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WIN COLUMN | Wouters scores game-winner in final game of career

REGINA, SK — It was a finish fit for a captain.

Chase Wouters scored the game-winning goal and added an assist in the final game of his career to lead the Saskatoon Blades to a 5-2 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings to close out the 2021 season.

Fellow graduates Caiden Daley and Wyatt McLeod also found the scoresheet, with McLeod netting the game’s first goal and Daley assisting on a second-period marker. Brandon Lisowsky picked up his eighth goal to finish his rookie campaign with 17 points, and Colton Dach netted a pair of third-period markers including an empty netter.

Following the game, GM Colin Priestner came on the Blades post-game media availability with Wouters to inform him no one in the franchise will ever wear #44 again, indicating his jersey will be raised to the rafters on a later date.

Nolan Maier earned the game’s second star with a tremendous 35-save performance, and Connor Ungar stopped 23 of 27 shots in defeat.

Saskatoon finishes the 2021 campaign with a 16-5-2-1 record, and wins the season series against Brandon with three wins and one loss. Brandon, who clinched the East Division pennant with a win over Regina earlier this week, leave the Subway WHL Hub with an 18-4-2-0 record.

McLeod opened the scoring at the 13:59 mark of the first period on the powerplay. It came off a long, wide shot from Lisowsky, where the puck rebounded off the end boards and right to the tape of McLeod. The veteran defender wasted no time roofing the puck and giving the Blades a 1-0 lead.

Saskatoon went into the first intermission leading 1-0 with Maier stopping all 14 shots he faced.

Lisowsky, the Blades 2019 first round pick, extended the lead just 51 seconds into the second period thanks to a beautiful passing play from the captain.

Wouters flew into the attacking zone on the right side, and found the rookie parked on the opposite side of Ungar for an easy tap-in.

Brandon answered back with two powerplay markers in the latter half of the second — both of which coming from third-star Lyndon McCallum. The hometown product captured his 20th and 21st markers of the season to finish off his WHL career, tying the game at two.

Less than a minute after McCallum’s game-tying marker, the Blades captain went to work once again.

Wouters recoiled the faceoff directly to defenceman Rhett Rhinehart in the attacking zone, and parked himself in front of the net. Rhinehart took a quick step towards the middle of the ice and unloaded a snapshot, which Wouters swiftly deflected home to regain the Blades lead at 3-2.

Dach, who’s eligible to be selected in this year’s NHL Draft, provided some insurance with 4:05 to play. Left with plenty of time at the top of the circle, the 2003-born winger found a hole through several bodies before hitting the twine behind Ungar, giving the Blades a 4-2 lead.

Brandon pulled the goalie with just over two minutes to play, and poured on some short-term pressure but Saskatoon buckled down and held the Wheaties off the scoresheet. At 18:31, Dach corralled a loose puck in the defensive zone and threw a long clearing attempt that bobbled its way into the empty net, securing his third multi-goal game of the season.

Dach signs off on the 2021 campaign with 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points in 20 games.

Wouters graduates from the WHL with 280 career games to his name and 181 points (75G-106A). The former first round pick by Saskatoon leaves the organization as the only three-year captain in history, and a two-time winner of the team’s hardest worker award.

Over the next few weeks, the Blades will be unveiling several tributes for their three graduating players, along with the 2021 team individual award winners. A reminder you can stay connected to the crew through Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

For the complete box score, CLICK HERE.

 

 

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