The Blades came in to Friday’s game with Moose Jaw ready to turn things around – losers of their last eight, including all five on the BC road trip, the boys were excited to be back in their own barn, and eager for a win.
“We had a good sleep back at home, and a good two days of practice”, said Josh Uhrich at pre-game skate. “We’re tired of losing, and we’re ready to win tonight”.
Unfortunately, things wouldn’t start great for the Blades, as midway through the first, a turnover would end up on the stick of Jiri Smejkal. He would make good on the opportunity, wiring one bar-down to beat Nik Amundrud and make it 1-0 for Moose Jaw, which is how it would stay through the end of the first.
One problem the Blades have faced far too often is giving up too many shots – throughout the BC road trip, the shots were usually well into the 40’s for the opponents, and this game was no different, as Moose Jaw led 26-13 through two periods. However, much like in BC, Amundrud was phenomenal, turning aside shot after shot, and the game stayed 1-0 after two periods.
“Amundrud, he’s been amazing”, said Coach Bob Woods after the game. “We need more support for him, no doubt about it, he keeps playing well, and we keep letting him down”.
“He reminds me a bit of Andrey Makarov”, added Captain Brett Stovin. “Nik has the ability to steal games, but lately, we haven’t been helping him out at all, and he deserves better”.
Things would stay that way until the very end, when the Blades would pull Amundrud with two minutes left, still trailing by one. Unfortunately, Tanner Eberle would put one in the empty cage, making it 2-0. Torrin White would add one more before the buzzer for a little salt in the would, making it a 3-0 final.
“I’m sick of making excuses”, said Woods. “Every game we say we need more energy, that we can’t turn it over, that we need more shots, yet after every game I keep saying the same things. I don’t want excuses, I want better play to go with the goaltending we’ve been getting”.
“Yeah, it’s been tough”, said Amundrud, who stopped 30 of 31 shots. “I have confidence in the guys, sooner or later we’ll get some lucky bounces, turn this around”.
This was the ninth straight loss for the Blades, who sit last in the Eastern Conference. The team will be in action again on Saturday, when they host the Regina Pats.
“I don’t know if guys are looking ahead to the Christmas break or what”, said Stovin, who expressed disappointment in the teams play as of late. “We can’t do that. We need to take this one game, one shift at a time. We take shifts off, it’s in the back of the net. We’re a long ways back of the playoff race right now, and if we’re going to get there, we need to beat teams like Moose Jaw, get one win at a time”.
Saturday’s game against Regina is Toque Toss Night, and the team will wear special Christmas Sweaters that will be raffled off.