RP – Saskatoonblades.com
The Saskatoon Blades are winners of 17 consecutive games thanks to a gritty 3-2 shootout victory over the Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday night. Brett Stovin scored both Blades goals in regulation, while Andrey Makarov starred in the crease.
There was no scoring in the opening period in Calgary, but both teams did have some solid chances. Calgary had the best chance of the frame as Pavlo Padakin walked in on a shorthanded breakaway near the midpoint, deked Andrey Makarov, but missed the open part of the net. After that good chance, Blades forward Matej Stransky hit the post on the far side of Chris Driedger while Saskatoon remained on the powerplay. The shots were 11-10 for Calgary through 20 minutes, with Saskatoon having two powerplay chances and the Hitmen having one.
After some back and forth play the Blades generated the best early chance of the second period. It was a 3 on 1 rush with Brenden Walker feeding Michael Ferland, but his shot was stopped by the arm of Driedger. But, at 11:40 the Blades got on the board. Nick Zajac showed great hustle getting to a loose puck before centering to Bret tStovin, who then fired the puck high glove side past Driedger to make it 1-0. But less than 5 minutes later, the Hitmen answered back on the PP as Spencer Humphries chipped a puck past Makarov to make it 1-1. That was all the scoring in the second period as the shots were 14-6 for Calgary in the frame.
The Blades took their second lead of the night in the opening 16 seconds of the third period. That’s when Lukas Sutter rang a shot off the post and Brett Stovin banged home the rebound for his 2nd of the game to give Saskatoon a 2-1 lead. But, the Hitmen once again had a pushback. Just past the 13-minute mark, Brady Brassart banged home a loose puck to make it a 2-2 game. Calgary had a final minute PP with a chance to win the game, but Andrey Makarov had the answers.
In overtime, both teams had great chances but it was once again the goalies with the answers as the teams headed to a shootout. For Saskatoon, it was their 6th shootout of the season and the 7th of the year for Calgary.
As was the theme for much of the game, the goalies were the stars in the shootout. Andrey Makarov stopped the first 5 shooters he faced for the Hitmen, including making a great glove save on Victor Rask. Then as the 5th shooter, it was Nathan Burns going to the backhand and scoring to win the shootout for Saskatoon, sending the Blades to their 17th consecutive win.
Makarov ended the game with 46 saves including regulation, overtime and the shootout. On special teams, the Blades were 0 for 5 on the PP and 5 for 6 on the PK.
Saskatoon is now back at home this Friday, March 1st as they once again play host to the Wheat Kings. Get tickets to that game here.