Sunday, 1 January 2017

Blades rally falls short

Broncos pull out another OT victory, sweep two-game set

Artyom Minulin (#5) tips home the winning goal for the Broncos.
    The Saskatoon Blades showed their resilience, but the Swift Current Broncos found a way to get it done in overtime again.
    On Sunday at the SaskTel Centre, the Broncos held leads of 2-0 and 4-2 only to see the Blades pull even in their WHL clash. With 4:17 to play in the third and working on the power play, Blades overage centre Jesse Shynkaruk one-timed a sweet feed from linemate Braylon Shmyr to force a 4-4 draw.
    The Blades started the extra session working a four-on-three power play for 85 seconds, but were unable to net the winning goal.
    After weathering that storm, the Broncos went back the other way. Import defenceman Artyom Minulin went to the front of the Saskatoon goal and deflected home a perimeter shot from Lane Pederson to give Swift Current a 5-4 victory before 4,264 spectators. Back on Friday in Swift Current, the Broncos picked up a 3-2 come-from-behind overtime victory against the Blades.
Braylon Shmyr had two goals for the Blades.
    “You are always trying to learn from the last game,” said Blades winger Braylon Shmyr, who had two goals and an assist in the setback. “I thought we did a lot better.
    “We didn’t stick to our full details, and that is what cost us the game.”
    The Broncos got out to a quick start as captain Glenn Gawdin scored a pair of goals 57 second apart from each other shortly before the 10-minute mark of the opening frame. From that point, the Blades controlled the majority of play for the rest of the contest.
    In the second, the Blades pulled even at 2-2 with goals coming off the sticks of Shmyr and Caleb Fantillo. Before the second frame ended, Gawdin added his third goal of the contest to give the visitors a 3-2 edge heading into the second intermission.
    At the 5:23 mark of third, Swift Current went ahead 4-2 as 19-year-old centre Conner Chaulk picked up his fourth goal of the season.
    The Blades responded cutting the gap to 4-3 just 36 seconds later, when Shmyr converted a beauty set up pass from linemate Josh Paterson. That set the stage for the frantic finish at the end.
    When the dust settled, Blades head coach Dean Brockman said the slow start ultimately cost his side the game.
    “The first 10 minutes of the game we were horrible,” said Brockman. “When you are playing at this time of the year, you just can’t take 10 minutes off.
    “You spot them a two-goal lead, and then we just have to fight so hard to get back in it. I give our guys a lot of credit they did (fight back). The last 50 minutes of the game I thought we deserved a better fate.
    “We had way more chances to score and just couldn’t bury them.”
Travis Child makes one of his 38 saves in goal for the Broncos.
    Travis Child made 38 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Broncos (21-11-3-4). Logan Flodell stopped 26 shots to take the loss in goal for the Blades (14-20-5-1). Saskatoon sits ninth overall in the WHL’s Eastern Conference and sits six points back of a playoff berth chasing the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Edmonton Oil Kings and the Red Deer Rebels.
    Shmyr said his team needs to play with just a little more desperation going forward.
    “We always have to play our hearts out every game,” said Shmyr. “These points are really huge for us, and we need them all the time.
    “We just have to go out there and be hungry all the time. We got to get this for sure.”
    The Blades return to action Wednesday, when they travel to Brandon to face the Wheat Kings.
    NOTE - Before Sunday’s game, the Blades acquired 17-year-old forward Arjun Atwal and a conditional WHL Bantam Draft pick from the Victoria Royals in exchange for prospect 16-year-old defenceman K’Andre Miller and sixth round pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.
    Atwal had been playing in the Junior A ranks with the Sherwood Park Crusaders in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and he piled up 14 goals and 17 assists in 33 regular season games. He dressed for the Blades in Sunday’s game and was a plus-two in the plus-minus department.  

Stars, Contacts fall in respective Mac’s finals

    Saskatoon’s two representatives at the prestigious Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament in had a memorable week and qualified for championship Sunday.
    In the championship final of the female division, the Saskatoon Stars fell 5-4 in overtime to the Alberta based Rocky Mountain Raiders, while the Contact dropped a 6-1 decision in the title game of the male division to under-17 national team from Belarus.
    The Stars advanced to the female division championship game with a perfect 5-0 record. Trailing the Raiders 4-3 with under a minute to play, Stars defender Ashley Messier wired home the equalizer to tie things up at 4-4 and force overtime.
    In overtime, Rachel Weiss netting the winner for the Raiders.
    Abby DeCorby, Mackenna Parker and Julia Rongve all netted single for the Stars.
    Ciara MacDonald scored twice for the Raiders, while Breanne Trotter and Nicole Fry had singles. Stephanie Gross turned away 26 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Raiders, and she named the tournament’s top female goaltender.
    The Contacts entered the male division final with a 5-1 record before falling to Belarus.
    Eli Lieffers had Saskatoon’s lone goal in the final, while Rayce Ramsay turned away 45 shots taking the loss in net for the Contacts. Belarus finished the tournament with a perfect 7-0 record.
    The Stars return to action this coming Saturday, when they host the Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats at 7:45 p.m. at the Agriplace Arena. The Contacts hit the ice again on Thursday, when they host the Beardy’s Blackhawks at 8 p.m. at the Schroh Arena.

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