Saturday, 12 January 2019

Paterson gets one last hurrah from Saskatoon

Former Blades centre scores twice in Winterhawks win

Josh Paterson celebrates his first goal with the Winterhawks.
    Josh Paterson received his final salute from Saskatoon.
    The former Saskatoon Blades centre turned out to be the man of the moment on Saturday night at the SaskTel Centre. Suiting up for the visiting Portland Winterhawks, Paterson received a rousing ovation after a short video tribute played on the scoreboard big screen from the 3,872 spectators in attendance.
    The 19-year-old Edmonton, Alta., product scored two power-play goals in the second period to help power the Winterhawks to a 5-4 victory over the Blades in a highly entertaining WHL regular season game.
    At game’s end, Paterson was named the first star of the contest, and he received another round of applause from the spectators in attendance.
Josh Paterson scored twice for Portland.
    In the Winterhawks dressing room, he was presented military helmet given to the club’s hardest working player.
    Paterson was playing in just his second game with the Winterhawks having been dealt to Portland before the WHL’s trade deadline on Thursday.
    “It was a special night,” said Paterson, who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 205 pounds. “It was a quick turnaround, and they’ve been a great team to me.
    “They’ve welcomed me in like family. I’m just really excited to see where the rest of the season takes me.”
    As Paterson was interviewed, a couple of Blades office staffers walked past and gave him a pat on the back. While he was focused on helping the Winterhawks win a game that was a battle of two of the WHLs top teams, he was touched by the video tribute that played at the 4:15 mark of the first period.
    “It was nice to get recognized,” said Paterson, who played 246 regular season games with the Blades over three and a half seasons collecting 74 goals and 64 assists. “I’ve been here for a long time and had a lot of memories here.
    “It was nice to see that on the jumbotron.”
    Paterson was sent to the Winterhawks along with a second round selection in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft and a fourth round pick in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft to the Blades in exchange for another Edmonton, Alta., product in 19-year-old left-winger Ryan Hughes.
Josh Paterson scores his first goal with the Winterhawks.
    Hughes was held off the scoresheet on Saturday night playing on a line with Blades 17-year-old star centre Kirby Dach.
    Paterson started the contest centring a forword line for Portland that had speedy 18-year-old Mason Mannek at right wing and Highland Village, Texas, product Cross Hanas, who turned 17-years-old earlier this month, at left wing.
    As the night moved on, Paterson was moved to left wing on Portland’s top line playing with star captain Cody Glass at centre and overage star Joachim Blichfeld at right wing.
Blades G Nolan Maier stops Winterhawks C Josh Paterson.
    With the Blades holding a 3-1 lead, Paterson potted his first power-play goal at the 5:13 mark holding his ground in front of the Blades net to cut the host side’s lead to 3-2. The tally was Paterson’s first goal with the Winterhawks.
    Glass and Blichfeld picked up helpers on that tally.
    “It was a nice relief,” said Paterson. “It was always great to score against the old team, and it was even special that it was that quick of a turnaround.”
    Paterson’s second power-play goal was a near copy of his first one, and it tied the contest up at 3-3 at the 8:52 mark of the second. Centre Jake Gricius and Glass picked up assists on that marker.
Mason Mannek had the winning goal on Saturday for the Winterhawks.
    Overall, Saturday’s contest was a high-paced back-and-forth affair. The Blades took a 2-0 lead and held a 2-1 edge heading into the first intermission.
    In the second period, Saskatoon went up 3-1 early in the frame only to see the Winterhawks roar back with three straight goals to take a 4-3 advantage.
    The Blades were able to tie things up at 4-4 heading into the second intermission.
    With 2:30 remaining in the third period, the Winterhawks scored the winning tally. A bad angled shot from defenceman Matthew Quigley hit the toe of Blades star netminder Nolan Maier and sat loose in the crease of the Saskatoon net.
    Mannek was positioned in front of the Saskatoon goal and he knocked the puck into the net to ultimately give the Winterhawks the win. The Herriman, Utah, product had a pair of goals and an assist in Portland’s victory.
Max Gerlach scored twice for the Blades.
    With just over a minute to play, the Blades had a golden chance to tie things up, when left-winger Gary Haden stole the puck from a Winterhawks defenceman in front of the Portland net and quickly fired a shot on goal.
    The glove hand of Winterhawks netminder Shane Farkas robbed Haden from recording a potential equalizer.
    Max Gerlach scored twice for the Blades, while Kyle Crnkovic and Dach had singles.
    Seth Jarvis tallied for Portland with 41.8 seconds remaining in the first period.
    Maier made 34 stops in goal for the Blades. Farkas turned away 35 shots in goal for the Winterhawks.
    “It was a great game,” said Paterson. “There were two of the top teams in the league, and it was great to see that battle.
    “It was very entertaining for the fans.”
Gary Haden had a chance to tie things late for the Blades.
    Saskatoon fell to 26-13-6 with the setback but remains one point ahead of Portland for third overall in the WHL. The Blades were playing their 10th game in 17 days since returning from their WHL Christmas break.
    They return to action this coming Friday, when they host the Regina Pats at 7 p.m. local time at the SaskTel Centre.
    Portland improved to 26-12-3-2 and won five of six outings on a road trip playing all six WHL East Division teams. That road jaunt concluded with Saturday’s win over the Blades.
    The Winterhawks now enjoy six days off. They return to action next Saturday when they host the Everett Silvertips at 5 p.m. local time at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
    Having spent the last two nights staying with the Winterhawks in a hotel, Paterson will spent Saturday night staying with his Blades billet family. On Sunday, he will load up his car and head out to Portland.
The Winterhawks celebrate their victory over the Blades on Saturday.
    “It will be weird waking up and not seeing the same guys in the room every day,” said Paterson. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter here, and it will be a great opportunity for me moving forward.”

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