Saturday, 30 September 2017

Shmyr breaks out for Blades

Winger happy to have Hebig back to form dynamic duo

Braylon Shmyr celebrates his game-winning goal for the Blades.
    Braylon Shmyr believes he is now part of a dynamic duo that is going to take flight for the Saskatoon Blades.
    In the Blades first two WHL regular season games, the overage left-winger was held pointless, and his Saskatoon side lost twice. On Saturday, Shmyr finally got to be partnered on a line with overage centre Cameron Hebig. Michael Farren, a talented 17-year-old sophomore, lined up at right wing to complete the unit.
    Hebig missed all of last season with a hard to pinpoint injury, and he was suspended by the WHL for the first two games of the regular season for taking a checking from behind major penalty and a game misconduct in the Blades final pre-season contest on Sept. 16, when they downed the Oil Kings in Edmonton 2-1.
    With Hebig at centre, Shmyr scored the winning goal with four minutes to play in the third period to break a 4-4 deadlock with the visiting Calgary Hitmen and lift the Blades to a 5-4 victory. He finished the night with a pair of goals and an assist to send almost all of the crowd of 2,738 spectators at the SaskTel Centre home happy.
Braylon Shmyr breaks down the ice for the Blades.
    After the game, Shmyr couldn’t stress how big it was to be on a line with Hebig.
    “He is a really good player,” said Shmyr. “He knows how to find me.
    “We just seemed like we had that chemistry going into this year. It is definitely nice playing with him and having him back.”
    After dropping their first two games by a combined score of 11-4, the Blades victory on Saturday won’t go down as one of the WHL’s classic games despite all the goals. The first two periods were fairly choppy for both teams as they entered the second intermission locked in a 4-4 draw.
    In playing to that 4-4 tie after 40 minutes, the Blades saw leads of 3-1 and 4-3 disappear.
    On the winning goal, Shmyr tracked the rebound of one of his own shots and flipped the puck over fallen Hitmen goaltender Matthew Armitage.
Cameron Hebig drives a shot on goal for the Blades.
    “It feels great,” said Shmyr about netting the winner. “The guys were ready to win tonight. We kind of changed our mindset about how we come into the game.
    “That is what we did. It definitely showed out there knowing that we got that first win today. We came into the game expecting to win, and that is exactly what we did.”
    Kirby Dach, who is in his 16-year-old rookie campaign, Caleb Fantillo and Hebig all netted singles for the Blades (1-2). Hajek had a pair of assists. Starting netminder Ryan Kubic allowed four goals on his first 10 shots before making 19 total saves to pick up the win in goal for Saskatoon.
Libor Hajek had a pair of assists for the Blades.
    Matteo Gennaro, Mark Kastelic, Jakob Stukel and Luke Coleman all had singles for the Hitmen (1-2-1). Armitage turned away 24 shots to take the loss in goal for Calgary. Hitmen 19-year-old left-winger Beck Malenstyn left the contest in the first period holding his left shoulder having collided hard into the boards after missing a bodycheck.
    Hebig drew the loudest cheers of the night, when he scored his lone goal at the 10:32 mark of the second period tipping home a point shot from Czech defenceman Libor Hajek. Shmyr picked up his assist on that play.
    Before Saturday’s game, Hebig’s last action in the regular season came way back on March 19, 2016, when he had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 home ice victory over the Prince Albert Raiders. In his last full regular season back in 2015-16, Hebig piled up 26 goals and 43 assists in 59 games.
    “It felt good to be back on the ice,” said Hebig. “I have to get my legs back obviously.
    “These games are moving fast, and I think that will come as I keep going. It was definitely nice to be out there and get the first goal out of the way.”
    The Saskatoon product enjoyed playing on a line with Shmyr and Farren, who finished the night with one assist.
    “Those are two skilled guys,” said Hebig. “I think we had a good outing today.
Blades C Cameron Hebig wheels past Hitmen D Layne Toder (#4).
    “They will get you the puck, and if I get them the puck, they will put it in. I think our first night together was good.”
    Blades head coach Dean Brockman played Shmyr and Hebig together extensively in the pre-season, and the bench boss believes big things will come from that duo.
    “We nicknamed them Batman and Robin, because they are quite a dynamic duo,” said Brockman. “For those guys, as they go we will probably go.”
    Brockman added it was big for his club to find a way to get the first win of the regular season.
    “It wasn’t pretty,” said Brockman. “It was pretty scrambly.
The Blades celebrate their win on Saturday.
    “A win is a win. When you are fighting things a little bit and your confidence isn’t very high, to get a win like that it is huge for us.”
    The Blades return to action on Friday, when they host the Swift Current Broncos at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre.
    The Hitmen are also off until Friday when they host the Everett Silvertips at 7 p.m. local time at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to