Blades attempt on a 5 on 3 PP and later robbing Nathan Burns and Chase Clayton off the rush to keep it at a 5-1 game through 40 minutes. The Rockets looked to keep their 11 game winning streak alive, outshooting the Blades 37-20 through two periods.
The Rockets continued the pressure to start the final frame of their 6-game prairie road swing. After a big diving save by Alex Moodie, the puck was eventually worked back to Myles Bell. The former Regina Pats defenceman-turned-forward wired home the one-timer to make it 6-1. A goal from Rigby only 18 seconds later, his 6th of the season, extended the game to 7-1 in favour of the visitors. A Saskatoon powerplay minutes later generating a pair of shots, including a high hard one from Nikita Scherbak, but Whistle continued to have the answers in the Rockets cage. He made a few more big saves late, keeping Saskatoon off the board as he made 27 saves as the Rockets walked away with a 7-1 victory, pushing their win streak to 12 games and moving the Blades losing streak to 11. The Blades ended up going 0 for 6 on the PP in the game, while surrendering a pair of PP goals. Shots were 51-28 in favour of Kelowna as Chartier, Wheaton and Rigby were first, second and third stars respectively.
The Blades next action isn’t until December 27th as they travel to meet the Prince Albert Raiders following the WHL’s holiday break. The Blades are then at home to those same Raiders the next night, on December 28th. You can go ahead and find your tickets for the game right here.