It was a bittersweet victory for the Saskatoon Blades, who bested the Prince Albert Raiders 5-3 in front of over 10,000 fans at the SaskTel Centre on Friday night. The Blades headed into the game 3 points behind the Calgary Hitmen for a playoff spot, needing a win and some help to keep their hopes alive. The Hitmen came away with a victory over the Kootenay ICE later in the evening, ending the Blades playoff chances.
The Raiders were able to get the game’s first tally, with Cavin Leth putting in an unassisted goal midway through the first. It wasn’t long afterwards when Blades forward Jesse Shynkaruk, playing his last game in his hometown, scored his 31st goal of the season with help from Braylon Shmyr and Mark Rubinchik to tie the game at 1.
The Blades took over the game in the second period, scoring early and often. Braylon Shmyr scored his team-leading 35th goal of the season just over 2 minutes in, and it was quickly followed by a goal from Blades Rookie of the Year Michael Farren with help from fellow rookie Chase Wouters, who picked up his second assist of the night. Wouters later added a third assist on Gage Ramsay’s short-handed marker midway through the period, which put the Blades up 4-1. The rivalry showed it’s true colours late in the second, with two players from each team being sent off for roughing after a scrum ensued.
The third period had early fisticuffs between the Raiders’ Simon Stransky and the Blades’ Caleb Fantillo, and less than a minute afterwards the Raiders brought the game to within two goals courtesy of Parker Kelly’s 21st goal of the season. Spencer Moe then closed the gap to one goal with his 6th goal of the season minutes later, but it was as close as the Raiders got with Josh Paterson adding a late empty-netter for the Blades and solidifying a win in the last home game of the season.
Logan Flodell stopped 36/39 shots for his 22nd win of the season after being named the team MVP prior to the game.
The Blades close out the 2016-17 regular season tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in Prince Albert against the Raiders.