Blades Power Past Hurricanes

PHOTO COURTESY: Steve Hiscock:

The Saskatoon Blades have points in three straight games to kick off 2014 following a 5-2 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday night. Nick Zajac and Logan Harland each scored twice as the Blades helped make Ukrainian Night a huge success.

The Blades got on the board early after surrendering the first two shots of the opening period. The goal came off a hard low point shot from Ayrton Nikkel. The Blades defenceman was looking for his 4th goal in his past 5 games, but instead Logan Harland deflected the shot at 3:55, up and over the shoulder of Corbin Boes to make it a 1-0 Saskatoon lead. The Blades nearly doubled that lead off a pair of good chances just a few minutes later, with a Dylan Busenius point shot just hitting Boes’ shoulder and Connor Sanvido ringing the crossbar hard on a play that would be reviewed and called no goal. Then it was the Hurricanes chance to get on the board. With 10:48 to play in the frame a hard shot was stopped by Blades goaltender Troy Trombley, with the puck deflecting off his glove and sliding behind him. Luckily Busenius was there to pull it away from the goal line to keep it 1-0 Saskatoon. The Hurricanes then came close on a 3 on 2 rush as Russell Maxwell hit Kolten Olynek with a solid feed, but Trombley slid to his left and made a great stop. Saskatoon had one more good chance late in the period with Nikita Scherbak feeding Nick Zajac, with his hard wrist shot stopped by the glove of Boes. Shots were 19-12 for Saskatoon in the period as they took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.

The Blades started off the second period where they left off in the first. They got a 2-0 goal at 3:55 as Nick Zajac took a feed from Scherbak and wired the puck home on the blocker side of Boes for his 7th of the season. Saskatoon extended the lead to 3-0 at 5:29 when Logan Harland scored his 2nd of the night, lifting a backhand home during a scramble in front. Kirichenko and Sanvido assisted on the goal as the game came on the PP. The Blades nearly made it 4-0 with 11:38 to play in the frame when Graeme Craig fed Scherbak on the PP, with his hard shot being gloved by the Saskatoon-product Boes in goal. The Blades red hot powerplay continued their second period barrage with 2:02 to play in the period when Zajac tipped home a puck in front to extend Saskatoon’s lead to 4-0, with their 3rd PP of the period. The physical frame was capped off with a fight between Ross Hnidy and Macoy Erkamps at centre ice, with both guys throwing big punches and heading to the dressing rooms for the remainder of the period. Shots were 17-7 in the period for a 36-19 Blades leading into the second intermission.

The third period was a little bit different than the first 40 minutes as things started to shift into the Hurricanes favour. Trombley was tested early in the frame, making a trio of stops in the first two minutes, including a pair off of Kolten Olynek with Saskatoon shorthanded. The Blades then had a look to ice it as Nick Zajac nearly put up his hat-trick goal on a breakaway, only to be stopped by the glove of Boes on the breakaway. Then the Hurricanes began their charge. They got a goal on a 2 on 1 rush by Jamal Watson, scoring his 11th of the year at 7:38 to make it 4-1. That lead shrank to 4-2 at 14:10 with Lethbridge on the PP as Reid Duke unleashed a hard slapshot on the rush, netting his 9th of the season. The lead almost shrunk further but Taylor Cooper was absolutely robbed by the diving glove of Trombley with 4:49 remaining. He was also stoned from in close with just over a minute remaining. Those saves turned out to be huge as Chase Clayton hit the open net with 27 seconds to play to ice the game, a 5-2 win for Saskatoon. The Blades now have points in three straight games to kick off 2014 after going 3 for 6 on the PP and 4 for 5 on the PK.

The Blades would like to thank the 6,189 fans who came out tonight, as well as the Saskatchewan Roughriders who helped make Ukrainian Night another huge success.

The Blades next game goes on Tuesday night in Medicine Hat. Saskatoon then plays host to the Calgary Hitmen next Wednesday night.

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