Saturday, 19 January 2019

McNabb’s highlight reel goals delivers victory to Blades

Cyle McNabb, left, celebrates scoring a goal with linemate Zach Huber.
    REGINA, Sask. – For one night, Cyle McNabb looked like the second coming of Bernie Federko.
    The recently acquired 18-year-old left winger scored two highlight reel goals on Saturday to help deliver the visiting Saskatoon Blades to a 4-2 victory over the Pats in Regina before 5,444 spectators at the Brandt Centre. The outburst marked the first two-goal game McNabb has experienced in his WHL career.
    For a short moment, he mirror what Federko once did for this Blades suiting up at forward for the major junior squad from 1973 to 1976 in his legendary hockey career.
    McNabb, who is a sophomore from Winnipeg, Man., has appeared in 102 career regular season games with the Vancouver Giants, Kootenay Ice and Blades to date recording four goals and three assists.
Cyle McNabb had his first two-goal night in the WHL on Saturday.
    He now has three goals in his first four appearances with the Blades. The Blades acquired McNabb in a trade with the Ice on Jan. 7 in exchange for 18-year-old forward Brandon Machado and a fifth round selection in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft.
    “Obviously, it was a good night,” said McNabb about the outburst. “Our line was going the whole night, and it paid off in the end.
    “In the end, we are happy to get two points, and we’re just going to try and keep it rolling.”
    The Pats, who are going through a major rebuild, gave the Blades everything they could handle with an extreme hardworking effort.
    Despite being outshot 16-13 in the first period, the Blades exited the frame holding a 1-0 lead, when veteran centre Eric Florchuk tucked home at power-play goal between the legs of Pats netminder Dean McNabb.
    Early in the second, McNabb, who was playing on a line centred by Tristen Robins and Zach Huber playing right wing, went to work. 
The Blades recently acquired Cyle McNabb from the Kootenay Ice.
    McNabb collected the puck at a bad angle at the right side of the Regina net and proceeded to snipe home a shot to the far side of the Pats goal.
    “Robby (Robins) got stepped up on, and he got a big hit,” said McNabb, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 191 pounds. “The puck was lying there.
    “Me and Hubs (Huber) had a two-on-one to the net, and I just saw the far side and I took it. It went in.”
    The Blades extended their lead to 3-0 with 70 seconds to play in the second, when Florchuk tucked home a backhand shot on a breakaway.
    The Pats proceeded to fight back early in the third. With the Blades working on the power play, Pats right-winger Duncan Pierce was hacked down while skating into the Saskatoon zone on a breakaway by a Blades player resulting in a penalty shot.
    Pierce scored on a shuffle move on the penalty shot to cut Saskatoon’s lead to 3-1 at the 2:30 mark of the third.
Eric Florchuk (#17) scored twice for the Blades on Saturday night.
    That set the stage for McNabb to step up again a little over three-and-a-half minutes later. With the Blades applying pressure in the Regina zone, McNabb got a hold of the puck, danced around Pats goalie in Davidson, Sask., product Dean McNabb and dumped the puck into an empty cage.
    Cyle McNabb gave credit again to his line for helping him out on his goal that gave the Blades a 4-1 edge.
    “That was nice too,” said McNabb. “Again, Robby (Tristen Robins) made a great play and banked it off the back wall.
    “I just put it in the net.”
    Pats 18-year-old rookie right-winger Riley Krane scored his 10th goal of the season on a determined short-handed effort with 8:33 remaining in the third period to cut the Blades lead to 4-2. 
Duncan Pierce (#22) celebrates scoring on a penalty shot for the Pats.
    Krane was stopped initially on a breakaway, picked up the puck behind the Saskatoon net and came out in front to score.
    That tally wasn’t enough to spark a comeback for the host side.
    Nolan Maier turned away 32 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Blades (28-13-6). Dean McNabb stopped 28 shots to take the setback in goal for the Pats (12-33-1-1).
    Maier was pleased with how his teammates played in front of him on Saturday. He noted that helped him have a good night.
    “A lot of the shots our forwards and the D (defence) kept them to the perimeter,” said Maier. “I think it kind of helped me out getting settled into the game nicely.
Nolan Maier makes one of his 32 saves for the Blades.
    “We came out with two points, and that is all we could ask for.”
    Maier was happy to see Cyle McNabb have a great game for “The Bridge City Bunch.”
    “I think it is really good to see him producing here, and we are lucky to have him,” said Maier.
    Now having played four games with the Blades, McNabb believes he has settled in.
    “Ever since I got here, everyone has been very welcoming of me,” said McNabb. “All the guys are great. The coaches are great.
    “Everyone in Saskatoon is great. They made the transition really easy. I’m happy to be here.”
    He is looking forward to playing the rest of the campaign with the blue and gold.
    “It is exciting,” said McNabb. “They have a great group of guys here, a really good hockey team.
The Blades celebrate their victory over the Pats on Saturday night.
    “I’m just excited to be here, and I am going to do whatever I can to help the team get wins until the end of the year.”
    The Blades return to action when they travel to Swift Current this coming Friday to face the Broncos at 7 p.m. at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex.
    The Pats return to action this coming Friday when they host the Brandon Wheat Kings at 7 p.m. at the Brandt Centre.

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