Blades Still Oh-For USA

PHOTO COURTESY: Steve Hiscock

The Saskatoon Blades dropped a 3-1 decision to the Tri-City Americans on Tuesday night.  The loss came after the Americans capitalized on a trio of chances in the opening 20 minutes, doing all of their offensive damage in the first period.

The teams traded chances to open the game.  The first came off the stick of Chase Clayton as he walked through the slot and fired, only to be stopped by Eric Comrie.  The Blades recovered the rebound and David Nemecek had his own chance but was also stopped.  After a Taylor Vickerman shot off the post, the Americans went to the powerplay after Graeme Craig was called for roughing on a hard hit.  Vickerman got the Americans on the lead on that man advantage, firing and scoring fivehole at 5:47 to make it a 1-0 game.  After a failed Saskatoon powerplay, the Americans doubled the lead on their own man advantage.  The 2-0 goal came off the stick of Connor Rankin, who was able to sneak a puck under Alex Moodie from beside the cage.  Tri-City would then officially make it a period to forget for Saskatoon with under a second to play in the frame.  After a dump in, Beau McCue went to the front of the net and chipped a puck up and over Troy Trombley, who had replaced Moodie net the Blades goal, to make it 3-0 at 19:59.  After holding a fair shot advantage past the midpoint of the frame, the shots ended up at 11-7 Tri-City through 20 minutes.

Saskatoon started the middle period with a great chance less than a minute in as Collin Valcourt had a point blank attempt beside Comrie’s net.  The shot was turned aside, keeping it a 3-0 Americans lead.  Saskatoon then had a partial breakaway as Cory Millette blocked a shot and was off to the races.  He was hauled down during his attempt, but did draw a penalty in the process.  The teams continued to trade chances, including a good look on the rebound from former Blade Jessey Astles with 11:00 to play in the period, but he was stopped by Trombley.  Trombley also had a big answer just over a minute later when Rankin took a feed from Brian Williams and ripped a low shot off the big goalies pad.  The saves would turn out to be huge as Saskatoon broke the shutout bid at 11:31 of the frame.  After being pinned in their zone for several minutes, Graham Millar got the puck out and was off to the races with Logan Harland.  The 2 on 1 paid off as Millar hit Harland with a pass and the winger netted his 2nd of the year to make it 3-1.  Saskatoon nearly cut into the lead further late in the period when a one-timer from Nathan Burns just bounced wide off a good feed from Matt Revel, ending the period with a 3-1 score.  Shots were 11-7 in the period for Saskatoon for a two-period total of 18-18.

The Americans almost increased the lead just over a minute into the period when the puck took a bad bounce off the glass and ended up going to Brian Williams in the circle.  His hard shot was stopped point blank by Trombley to keep it a 3-1 game.  Saskatoon then took their turn to generate a chance when a Nathan Burns shot left a rebound directly in front, with the rebound just bouncing over the stick of Valcourt as he battled in front.  Those two ended up taking shifts with Matt Revel as the Blades looked to try to generate more chances offensively. Saskatoon also had a good look with 4:06 to play when Graham Millar was left open in the slot, but his hard low wrist shot hit a body and deflected wide.  Saskatoon pulled the goalie after a timeout with 1:46 to play.  But, Saskatoon wasn’t able to generate any pressure with the extra attacker, with the buzzer sounding to end the 3-1 game.  Shots ended up 26-26, while special teams played a big role.  The Americans went 2 for 4 with the extra attacker while Saskatoon was 0 for 3.

The Blades now head to Spokane for a meeting with the Chiefs tomorrow night to close out the 5 game in 6 night road trip.

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