Blades Drop Third Straight On Road Trip

The Blades came oh so close on Sunday night, finishing off a stretch of three games in three nights by falling 6-5 to the defending WHL Champion Portland Winterhawks.  The Blades led 4-1 at one point in the game and surrendered the winner in the final minute in heart breaking fashion.

The Winterhawks got started early in the first period, with Alex Schoeborn walking in and getting a good hard shot away only 4 seconds into the period, with Alex Moodie having the answer.  The Winterhawks pressure continued until the Blades first good chance at 4:36 when Graham Millar was able to find a puck, spin and fire off an offensive zone draw but Jarrod Schamerhorn had the answer in Portland’s goal.  In between Portland spurts of pressure, Saskatoon was able to generate another good chance with 6:50 remaining.  A quick developing 3 on 2 led to a chance for Ryan Graham down the left wing, with his big slapshot hitting Schamerhorn in the shoulder and heading to the corner.  Moodie was also strong in the Blades cage, being tested often including a point blank chance from Derrick Pouliot after he walked around David Nemecek and into the slot.  But the pressure for Portland would eventually pay off.  On a delayed penalty and the Blades running around, a one-timer from Pouliot left a rebound on top of the crease for Oilver Bjorkstrand.  The import forward was there to bury the loose puck for a 1-0 Portland lead in the final minute of the frame.  But the Blades were quick to respond.  Only 11 seconds after the goal Nikita Scherbak hit Matt Revel, who was driving the slot and the net.  He deflected the pass past Schamerhorn for his 8th of the season, making it 1-1 through 20 minutes of play.  The shots were 14-4 in the frame, with each team going scoreless on one PP attempt.

The second period lived up to the hype of the first, and then some.  The Blades got off to a great start in the frame with Matt Revel going to the net and cashing in a loose puck only 17 seconds into the period. Scherbak sent the puck to the doorstep, with Revel netting his 9th of the season to make it a 2-1 Blades lead.  Saskatoon then extended that lead at 2:42 when Nathan Burns scored his 13th of the year, taking a feed after a steal by Scherbak and beating Schamerhorn on the blocker side to make it 3-1.  Then there was a big potential swing in the game when the Blades were given a hooking and too many men penalty at the same time.  But, the team dug down and killed off the full 5 on 3 powerplay for the Winterhawks, with Alex Moodie standing tall in goal.  After that kill, Saskatoon made it a 4-1 game. Burns scored his second of the night at 14th of the year at 11:40 when he ripped a wrister home, chasing Schamerhorn from the Portland goal.  With an assist on the play, Scherbak had his 4th such point of the night.  After that, the Winterhawks started their climb back into the game.  They got a PP goal from Nic Petan at 15:37 when his wrister from the circle just trickled past Moodie and in.  The lead was then cut to 4-3 at 18:45, also on the PP, when a Leipsic shot hit the back boards and ended up right on Petan’s tape and he hit the open net.  A last second save from Alex Moodie on Bjorkstrand ended the frame, with Saskatoon holding a 4-3 lead through 40 minutes.  Shots were 35-12 for the home side, who had Brendan Burke in goal after replacing Schamerhorn.

The Winterhawks tied the game up early in what would be a wild third period.  The goal came from Nic Petan as he scored his 3rd of the night at 1:42, cashing in after a ton of pressure from the Winterhawks.  But, Saskatoon would once again have an answer.  This time it came on the powerplay when Matt Revel made a quick one touch pass to Collin Valcourt, who roofed the puck past Burke to make it a 5-4 Saskatoon lead.  But the Winterhawks would keep coming.  They tied the game back up at 13:48 when Petan took a sweet feed from Taylor Leier on the PP and beat Moodie from on top of the crease.  the goal gave Petan four goals on the night.  After that, it would be heart break for Saskatoon.  Matt Revel had a chance to win it with 2:20 to play as he walked down the wing on a 2 on 1 and beat the goalie but not the iron as he hit the post.  That would be the Blades best chance late as the Winterhawks would end up victorious thanks to a late goal.  The goal came with only 20 seconds left on the clock when Leipsic fed Bjorkstrand and he beat Moodie high blocker side with a quick shot to make it a 6-5 final.  The Winterhawks won the game thanks to a big night on the shot clock, outshooting the Blades 53-16 and going 3 for 7 on the PP.

The Blades road trip continues as the team will have a day off for travel tomorrow before taking on Tri-City on Tuesday and Spokane on Wednesday to close out the 5 game in 6 night stanza.

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