The Saskatoon Blades went 45-15-8 last year during their 68-game regular-season schedule. That earned them the second spot in the East Division heading into the playoffs. Their first-round match up came against the Moose Jaw Warriors, a team that won 40 games in the regular season and were led by Tristan Langan and Josh Brook.
A long series was expected, one full of big hits, big goals, big saves, and all that comes with a great playoff series. However, that wasn’t the case. The only team that was scoring big goals in the series was Saskatoon. They scored 13 goals as they swept their way past Moose Jaw in four games.
The series began on this day, March 22, last year, so let’s take a look at Game 1.
Chase Wouters was the hero in overtime as Saskatoon erased a 2-1 deficit heading into the third period to edge Moose Jaw, 3-2.
After an opening frame that saw no goals, Kaeden Taphorn and Eric Alarie scored their first goals of the playoffs as Moose Jaw took a 2-0 lead on the road. Tristen Robins and Nolan Kneen set up Max Gerlach who cut that deficit in half heading into the third period.
In the third, Riley McKay scored his first of the playoffs to send the game into extra hockey. Wouters played the hero as Saskatoon completed the come back in front of a crowd of more than 5000 fans.
Saskatoon went on to win game two on home ice and both games in Moose Jaw to sweep the series. They would then run up against the Prince Albert team in the next round and they came up short. Of course, the Raiders ended up winning the Western Hockey League championship.
Prior to last year’s game on March 22, the last time the Blades played on this day came in the 2013 playoffs. Playing against Medicine Hat, Saskatoon had no answer as they were swept in four games.
Game Two: March 22, 2013.
Despite having home-ice advantage, the Blades lost Game 1 the night before. They had a chance to split the first two games and they put up 42 shots in Game 2. However, Cam Lanigan was a brick wall. He stopped every shot in a 3-0 win for Medicine Hat. The Tigers win gave them a 2-0 series lead.
Trevor Cox, Miles Koules, and Tyler Lewington scored for Medicine Hat in the win.
Heading back to Medicine Hat for games three and four, the Tigers erupted for eight goals in the two games as they brought out the brooms to advance to the next round.
Game Two: March 22, 2003.
Playing against Moose Jaw in the first round, Saskatoon took the first game of the series. The Warriors had home-ice advantage so they were looking for a split before heading back to Bridge City for games three and four and that’s exactly what Moose Jaw got.
The Warriors came out on fire as they scored three goals in the first period compared to Saskatoon’s one. David Bararuk, Michael Busto, and Derek Krestanovich scored the markers. Ryan Keller responded for Saskatoon.
The Blades followed up a slow first period with a fantastic middle frame as they scored three times while holding Moose Jaw off the scoreboard as they took a 4-3 lead heading into the third. Marcus Paulsson, Wacey Rabbit, and Keller scored, it was Keller’s second of the night.
Nathan Paetsch and Jon Kress would tally markers for Moose Jaw in the third as they skated off with a 5-4 win to tie the series at one.
Moose Jaw would end up winning the series in six games.