The Saskatoon Blades emptied the tank on Tuesday night giving the Regina Pats all they had in a 5-4 losing effort. The loss delivered a solid blow to Saskatoon’s playoff hopes, but there still is a possibility of squeezing in. The Blades remain 3 points behind the Calgary Hitmen, Saskatoon having two games left and Calgary having three. The Blades need to win both games, and hope the Hitmen lose three straight, or at the very least earn only one point to set up a tie-breaker game.
Caleb Fantillo opened the scoring for Saskatoon after a strong forecheck led to a turnover in the Regina zone. Fantillo found himself a clear path to the net and made no mistake going high glove over Pats net minder, Tyler Brown. Regina would respond shortly after as Nick Henry potted his 34th of the season on Regina’s first opportunity on the power play. Later in the period, the Blades scored twice 28 seconds apart to jump out in front 3-1. First Caleb Fantillo set up Dryden Michaud in the slot who one-timed his first career WHL goal, then Josh Paterson used his hand-eye skills to bat in a rebound from mid-air for his 16th of the season. The two goal lead held up after 20 minutes, with Saskatoon leading 14-11 on the shot clock.
In the middle frame, the Pats proved their worth scoring 3 unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead into the 2nd intermission. Sam Steel notched his 49th, while Jeff de Wit and Josh Mahura also tallied, all coming at even strength.
The third period didn’t see any scoring until 4:38 was left in the game. Connor Hobbs blasted point shot through traffic on the power play to put Regina in front 5-3. It was the defensemen’s 29th goal of the year. In the final minutes with the net empty, Michael Farren cut the Pats lead to one tapping in a back door pass for his 7th of the season. But it was too little too late for the Blades, and Regina would hang on for the 5-4 victory and clinch 1st overall in the regular season to earn the annual Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy.
Logan Flodell made 30 saves in his hometown while Tyler Brown stopped 22/26 shots faced to earn the win. Saskatoon’s power play wasn’t overly successful going just 1/7 on the night, Regina was 2/7.
The Blades are back in action on Friday at home playing host to the Prince Albert Raiders for Fan Appreciation Night.