Saturday, 8 October 2016

Blades’ Flodell slams door on Winterhawks

Logan Flodell makes one of his 34 stops to power the Blades past Portland.
    Logan Flodell has become the man of the hour during the early part of the WHL season for the Saskatoon Blades.
    The 19-year-old Regina product continued his hot start making 34 stops to help his Blades slip past a high flying Portland Winterhawks 3-1 before 3,016 spectators Saturday night at the SaskTel Centre. 
    In his four starts with the Blades since coming over in a trade with the Seattle Thunderbirds on Sept. 17, Flodell has posted a 3-1 record, a 1.75 goals against average, a .947 save percentage and one shutout.
    Flodell’s latest win came on the heels of making a 31-save shutout performance on Thursday, when the Blades blanked their archrivals the Prince Albert Raiders 2-0.
    “It is good to get the win for the boys,” said Flodell, who team has won three straight to improve to 4-2. “Definitely, they played really well in front of me.
    “They kept the shots to outside like they did last game against P.A., and it is always good to get another win.”
Blades goaltender Logan Flodell keeps the Winterhawks at bay.
    Last season with the Thunderbirds, Flodell had a strong campaign appearing in 42 regular season games posting a 22-13-4 record, a 2.68 goals against average, a .904 save percentage and three shutouts. He was Seattle’s starter until the Thunderbirds acquired overage netminder Landon Bow in a deal shortly before the WHL’s trade deadline.
    Bow played every minute of the post-season for the Thunderbirds as they marched all the way to the WHL championship series, where they fell to the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Flodell was expecting to be with the Thunderbirds this season, so being traded didn’t cross his mind.
    “Definitely, it was a bit of a shock,” said Flodell, who stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 166 pounds. “I wasn’t aware of it until I got told of course.
Blades goalie Logan Flodell tracks a shot into his chest.
    “I am honoured to be here. It is a great organization. I am proud to play for the Saskatoon Blades.
    “Seattle was an amazing city to play in, and I thank them for everything. It is awesome to be here.”
    He did admit it was difficult to leave the only WHL team that he had known, which contained a roster of core guys he has grown with.
    “We had a great group of guys last year, and they have a good group of guys this year,” said Flodell. “It was tough leaving a bunch of good friends.
    “It is hockey. You get traded all the time. They have a great group of guys here, and we are going to make the experiences last.”
    The Blades jumped ahead 1-0 in Saturday’s game, when high energy right-winger Mason McCarty potted his third of the season on a turnaround shot. Before the first period ended, Jake Gricius potted a goal for the Winterhawks to tie the score at 1-1.
    With 2:44 to play in the second, left-winger Braylon Shmyr scored an absolute highlight reel goal for the hosts to put the Blades ahead 2-1. Shmyr came flying down the left win on a one-on-one rush, undressed Winterhawks defenceman Henri Jokiharju on a deke move and roofed a shot top corner on goaltender Kole Kehler.
Braylon Shmyr scores a highlight reel goal to put the Blades up 2-1.
    Over the first 40 minutes, Flodell kept making key saves to give the Blades a chance to pull ahead. Portland held a 21-14 edge in shots after two periods.
    In the third, he made a couple of game-saving stops that could have gotten the visitors rolling. First, Flodell robbed Winterhawks centre Alex Overhardt with a kick save after the visitors put together a pretty passing play on a three-on-one rush to create a golden scoring chance for the Cherry Hills, Colorado, product. A short time later, Flodell stoned Portland right-winger Evan Weinger on a breakaway.
    Last season, the Blades didn’t receive enough of these type of key saves, when they gave up the second most goals in the league at 318. Blades head coach Dean Brockman said Flodell’s play has been key to helping his club get some traction heading into games.
    “He (Flodell) had been huge,” said Brockman. “We’ve got a pretty young group.
    “When you’ve got young players and if they are going to make mistakes, he has been there to kind of solve the little mistakes that we are making. For us, that is huge. When you get a guy that is playing as well as he is, probably the puck looks like a beach ball right now for him.”
The Blades celebrate their 3-1 victory over the Winterhawks.
    Centre Josh Paterson sealed the win for the Blades with an empty-net tally with 64 seconds remaining in the contest.
    Kehler turned away 20-of-22 shots taking the loss in goal for the Winterhawks, who fell to 5-3.
Flodell was also pleased he didn’t feel any fatigue playing in two games over three nights. He noted that is part of life in the WHL.
    “I felt pretty good in there,” said Flodell. “It is what you have to do, especially if you want to be a starting goaltender.
    “You have to be able to play back to back. I thought I did pretty well tonight.”
The Blades return to action Sunday when they host the Edmonton Oil Kings at 2 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre.

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