Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Blades drop wild one in Calgary

Braylon Shmyr scored twice for the Blades on Tuesday.
    It arguably hadn’t been this easy to score since Country Thunder last summer in Craven, Sask.
    On Tuesday in Calgary, the host Hitmen outgunned the Saskatoon Blades 6-5 in a wild-west type WHL regular season affair before 4,868 spectators at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The contest included a missed penalty shot by Hitmen centre Tristen Nielsen and a disallowed goal from Blades centre Josh Paterson for kicking the puck into the goal inside the crease.
    Outside of the scoring, Blades overage captain Evan Fiala bested Hitmen overage centre Conner Chaulk in a second period tilt.
    The setback concluded a three-game road trip for the Blades, who won once over that stretch.
    The two sides traded goals in the first period with star overage winger Braylon Shmyr scoring for the Blades to give the visitors a 1-0 edge, and sophomore left-winger Riley Stotts replying for the Hitmen.
    The second period got really wild. At the 3:28 mark, rookie 17-year-old left-winger Brandon Machado netted his first career WHL regular season goal to give the Blades a 2-1 edge. Just 40 seconds after that tally, Jakob Stukel potted the equalizer for the Hitmen to tie things up at 2-2.
    The Hitmen were awarded a penalty shot at the 7:48 mark, when Blades 16-year-old forward Tristen Robins, who was called up from the Rink Hockey Academy Prep team in Winnipeg, Man., was called for hooking Nielsen down.
Brandon Machado scored his first goal for the Blades.
    Blades rookie netminder Nolan Maier, who turned 17 earlier this month, got a piece of Nielsen’s shot and the puck just went wide of the Saskatoon goal.
    Nielsen scored at the 11:26 mark of the frame to give the Hitmen a 3-2 edge, but Shmyr potted his second of the night for the Blades at the 15:49 mark to force a 3-3 tie. The Hitmen jumped ahead 4-3 at the 17:38 mark of the second, when import defenceman Vladislav Yeryomenko scored on a five-on-three power play.
    Early in the third Paterson thought he scored the equalizer for the Blades, but his goal was waved off after a video review that concluded he kicked the puck into the net inside of the crease of the Calgary goal.
    Hunter Campbell, who is a 16-year-old rookie right-winger, scored for the Hitmen at the 9:20 mark of the third and Jake Kryski added another marker for the host side 42 seconds later to give Calgary a 6-3 lead.
    The Blades attempted to roar back as centre Chase Wouters scored at the 13:21 mark and winger Max Gerlach fired home his 20th goal of the campaign at the 16:53 mark of the third to cut the Hitmen lead to 6-5. The visitors weren’t able to find the equalizer in the final 3:07 of the frame.
    Maier turned away 23 shots to take the setback in goal for the Blades (22-21-2-1). Nick Schneider stopped 22 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Hitmen (14-25-5-1).
Josh Paterson lost a goal after a video review.
    The Blades cashed in on three-of-five power-play chances, while the Hitmen were one-for-four with the man advantage.
    Saskatoon has lost four of its last five games but still holds a seven point lead on the Prince Albert Raiders (16-19-6-2) for the second wildcard berth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. The Raiders have three games in hand on the Blades.
    The Blades return to action when they host the Regina Pats on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre. This marks the first time the Blades have met the Pats, who are hosting this year’s Memorial Cup in May, since the Regina side was made over in the days leading up to the WHL trade deadline on Jan. 10.

Stars’ Leschyshyn hits 100-point plateau

Anna Leschyshyn scored her 100th career SFMAAAHL point on Sunday.
    Anna Leschyshyn hit a major milestone with a big offensive outing for the Saskatoon Stars.
    On Sunday at the Agriplace Arena, Leschyshyn had two goals and two assists to pace the Stars to a 12-1 victory over the Weyburn Richardson Pioneer Gold Wings. With that performance, Leschyshyn became the 17th player in the history of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League to crack the 100-point plateau in regular season play.
    In 80 career regular season games with the Stars, Leschyshyn has piled up 50 goals and 50 assists for 100 points.
    The 16-year-old forward, who has verbally committed to play for the Syracuse University Orange Women’s hockey team for the start of the 2019-20 campaign, is one of three players on the Stars current roster who have scored at least 100 points in their regular season career.
    Grace Shirley has 104 points coming on 60 goals and 44 assists in 75 regular season games. Captain Mackenna Parker had 143 points coming on 72 goals and 71 assists in 97 career regular season games. Parker is the second all-time leading scorer in the history of the SFMAAAHL.
    Both Shirley and Parker helped Canada win a bronze medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Under-18 Women’s World Championship, which wrapped up Saturday in Dmitrov, Russia.
    In Sunday’s win over the Gold Wings, 14-year-old rookie forward Makena Kushniruk had two goals and three assists for the Stars, while veteran forward Kianna Dietz, who turned 18 earlier this month, had two goals and two assists.
    Joelle Fiala had a pair of goals for the Stars, while Jordyn Holmes, Kaitlin Jockims, Jayda Sachs and Jordyn Gerlitz all had singles. Holmes, who has committed to join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team next season, appeared in her 100th career regular season game for the Stars on Sunday.
    Jayden Lindholm had the lone reply for the Gold Wings.
    Jordan Ivanco made 12 stops to pick up the win in goal for the Stars (17-3-1). Amara Lewendon turned away 41 shots going the distance in goal for the Gold Wings (0-19-1).
    Leschyshyn’s father, Curtis, played defence for 16 seasons in the NHL from 1988 to 2004, and her brother, Jake, is a star centre for the WHL’s Regina Pats.
    The Stars return to action on Saturday, when they host the Notre Dame Hounds at 7:45 p.m. at the Agriplace Arena.

Wildcats’ Lind on verge of 100-point mark

Taylor Lind in action with the Wildcats last season.
    Swift Current Diamond Energy Wildcats superstar centre Taylor Lind is set to record her 100th career point in only her second season in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League.
    In just 48 career regular season games, Lind, who turned 16 earlier this month, has piled up 60 goals and 39 assists for 99 career regular season points. The Shaunavon, Sask., product is only the ninth player to score at least 60 career goals in her SFMAAAHL career, and she is trying to become the 18th player to hit the 100-point plateau.
    She turned heads last season winning the SFMAAAHL scoring title piling up 36 goals and 22 assists appearing in all 28 of the Wildcats regular season games.
    Besides climbing the SFMAAAHL’s all-time scoring list, Lind is closing in on becoming the Wildcats all-time leading scorer, and she is looking to pass former teammate Chloe Smith for that distinction. Smith, who now plays for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team, is the Wildcats all-time leading scorer piling up 42 goals and 62 assists in 110 regular season game played from 2013 to 2017.
    Lind has committed to play for the Lindenwood University Lions women’s hockey team, who play out of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division I ranks, at the start of the 2019-20 campaign. Lindenwood University is located in St. Charles, Missouri.
    Lind comes from a strong hockey family. Older sister, Tenelle, is in her 17-year-old season playing defence for the Wildcats and older brother, Kole, is a 19-year-old star right-winger for the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets.
    The Wildcats (10-7-3) return to action on Wednesday, when they travel to Wilcox, Sask., to face the Notre Dame Hounds (13-5).

Canada West women’s hockey goalies combine for 36 shutouts

Jessica Vance has four shutouts for the Huskies this season.
    If you needed extra proof it is the season of the goalie in women’s hockey in the Canada West Conference, all you have to do is look at the goalie statistics.
    In the 80 combined regular season games played to date by the eight teams on the circuit, 36 of them have been shutouts. The University of Saskatchewan Huskies (12-7-1) are the team with the most shutouts at seven. All three of the Huskies goalies this season have picked up shutouts with Jessica Vance leading the way with four, Chloe Marshall has two blanks, and Jasey Book has one shutout.
    Kelsey Roberts of the University of Calgary Dinos has the most individual shutouts on the circuit with five, and her team is seventh in the conference and outside of the playoff picture with a 6-12-2 record.
    This season every team in the Canada West Conference does have strong goaltending, so it will be interesting to see if the shutout totals keep growing over the remaining 32 regular season game left on the schedule.
    In another interesting twist, the voters for the U Sports Top 10 rankings have given the Canada West teams respect for their goaltending play. In this week’s rankings, the defending U Sports champion University of Alberta Pandas (13-4-3) are rated first, the University of Manitoba Bisons (14-5-1) are rated second and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds (14-4-2) are rated third.
    All eight of the teams in Canada West return to action on Friday.

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