Saskatoon, SK – After returning home from their first road trip of the season the Blades went into Wednesday night hoping to treat fans to a win on home ice, but that certainly wasn’t the case. The visiting Vancouver Giants doubled up on the Blades 6-3, the opposite of the Blades record who fall to 3-6-0-0 on the year.
Under two minutes into the game and with the puck behind the Saskatoon goal line, the Blades tossed the puck straight up the middle of the ice leading to a turnover right onside of their defensive blueline. Vancouver, sensible enough not to look a gift horse in the mouth, took advantage of this early opportunity to open the scoring on their first shot of the night scored by Milos Roman.
Cycling the puck effectively around their offensive zone on a late power play, the Blades fed the puck to Cam Hebig time and time again. After being turned away each time before, Hebig finally ripped in a laser on this third attempt from the right face-off circle with 1:13 left in the first period. Tying up the game 1-1, Hebig was assisted on the play by Brad Goethals and Seth Bafaro.
For the second period, the Blades came out of the gates hard and fast. 21 seconds in Libor Hájek scored his third goal of the season with a tip in set up with a one-two play and finished a simple cross crease pass from Braylon Shymr. The secondary assist was awarded to Jackson Caller. Unfortunately, the Giants too came out of the gates hard and fast, tying the game 2-2 fourteen seconds Hájek’s goal courtesy of Brendan Semchuk.
With 4:23 left in the second period, Vancouver took the lead for the second time of the night. After the Blades failed to clear the zone, the Giants transitioned swiftly back into attack as Brad Morrison took the puck hard to the net before releasing a shot from close range. Kubic made the initial save, but both Blades’ defenders were drawn to Morrison, leaving Tyler Popowich open to collect an easy goal from the rebound.
At the 6:58 mark of the third period, the Giants took a 4-2 lead. After Kirby Dach was just unable to stretch out far enough to receive an excellent Gage Ramsay pass, Vancouver’s transition game once again punished the Blades. Catching the Blades on a 2 on 1, the James Malm took advantage by dangling diagonally across the zone and pulling Kubic out of position before scoring high in the right corner of the net.
Brendan Semchuk added to the lead with his second of the night coming on the power play to make it 5-2 Giants. The Blades pushed back as Cam Hebig collected his second goal of the game, but it wasn’t enough. Vancouver added an empty netter to leave Saskatoon with two points.
The Blades will have to figure things out before their next game which goes this Saturday in Prince Albert. The Raiders currently sit 3 points ahead of Saskatoon in the standings, the same spread that the Blades missed the playoffs by last season.