Saskatoon, SK – The Saskatoon Blades burst out of the gates Saturday night, slicing through the Red Deer Rebels en route to a 4-2 victory. The win puts Saskatoon at 21-26-5-1 on the season, leap frogging ahead of the Calgary Hitmen back into the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Blades top line went to work early as Jesse Shynkaruk scored twice (23rd, 24th) and assisted on Braylon Shmyr’s 27th of the season to put Saskatoon in front 3-0 midway through the first period. Red Deer did manage to respond with a power play goal of their own from Michael Spacek to make it 3-1 after 20 minutes.
Neither team scored in the second period, but there was no shortage of action. Lukus MacKenzie and Evan Polei dropped the gloves for a spirited bout at centre ice. Both combatants landed a few punches before being separated by the officials.
In the final frame former Blade, Cameron Hausinger, finished a questionable hit on Blades d-man Jake Kustra on the end boards. Kustra’s head was driven into the boards and he didn’t move after hitting the ice. Blades athletic therapist rushed to Kustra’s aid and quickly signalled for a doctor. Hausinger was assessed a 5 minute major and game misconduct for checking to the head. Red Deer Rebels Head Coach and General Manager, Brent Sutter, was not pleased with the call and opted to take his
frustration out on the Blades bench while Kustra was being helped onto a stretcher.
Play resumed after a lengthy delay and the Rebels forced a short-handed 2-on-1 resulting in a goal from Evan Polei. Minutes later Chase Wouters found Gage Ramsay in the slot for his 7th of the season to regain the 2 goal cushion for Saskatoon. The score would hold up, but there was another unsettling moment for Blades fans as Braylon Shmyr was hit hard at centre ice and needed attention before being helped off the ice.
Logan Flodell made 22 saves in the win while the Blades special teams went 2/4 on the power play and 6/6 on the penalty kill. Jesse Shynkaruk (2G-1A), Chase Wouters(2A), Mark Rubinchik(2A), and Braylon Shmyr(1G-1A) all enjoyed a multi-point night and Gage Ramsay was named 1st star of the game.
Thanks to the Victoria Royals defeating the Calgary Hitmen 4-1 Saturday night, the Blades now occupy the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with three more games on home ice. Next action for the Blades is Friday February 10th versus the Moose Jaw Warriors.