The streak of home wins for the Calgary Hitmen ended Monday when the Saskatoon Blades came into town and laid a beating on the Hitmen in the Saddledome. Road teams remained victorious between these two clubs, as the last time the winner was a home team was during the 2017-18 campaign. Although the Hitmen were without James Malm and Ty Carriere due to injuries as well as Adam Kydd due to suspension, it was ultimately Saskatoon’s special teams that assured the victory for the away side.
The first frame of this meeting between the visiting Saskatoon Blades and Calgary Hitmen was all Blades. Despite an even shot total of 11 for both clubs, it was the Blades’ overwhelming offense that gave them the edge. Tristen Robins opened the scoring when a loose puck from the stick of a Hitmen player found him in the slot, which he ripped past Carl Stankowski. Soon after, Calgary was forced to kill a penalty, during which they managed to limit the Blades’ zone entry. However, with just three seconds remaining on the man advantage, Riley McKay used his solid frame to drive the net and create a rebound for Eric Florchuk to roof past Carl Stankowski. Florchuk added two more goals later in the period to record a natural hat trick before Mark Kastelic scored to cut the deficit to three heading into the locker room. Jonas Peterek also managed to pick up his first career WHL point as he and Riley Stotts provided the primary and secondary helpers.
The second period began with yet another tally from a more unlikely name in terms of offensive contribution. Defenseman Majid Kaddoura threw a puck on net from the right point that fooled Carl Stankowski 1:37 into the frame. The first goal of the season and second of Kaddoura’s WHL career signaled the end of Stankowski’s night as Jack McNaughton stepped in. Calgary continued to press after Saskatoon restored the four-goal lead. However, Nolan Maier was solid when he needed to be as the blades took a 5-1 lead into the second intermission.
Despite the solid offensive push by the Hitmen late in the second, the momentum did not transfer over into the third. Tristen Robins was able to capitalize on a slot wrist shot just 1:31 into the period for a power-play goal — his second tally of the afternoon. Calgary’s frustration began to boil over soon after which gave Saskatoon another power play and once again a goal, this time scored off a deflection by Chase Wouters from a Nolan Kneen point shot. The Hitmen pushed back with just over five minutes remaining. However, a goal from Orca Wiesblatt and Mark Kastelic’s second of the afternoon proved to be far too little too late. Jayden Wiens and Cyle McNabb added goals for the Blades late in the frame which extended the score to 9-3.
• The Hitmen were 5-for-12 on the penalty kill in the last two games.
• The Blades went 3-of-6 on the power play while killing off all 5 penalties.
• Florchuk, Kaddoura, McKay, Robins, Wiens, and Wouters were Blades with multi-point performances, while Mark Kastelic was the only Calgary skater to do so with two goals.
• The Hitmen fall in back-to-back games for the first time this season.