GAME DAY PREVIEW: Points At Stake As Blades Host Hitmen
Tonight… The Saskatoon Blades (15-22-5-1 – 36pts) welcome the Calgary Hitmen (14-19-3-2 – 33pts) in what could be the most important game of the season up to this point for both teams. Saskatoon is 4 points back of the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference, and currently 3 points up on the Hitmen in the standings. However, the Blades have played 5 more games than the Hitmen. This is the second meeting of the season between these two clubs, with Calgary taking the only previous meeting 4-3 back on December 7th in Saskatoon. For the Blades, they need to reignite their offense after being shutout in back to back games last weekend. At the other end of the ice the Hitmen are entering desperation mode having only picked up 1 win in 7 games since the Christmas break, and have allowed 14 goals in their last 2 outings. This is game number 2 in a 6 game home stand for Saskatoon, and just the 18th of the season at home. Saskatoon should be able to settle in and use home ice advantage to gain some ground in the standings. This is also the first week this season the Blades haven’t had to travel, so the added rest should be beneficial as well.
The Flo Show… Logan Flodell did everything he could in his last start, stopping 33/34 shots faced against the Tri-City Americans. Flodell was named the 2nd star of the game and looked as though he regained his early season form from when he earned the CHL Goalie of the Week in October. With the offense struggling as of late, the Blades will need a repeat performance from Flodell against the Hitmen. In 27 games this season, Flodell has a .910SV% and 2 shutouts.
Goal Mining… Saskatoon’s offense has dried up the past two games, but don’t expect it to last. Despite being held off the scoresheet in the last 2 games, leading scorer Braylon Shmyr (21G-12A-33pts) still has 11 points in his last 8 games. Linemate Jesse Shynkaruk (13G – 12A) is second on the Blades with 25 points in 30 games this year. While these two will be looked at to lead the way, 16 year old rookie Michael Farren (3G – 12A) has shown flashes of brilliance putting up 8 points in a 10 game span in December.
Recent Movement… The Blades made two roster moves last week. First off, Saskatoon acquired 98 F Cole Johnson (34GP – 4G – 10A – 18PIM) from Swift Current in exchange for a 2017 7th (REG) and a 2018 5th (RD). Both draft picks were previously acquired from Red Deer in exchange for Cameron Hausinger. Later on Thursday, the Blades sent 97 D Jordan Henderson to the Medicine Hat Tigers for a 2017 5th round draft pick. Henderson was previously acquired in November from Spokane for a 2017 6th round draft pick. Henderson played 20 games with the Blades and registered 1 goal and 3 assists.
Injury report… The Saskatoon Blades are currently without 3 key offensive pieces in the lineup. Cam Hebig has yet to dress for a game this season and remains on a week-to-week status with an upper body injury. Hebig had 69 pts in 59 GP last season for Saskatoon. Mason McCarty is progressing but still remains weeks away from joining the team in practice after suffering a lower body injury in late November. McCarty has 23 pts in 26 games this season, and is expected to return to action in early February. Markson Bechtold was acquired in a blockbuster trade before Christmas, and suffered an upper body injury in the first game of the second half. Bechtold is listed as week-to-week.
Download & view the full game notes: Game Notes vs CGY Jan10:17
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