RECAP: Full team effort sees Blades snatch shootout victory in Lethbridge
Erica Perreaux / Lethbridge Hurricanes
Lethbridge, AB – The Saskatoon Blades have snatched two points from the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who prior to Friday night’s game, were the top placed in the Western Hockey League. Saskatoon battled back from behind twice to tie the game, eventually emerging victorious 4-3 in the shootout.
Nolan Maier had himself a second stellar performance in as many games, being called on early & often. He stopped 17 of the Hurricanes’ 19 first period shots, keeping the dangerous Lethbridge side within reach of the Blades for the remainder of the game.
Saskatoon came out of the first intermission with new-found determination, striking first on the power play through Eric Florchuk, who cashed in his 10th goal of the season off of a rebound created by Kyle Crnkovic & Aidan De La Gorgendiere.
Then, near the end of the second period, Braden Plaschewsky fed a breakout pass to Randen Schmidt as he charged up the middle of the ice. Schmidt broke through the ‘Canes defenders and blasted a shot on net which was saved, but bounced fortuitously to the stick of Jayden Wiens who put home his 4th of the year in the same building he scored his first ever WHL goal.
Things appeared to sour at the start of the final period of regulation, as Lethbridge re-took the lead. However, the Blades stuck to their guns and patiently bided their time. With 2:32 left in regulation, Chase Wouters won possession from a face-off in the offensive zone after the Hurricanes were called for icing. Radek Kucerik took possession at the point before giving it off to De La Gorgendiere who let rip. His shot deflected off a body and to Zach Huber who quickly put the puck in the back of the net from close range – his 7th tally of the campaign.
The scores would remain locked at 3-all to end regulation and a winner was not found in overtime. Maier carried his outstanding play into the shootout, denying Lethbridge on their three attempts while Kyle Crnkovic scored the lone goal in the first round, securing the win for the visitors.
Maier was named 2nd Star during the post-game ceremony having stopped 40 shots during play. With two assists on the night, De La Gorgendiere recorded his first multi-point game of his WHL career – bringing his season’s total to 12 (1G-11A). Wouters went 14/20 at the face-off dot. The game saw 16-year-old defenceman Spencer Shugrue make his WHL career debut with Colton Dach out sick – Shugrue recorded 1 shot in his first game for the Blades.
Saskatoon jump right back into action against the Tigers in Medicine Hat tonight, playing the last game of their long road trip at the Canalta Centre at 8:30pm CST.
Saskatoon’s next home game is on December 7th for Girls Rock! Night against the Kelowna Rockets, featuring a pre-game empowerment talk from NASCAR Pinty’s Series Driver Shantel Kalika & the Saskatoon Valkyries of the WWCFL.