Blades Set For Throwback Thursday

OFF THE TOP: The Saskatoon Blades (0-5-0) square off with the Tri-City Americans (4-3-0) for the first and only time this season. The Americans are in the midst of a season-high seven-game road trip, which began back on Sept. 27 in Spokane, and will come to an end on Saturday, Oct. 11, in Swift Current. Sitting second in the WHL’s US Division coming into tonight’s contest, the Americans are led in scoring by Brian Williams (4G, 4A) and Parker Bowles (2G, 6A), both recording eight points in the Ams’ seven games so far this season.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING… The SaskTel Centre has never been kind to the visiting Americans. Outscoring their opponents 89-57 all-time in Saskatoon, the Blades have won all but one game at home to the Americans (losing 7-1 on Feb. 27, 1996).

LAST TIME OUT: The Blades are coming off an 8-1 loss on the road to Medicine Hat Tigers on Oct. 3. Matt Bradley, Ty Schultz, Markus Eisenschmid, Chad Butcher, Cole Sanford and Trevor Cox each recorded multi-point nights as the Tigers raced out to a 4-0 lead on the back of three power-play goals in the opening 20 minutes. The Blades’ leading-scorer, rookie Wyatt Sloboshan, broke the gooseegg with a man-advantage marker of his own with less than seven minutes to play in the third period, but the damage had already been done. Recently reacquired goaltender Alex Moodie was charged with the loss, allowing six goals on 25 shots before making way for Nik Amundrud in the third period. Amundrud stopped 14 of 16, while at the other end, Nick Schneider answered 20 overall, securing the win for the Central Division’s top-seeded team.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Blades are back home, playing only their second game of the season at SaskTel Centre, and first since Sept. 20 against the Prince Albert Raiders.

O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN! By virtue of a player ballot, the Blades announced their 2014-15 team captains on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at SaskTel Centre. Veteran winger Brett Stovin was named as the club’s 55th captain in franchise history. Making his WHL debut in 2010, Stovin is currently in his fourth full season, appearing in 195 regular-season games – all with the Blades. The 19-year-old product of Stony Mountain, MB, has recorded a combined 38 goals and 76 points in his career. Stovin was originally drafted by the Blades in the fifth round – 90th overall – in 2009.

“Brett has proven himself as one of the most respected players in our locker room,” Head Coach and General Manager Bob Woods said. “As a lifetime Blade, his commitment to our organization and to the city of Saskatoon is second to none. I could think of no one more deserving and I have no doubt he’ll succeed in this role, continuing to speak up and provide unparralled leadership for our team both on and off the ice.

The Blades also announced that the alternate captaincy will be shared between Adam Henry, Nelson Nogier, Nick Zajac and Ryan Graham. Henry and Nogier will don the letters exclusively at home, while the latter pair will sport the A’s on the road.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: Amundrud is expected to get the call between the pipes tonight. The soon-to-be 17-year-old product of Melfort, SK, was acquired on Sept. 23, along with a pair of draft picks (a first in 2015 and a second in 2016) in exchange for Nikita Scherbak. Amundrud was the top goalie in the pre-season, leading the WHL with a 0.51 goals-against average and a .981 save percentage, allowing only one goal in four appearances.

In limited action, combining for 50 minutes of action in two appearances so far this season, Amundrud (0-1-0) has allowed seven goals on 43 shots for an 8.47 goals-against average and .837 save percentage.

The 6-foot-1, 165-pound netminder spent most of the 2013-14 campaign with the North East Midget AA team in Saskatchewan’s Centre Four Hockey League, registering a 9-2-1 record and a 2.81 goals-against average in 14 games played.

The Blades reacquired Moodie on Wednesday, Oct. 1. The 19-year-old appeared in 28 games last season with the Blades, posting a 7-18-2 record, a 4.29 goals-against average and .894 save percentage. The product of Winnipeg, MB, was then dealt to the Spokane Chiefs in May for a conditional fourth round pick in the 2016 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. The Chiefs exercised their option to return Moodie to Saskatoon, which also returns the draft choice back to Spokane. Moodie made his 2014-15 Blades debut last week in Medicine Hat, allowing six goals on 25 shots in 40 minutes of work.

At the other end, Edmonton native Eric Comrie is expected to get the nod for the Americans. The 19-year-old has been sensational early on this season, posting a 3-2-0 record, along with a 2.58 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

AT A GLANCE:

2014-15 LEADING SCORERS:
Wyatt Sloboshan: 5GP-2G-3A-5PTS
Nick Zajac: 5GP-2G-0A-2PTS
Alex Forsberg: 5GP-1G-1A-2PTS

2014-15 SPECIAL TEAMS:
PP: 15.8% (15th); PK: 76.7.8% (16th)

RECENT TRANSACTIONS: Reacquired defenceman Ryan Coghlan from the Prince Albert Raiders (Oct. 5); claimed forward Landon Welykholowa off waivers from the Calgary Hitmen (Oct. 3); released forward Ty Mappin, who will report to the Olds Grizzlies of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (Oct. 2); assigned goaltender Trevor Martin to Melville of the SJHL (Oct. 2); acquired goaltender Alex Moodie from the Spokane Chiefs, returning a conditional fourth round pick (Oct. 1); acquired defenceman Adam Henry from the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for defenceman Turner Ottenbreit (Sept. 29); acquired defenceman Cole Bevan and a seventh round pick from the Swift Current Broncos in exchange for defenceman Ayrton Nikkel (Sept. 29); released defenceman Tyler Dea and 20-year-old pivot Chase Clayton (Sept. 29); acquired right-winger Sam McKechnie from the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick in 2015 (Sept. 25).

FABULOUS FIRSTS: Wyatt Sloboshan scored his first-career WHL goal on opening night at 13:25 of the second period. Sloboshan also recorded his first WHL assist, adding the lone helper on Turner Ottenbreit’s tally’s later in the game.

Not to be outdone, after a sensational pre-season in which he recorded five points in as many games (leading the Blades in exhibition scoring, along with Sloboshan), Amil Krupic got in on the action on Sept. 26 in Brandon. From the high slot, the 19-year-old sifted a slick shot five-hole, beating Jordan Papirny for his first-career goal at 3:07 of the opening period in his third WHL game.

Local product Alex Forsberg, acquired from the Prince George Cougars over the summer, scored his first goal as a Blade against Wheat Kings, slipping a backhand shot past Papirny at 13:00 (PP) of the third period.

HEAD COACH BOB WOODS: Hired on Jun. 2, 2014, Bob Woods made his Western Hockey League coaching debut on Sept. 19 in Prince Albert. He is still looking for his first WHL win from behind the bench. Woods, 46 and a product of LeRoy, SK, brings 13 years of experience and a championship-winning pedigree to the City of Bridges. He won a Calder Cup as an assistant coach with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears back in 2006, and again in 2009 after being promoted to the head-coaching position. Joining the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League as an assistant later that spring, he helped guide the club to a pair of Southeast Division titles and the 2009-10 Presidents’ Trophy with a 54-15-13 record for 121 points. As a player/assistant coach in 1999, Woods won a Kelly Cup with the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves. Assuming the full-time head-coaching position back in 2001, he led the Wolves to 179 wins in 288 regular-season games, emerging as a championship contender in each of his four seasons behind the bench.

Woods was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2012.

Reunited with Bruce Boudreau, with whom he’d be coaching for nearly a decade, Woods spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL heavyweight Anaheim Ducks.

MILESTONES WITHIN REACH: The next regular-season win will be the Blades’ 1600th in WHL franchise history.

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