Thursday, 28 December 2017

Paterson hatty powers Blades comeback win over Raiders

Josh Paterson (#61)  enjoys his hat trick goal with Chase Wouters.
    PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – Josh Paterson admitted it is pretty fun when his Saskatoon Blades can ruin the Raiders parade in Prince Albert.
    The 18-year-old right-winger said his team can hear the heckles of the Raiders fans behind their bench in “Hockey Town North,” and that the Blades players know all about the Art Hauser Centre tradition of playing the Guess Who’s “Runnin’ Back to Saskatoon” any time an elite Saskatoon based hockey team loses in the building.
    On Thursday night, the Blades had the last laugh erasing a 3-1 deficit after the first period to pull out a 6-4 victory to disappoint most of the 2,312 spectators in attendance.
    Paterson was pleased his side could silence the hecklers and put the playing of “Runnin’ Back to Saskatoon” on ice.
    “It makes it pretty extra sweet just to stick it to them,” said Paterson, who had his first career hat trick and an assist in the win. “They are our rivals right up the road, and we like to beat them every time we can.”
    During the first period of Thursday’s clash, it appeared to would be an early New Year’s Eve party night for the Raiders and their fans. 
Josh Paterson had an assist to go with his three goals.
    The hosts jumped out to a 3-1 lead with goals coming from Parker Kelly, Eric Pearce and Carson Miller. Paterson’s first goal of the night provided the lone reply for the Blades.
    The Raiders shelled Blades 16-year-old goalie Nolan Maier holding a 21-12 edge in the shots on goal department in the opening 20 minutes. Maier made a number of big stops to keep his side in the game.
    The Blades found traction at the 4:12 mark of the second period, when centre Chase Wouters knocked home a pass from linemate Braylon Shmyr from across the front of the Prince Albert goal to cut the Raiders lead to 3-2.
    At that point, Prince Albert had chances to pull ahead further, but Maier made robbery stops on Raiders wingers Cole Fonstad and Brett Leason to keep the Blades deficit at one goal.
Braylon Shmyr had two goals and two assists for the Blades.
    With 2:07 to play in the second, Paterson scored from in close for his second goal of the night to force a 3-3 tie.
    Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said the way the second period unfolded played a big factor in the final outcome of the contest.
    “They got that one to make it 3-2, and then we had a bunch of chances to go up 4-2,” said Habscheid. “I thought their goaltender was real good tonight.
    “We couldn’t make it 4-2, and then they tied it. We kind of made a couple of mistakes. They cashed in on them.
    “We had chances, and we didn’t cash in on them. I thought that was the difference.”
    Paterson tucked in his hat trick marker from right in front of the Prince Albert goal at the 3:28 mark of the third to put the Blades ahead 4-3. The Raiders proceeded to have a big chances to get the equalizer, but overage centre Devon Skoleski was stoned on a golden scoring opportunity by Maier.
    With 5:59 to play in the third, Paterson burst down the right wing and fed a pass across the front of the Prince Albert goal, which was knocked home by Shmyr to give the Blades a 5-3 edge.
Parker Kelly had the Raiders first goal on Thursday.
    Leason scored with 1:42 to play in the third to create some drama, but Shmyr sealed the victory with an empty-net goal with 45.6 seconds to play.
    Shmyr had two assists to go along with his two goals, while Wouters had three assists to go along with his tally. The line of Shmyr, Wouters and Paterson combined for 12 points on the night.
    Blades head coach Dean Brockman said his coaching staff got the message across to their players that their effort in the first period wasn’t good, and they needed to play with more energy the rest of the way. The Blades players found another gear after that point.
    “It was the biggest game of the year, and we have to find a way to claw back,” said Brockman. “After that (first intermission meeting), I thought our guys found ways to do things right.
    “When you find ways to do things right, you are probably going to win games.”
    Ian Scott turned away 33 of 38 shots to take the setback in goal for the Raiders. Maier turned away 38 shots to win his sixth straight start for the Blades.
Nolan Maier made 38 stops in goal for the Blades.
    Habscheid said the Blades young netminder deserves high marks for his effort.
    “He (Maier) doesn’t get out of position,” said Habscheid. “He’s always in position.
    “If you are going to beat him, you have to beat him. He doesn’t beat himself. He just stays in position.
    “He is square, and he competes. He’s played well for them.”
    Paterson enjoyed netting his first hat trick, but hewas more excited about how his side played as a whole.
    “I thought we had a great all around team effort,” said Paterson. “Maier was outstanding in the nets.
    “Everyone else contributed really well.”
    Combined with Wednesday 4-2 victory over the Raiders in Saskatoon, the Blades improved to 17-17-2-1 to hold one of the two wildcards spots in the WHL’s Eastern Conference with 37 points.
The Blades and Raiders engage in a scrum.
    The Memorial Cup hosting Regina Pats hold the other wildcard position posting a 17-18-3 record for 37 points in the standings.
    The Pats defeated the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-4 in Regina on Thursday night.
    The Raiders fell to 13-16-5-2 to sit four points back of both the Blades and the Pats.
    Prince Albert has one game in hand on Saskatoon and two games in hand on Regina.
    Raiders 17-year-old left-winger Justin Nachbaur was given a major for cross-checking and a game misconduct in the first period, and those infractions will automatically be reviewed by the WHL office for a possible suspension.
    Blades captain Evan Fiala went down late in the third period after getting hit in the face with the puck on a Raiders shot attempt.
The Blades celebrate their win over the Raiders.
    The overager won’t miss any action.
    “He (Fiala) was getting stitches when I looked in,” said Brockman. “He is a pretty tough competitor.”
    On the milestone front, Shmyr has now scored exactly 200 regular season points in his WHL career coming on 91 goals and 109 assists. The Calgary product has played 265 career regular season games split between the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Blades.
    Russian import defenceman Mark Rubinchik appeared in his 100th career WHL regular season game all with the Blades.
    The Raiders return to action on Saturday, when they host the Pats at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
    The Blades return to action on Saturday, when they travel to Swift Current to take on the Broncos (26-8-2).
    The Broncos fell 8-2 to the Warriors in Moose Jaw on Thursday night.

Hebig signs NHL deal with Oilers

Cameron Hebig signed an NHL contract with the Edmonton Oilers.
    The Blades celebrated some excitement on Thursday morning before the traveled to Prince Albert for their clash with the Raiders.
    Overage centre and Saskatoon product Cameron Hebig signed a three-year NHL entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. Hebig, who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 185 pounds, leads the Blades in scoring with 28 goals and 23 assists.
    In 233 career regular season games with the Blades, Hebig has 85 goals and 101 assists. He missed all of last season with an upper body injury that was never clearly diagnosed.
    Hebig came into the current campaign with the goal of getting himself back on the radar of NHL scouts. On Thursday, he received a big reward for his efforts, and the news was appreciated by his teammates.
    A large number of the Blades players retweeted the news of Hebig’s NHL contract signing on Twitter.

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