|Saskatoon Blades (9-12-2-1) at Tri-City Americans (14-7-2-0)
Tonight – The Saskatoon Blades begin their journey through the US Division at the Toyota Centre in Kennewick, Washington, against the Tri-City Americans. It’s the first and only meeting of the season between these two clubs. The Blades come in 3-5-1-1 in their last 10 but without a regulation loss in their last three games (1-0-1-1).
The opponent – The Americans, who also haven’t played since last Friday, will look to create some space in the US Division as they currently sit in 2nd with 30 points, just ahead of Spokane (29) and Everett (28). They’re 5-3-2-0 in their last 10 games, and are coming off a 6-0 win on home ice off over the visiting Regina Pats. The Ams did so without 2017 NHL 1st rounders Michael Rasmussen and Juuso Valimaki, who were out with injuries. Their status for tonight is unknown.
For Saskatoon – The last 3 games for the Blades have all featured 3rd period comebacks of 3 or more goals, so Saskatoon will need to tighten up. It’s a long trip and the run and gun style can’t be sustained against a strong US Division. The Blades also can’t look at the big picture and get overwhelmed by the gruelling trip that is known for gobbling up teams from the East Division.
The Lineup – All 7 defensemen are healthy for Saskatoon along with 13 of 14 forwards, meaning one d-man and one forward will be scratched tonight. Arjun Atwal was returned to Sherwood Park of the AJHL over the week as Logan Christensen inches closer to returning.
Joel Grzybowski was also returned to North Battleford of the SJHL, resulting in the call up of 15-year-old goaltender Koen MacInnes who practiced with the team on Monday in Kennewick. MacInnes, drafted in the 2nd round by Saskatoon in 2017, is expected to back up 16-year-old rookie Nolan Maier. Ryan Kubic did not make the trip south with the Blades as he is still out with a lower body injury.
F Logan Christensen – upper body, day-to-day
G Ryan Kubic – lower body, 2-3 weeks
Download & view the full game notes: game notes at TC Nov28