While they didn’t come away with the victory Saturday night in Saskatoon, the Blades came out of their 8-7 overtime loss to Swift Current with something else – confidence.
“Too many times this year we didn’t play all the way through, we didn’t play with enough heart, and this time we did, this time we showed we’re ready to play with heart” said Josh Uhrich after the loss. “We can learn from a game like this, learn we can play with good teams”.
The Blades would get their chance to use what they had learned when they took on the first place Brandon Wheat Kings Tuesday night in Brandon.
Five minutes in, Uhrich’s words would come true – playing quick, confident hockey, the Blades would strike first, as Landon Welykholowa would score his third of the year to put the Blades up 1-0.
After the game against the Broncos, one thing Coach Bob Woods touched on was the teams penalty troubles. Too often this season, the Blades have taken ill-advised penalties, and paid dearly for it. Midway through the first frame against Brandon, Adam Henry would be sent to the penalty box, and shortly after, John Quenneville would jam a rebound past Trevor Martin and tie up the game.
The high offence would continue – just two minutes later, Cameron Hebig would be sent in all alone on the breakaway, and he would slip one five hole to beat Jordan Papirny and make it 2-1 for Saskatoon. Just two minutes after that, Reid Duke would beat Trevor Martin glove side to tie it up at 2-2.
Near the end of the first, Brett Stovin would be taken down, and awarded a penalty shot. Moving slowly, the captain would go backhand on Papirny, but would be stopped, keeping the score tied heading into intermission.
Three minutes into the second, Brandon would strike – Quintin Lisoway would beat Martin, and Brandon would have their first lead of the game.
However, the Blades would show that they could indeed hang with the top teams in the league. With five minutes left in the third, Nikita Soshnin, who scored his first WHL goal in the previous game against Swift Current would tie things up, scoring his second in two games. Just a minute later, Ryan Coghlan would give the Blades the lead, scoring his first of the year.
The Wheat Kings would pull their goalie at the end of the third, and after a furious scrum in front of the net, former Blade Tim McGauley would score with just nine seconds left, tying it up and sending it to overtime.
In overtime, the Blades would prove Uhrich right – they’re ready to compete, they’re ready to work, and they’re ready to win. Just over a minute in, Brett Stovin would beat Papirny, and the Blades would defeat the first place Wheat Kings, earning a huge two points, and prompting the voice of the Blades Les Lazaruk to holler an enthusiastic “winner winner, chicken dinner!”
“It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it” said Woods. “Marty kept us in it, we had good energy, the young guys played well, a character win for sure”.
The Blades have a quick turnaround, as they’ll travel home from Brandon and play host to Moose Jaw on Wednesday.