Fans at SaskTel Centre on Sunday afternoon were treated to an exciting preview of what’s shaping up to be a thrilling playoff series between the Saskatoon Blades and Moose Jaw Warriors. The Blades erased a two goal deficit twice in the hockey game to defeat the Warriors 5-3 for their seventh straight victory. Saskatoon has tied their win total from the 2013 Memorial Cup host season, now sitting at 44-14-8-0 on the season with 96 points and two games remaining on the schedule.
Despite a strong effort and outshooting the Warriors 15-8 in the first period, the Blades found themselves down 2-0 at the first intermission. Moose Jaw’s goals came from rookie d-man Daemon Hunt (5) and Tristin Langan (49). But the Blades kept at it and continued to bare down on their chances.
Finally Max Gerlach (39) got the home team on the board 12:03 into the second period. The momentum was short lived as Langan responded for Moose Jaw just 20 seconds later with his 50th of the season.
Dawson Davidson (13) cut the lead down to one once again with 4:31 left in the second, coming just 4 seconds into a power play right off an offensive zone face-off win. The Blades outshot the Warriors 18-7 in the middle frame.
“Uncle Gary” Haden tied the game to hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career 1:51 into the third period. Shortly after that, Max Gerlach sniped his 40th of the season after Brandon Schuldhaus found him all alone in the slot, giving Saskatoon their first lead of the contest. The goal queued the end Brodan Salmond‘s night in the Moose Jaw goal.
Moose Jaw’s attempt to even the game fell flat as the Blades held them to just 9 shots in the third period. Gary Haden (31) drained his second of the night into an empty net with 56 seconds left on the clock to deny any hopes of an equalizer.
The two teams continued jawing at one another after the final buzzer, resulting in a game misconduct for Moose Jaw forward Tristin Langan.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Nolan Maier collected his 35th win of the season with a 21 save performance. Brodan Salmond stopped 36/40 shots faced, and Adam Evanoff made 9 saves in relief for the Warriors.
Max Gerlach: 2 goals, 1 assist, +3, 10 shots
Gary Haden: 2 goals, 1 assist, +3, 8 shots
Brandon Schuldhaus: 2 assists, +2
Max Gerlach scored his 40th goal of the season.
Gary Haden scored his 30th goal of the season.
Chase Wouters was 68% in the face-off circle.
Dawson Davidson scored his third goal in as many games.
The Blades are 27-5-4-0 since December 1st, which is the best record in the WHL during that span, and an impressive 15-1-1-0 since February 1st.
The Blades wrap up the regular season on the weekend with a home & home series against the Prince Albert Raiders beginning on Friday night at SaskTel Centre for Fan Appreciation Night. The 50/50 jackpot starts at $50,000.