GAME DAY PREVIEW: Blades ready to renew rivalry with Raiders in must win scenario
It’s the Saskatoon Blades annual Fan Appreciation Night presented by Merlin Ford Lincoln at SaskTel Centre! The 50/50 starts at $50,000, prizes given away EVERY whistle, a chance to win a 2017 Ford Focus from Merlin Ford Lincoln, and we will also be presenting out 2016-17 regular season player awards prior to puck drop. Doors open at 5:30pm to accommodate the large crowd… the lower bowl is already SOLD OUT!
Tonight… The Saskatoon Blades are fighting for their lives in the playoff race, playing host to their arch rivals, the Prince Albert Raiders. This is the 7th of 8 meetings between the Blades & Raiders this season, and game 1 of a home & home series to close out the regular season.
So you’re saying there’s a chance… The Blades head into tonight’s contest 3 points behind Calgary for the final playoff spot in the East, making tonight a MUST win. The Hitmen also play tonight in Cranbrook, game 1 of their home & series against the Kootenay ICE.
- Blades win twice this weekend, Calgary loses twice = Blades face Regina in 1st
- Blades win twice, Calgary earns 1 point = Saskatoon hosts tie-breaker game on Tuesday
- Blades earn 3 points, Calgary loses twice = Calgary hosts tie-breaker game on Tuesday
- Blades lose in regulation or Calgary wins = Calgary faces Regina in 1st round
The Last Game… Caleb Fantillo had a goal & an assist in a 5-4 loss to the Regina Pats on Tuesday. Josh Paterson (16th), Michael Farren (7th), and Dryden Michaud (1st) also scored for Saskatoon, while Logan Flodell stopped 30/35 shots faced.
Prince Albert is coming off a 3-2 OT win over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Tuesday night.
Head to head… The Blades have won 4/6 games this season vs the Raiders, but dropped the last game 4-2 in Prince Albert back on February 25th. Saskatoon has dominated the Raiders this season on special teams; 25% success on the power play and 3/27 on the PK. Braylon Shmyr (6G) and Josh Paterson (4G) lead the offense vs Prince Albert while Logan Flodell has given up just 9 goals in 5 starts vs the Raiders, shutting them out twice.
Streaking… ’97 F Braylon Shmyr extended his point streak to 7 games on Tuesday. In his last 7 outings, Shmyr has 11 points (5G-6A). The 19 year old missed 6 games in February due to injury, but has only been held off the scoresheet once in his last 13 contests dating back to January 30th.
The Raider Degrader… Saskatoon will need ’97 G Logan Flodell to continue his stellar play against Prince Albert tonight. The Blades netminder has started 5 of 6 games vs Prince Albert this season, posting 3 wins, a 1.82GAA, .937SV%, and 2 shutouts.
Draft Watch… ’99 F Josh Paterson has 36 points (16G-20A) and is one of only 3 Blades to have played in all 70 games this season. ’99 F Logan Christensen has 11 goals and 15 helpers this season and has played in all 70 games. At just 17, Christensen is a valuable young pivot capable of playing in all scenarios. ’99 D Mark Rubinchik is known for his punishing physical play, and chipping in offensively with 21 points and 52 PIM’s in 61 games this season.
This Date in Blades History: March 17, 1984…Like father, like son! Greg Holtby recorded his one and only shutout as a member of the Blades in a 5-0 victory over the Winnipeg Warriors at the old Winnipeg Arena. Holtby’s son, Braden, would also become a Saskatoon Blades’ goaltender…arguably the greatest puck-stopper in franchise history for three+ seasons between 2006 and 2009. Braden Holtby is now one of the NHL’s top goalies, playing for the Washington Capitals and won the Vezina Trophy as top netminder in the 2015-16 season.
97 F Cam Hebig – upper body – indefinitely
99 F Lukus MacKenzie – upper body – indefinitely
99 D Jake Kustra – upper body – day-to-day
01 F Kirby Dach – upper body – day-to-day
Download & view the full game notes here: Game Notes vs PA Mar17:17