Friday, 18 November 2022

Sidorov snipes OT win for Blades against Tigers

Saskatoon downs Medicine Hat 4-3 for fourth straight victory

Egor Sidorov (#19) celebrates scoring the OT winner for the Blades.
Egor Sidorov has developed a knack for being in the right place at the right time for the Saskatoon Blades.

On Friday night at the SaskTel Centre, the import right-winger was having kind of a quiet night as his club took on the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. In the third period, Sidorov started to put together consecutive dangerous offensive shifts as the two clubs went into overtime deadlocked at 3-3 in a WHL regular season clash.

At the 1:11 mark in the extra session, Sidorov was positioned in front of the Medicine Hat net, when he received a setup pass from Blades centre Jayden Wiens. Sidorov proceeded to dangle around a Tigers checker and sniped home a shot to the low left side of the Medicine Hat goal to deliver the host side to a 4-3 victory to the delight of 3,106 spectators.

Egor Sidorov leads the Blades with four game-winning goals.
The tally was Sidorov’s only goal of the contest, but it was his team leading fourth game winner of the season. While he missed 11 games due to injury, Sidorov, who stands 6-feet and weighs 180 pounds, is still one of the Blades top offensive threats.

He has at least one point in each of the eight games he has appeared in so far this season posting nine goals and nine assists to go with a plus-10 rating. The 18-year-old is following up on a solid rookie campaign in 2021-22 that saw him record 23 goals and 12 assists in 58 regular season games.

Since joining the Saskatoon side, Sidorov quickly became a fan favourite amongst the Blades faithful. The support has only increased as Sidorov decided to live in Saskatoon year round due to the political situation involving his home country of Belarus.

Egor Sidorov has 18 points in eight games for the Blades.
With Belarus supporting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, Sidorov is in a situation where he doesn’t know when he will ever return home. Sidorov had been with the Blades for six months when Russia started its invasion of Ukraine this past February.

Sidorov and the Blades organization know that the skilled forward runs the risk of not being able to return to Canada, if he does return home to Belarus. As a result, Sidorov’s billet family and the Blades team have become a much closer extended family.

When Sidorov is on the ice, it feels like all the worries outside the team environment go away. He wears his heart and enthusiasm for the game on his sleeve. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Sidorov has the most fun on the ice in pretty much every game he plays.

Jayden Wiens had an assist on the Blades OT winner.
Friday’s encounter with the Tigers ended up being one of those fun back-and-forth games that was made for television.

The teams played through a feeling out style and tight checking first period with the Blades holding a 7-6 edge in shots on goal. Right-winger Brendan Lee had a good early chance to score for the Tigers, but his close in shot was turned away by a pad stop from Blades netminder Ethan Chadwick.

The Blades had their best chance to score inside the final minute of the first 20 minutes. While working the power play, Sidorov got the puck at the right boards, cut to the front of the net and fired a shot through a screen that was turned away by Tigers netminder Beckett Langhow.

Brendan Lee had a goal and an assist for the Tigers.
That late first period power play came due to the fact Tigers right-winger Brayden Boehm received a double minor for slew-footing. That infraction will trigger an automatic review for a possible suspension by the WHL office.

Business picked up offensively in the second.

The Tigers broke through at the 6:11 mark of the frame on an offensive zone rush. After entering the Saskatoon zone, Lee chip passed the puck past the Blades defence putting linemate Andrew Basha in the clear. Basha quickly buried his sixth of the season to put the visitors up 1-0.

Just 41 seconds later, the Blades evened the score at 1-1, when right-winger Vaughn Watterodt fired home a shot through a maze of players for his fourth goal of the season.

Blades RW Vaughn Watterodt, left, and Tigers RW Dallon Melin jockey.
At the 10-minute mark of the second, the Blades went ahead 2-1 on a great effort by Mikhail Volotovskii. Volotovskii got into the Medicine Hat zone on a partial break. The sophomore 17-year-old centre fended off Boehm and fired home to the top right corner of the Medicine Hat net to give the hosts a one-goal edge.

Just 10 second after that goal, Blades left-winger Justin Lies and Tigers defenceman Rhett Parsons engaged in a short fight. Both players threw about two punches at each other before falling to the ice.

Andrew Basha scored the Tigers first goal on Friday.
They were each given fighting majors and kind of surprising game misconducts. In that situation, that was a signal by the officials to both teams they weren’t going to tolerate any scraps that night.

With 2:18 remaining in the second, the Tigers were able to even the score at 2-2 thanks to a positive bounce play. Medicine Hat centre Tyler Mackenzie took a stride over his own blue-line and shot the puck into the Saskatoon zone.

The puck deflected off the boards behind the Saskatoon net out to Boehm, who was positioned in front of the Blades net after rushing into the offensive zone. Boehm quickly wired his eighth goal of the season past a handcuffed Chadwick to put the visitors on even terms.

Brandon Lisowsky had a goal and an assist for the Blades.
At the 1:27 mark of the third, the Blades went back in front 3-2 scoring on the power play as star left-winger Brandon Lisowsky one-time home a setup pass form linemate Trevor Wong.

The Tigers didn’t go away. Just 2:29 later, the visitors scored on the power play to even the score 3-3, when Lee one-timed home a setup pass from 17-year-old centre Oasiz Wiesblatt.

That set the stage for Sidorov to come through with his winner in overtime.

Chadwick made 16 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Blades, who improved to 15-4 with a fourth straight victory. Langhow turned away 21 shots to take the extra setback in net for the Tigers, whose record moved to 6-9-4-1.

Ethan Chadwick makes a glove save for the Blades.
Lisowsky had an assist to go along with his goal for a two-point night.

The Tigers return to action on Saturday when they travel to Prince Albert to take on the 7-12-2 Raiders (7 p.m., Art Hauser Centre).

The Blades are off until next Friday, when they host the Winnipeg Ice (7 p.m., SaskTel Centre).

While the contest against the powerhouse Ice will be the Blades biggest challenge of the season, you can expect Sidorov will take that as another opportunity to get out on the ice and have fun soaking in the game he loves. His positive outlook helps give great levity to pressure packed situations during games.

The Blades celebrate their OT win on Friday.
If Sidorov keeps piling up the points, you have to believe NHL scouts are going to come calling. If Sidorov ends up with an NHL club, it would be an ultimate feel good moment.

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