Blades and Pats Warm Up for Possible Playoff Battle

By Tyler Neisz

The Saskatoon Blades headed on the road for a battle with their
southern rivals on Wednesday. The matchup was a key one for the Blades as
they began the day in a tie with the Prince Albert Raiders for the fourth
and final playoff spot in the WHL’s East Division. The Blades were coming
off a successfull weekend at home in which they defeated the Pats 2-1 and
the Hitmen 4-2.

However, the Blades would have their work cut out for them
tonight as they entered the contest on a 6 game road losing streak and
hadn’t one a game since defeated the Raiders on January 24th. The Pats
entered tonights game on a 5 game home ice winning streak. The Pats also
had extra motivation because a Pats win would mean 400 career wins for Pats
head coach Bob Loews. So everything seemed to stack up against the Blades
tonight but you can throw all that out the window.

The first period was a very sloppy period as both teams seemed to miss
several passes thus causing many icings and offside calls. The period
remained scoreless until the 14:33 mark when Pat captain Garth Murray
crashed the net and had a Blade clearing shot bank of his leg and into the
net for a 1-0 Pats lead. Shots in the first were 11-10 Regina. The Blades
controlled the second stanza outscoring the Pats 3-1. However, Matt
Hubbauer was able to score a weak goal as he gained the zone with speed and
fool Blades goaltender Mike Garnett with a shot that glanced off Garnett’s
glove. Cue the comeback. Tim Preston scored to get the Blades on board
just under 2 minutes after Hubbauer’s marker.

Then on a Regina Pats power
play, Willy Glover was able to sneak in all alone and score to tie the game
at 2 apiece. That goal by Glover ended a personal 13 goaless drought. The
game winner came on a Blades power play with under 3 minutes in the 2nd as a
Justin Kelly point shot eluded Pats goaltender Josh Harding. Kelly also
ended a personal goal scoring drought, the goal was Kelly’s first in 10
games and first since being named CHL player of the month for January.

With the win, the Blades move 2 points up on the Prince Albert Raiders
with a game in hand. The Blades and Pats had 26 shots apiece in the game.
The Blades went 1 for 7 with the man advantage while the Pats were 0 for 5.
The Blades improve to 4-1-1 vs the Pats this season and will play host the
Pats on Saturday followed by a key matchup at Sask Place vs the Raiders on