The Red Deer Rebels and the Saskatoon Blades both had something to play for on Sunday afternoon in Saskatoon. Red Deer is in a battle with Brandon and Medicine Hat for the last two Wild Card spots. Saskatoon is still trying to lock down a home playoff berth, currently ten points up on Moose Jaw. This game was the definition of playoff style hockey, not a lot of room, physical play and a broken play was the game winner.
A scoreless first period was the battle of Ethan Anders against Nolan Maier. For the third straight game the Blades took a penalty within the first three minutes of the game. Reece Harsch hauled down Brandon Hagel and headed to the box, but the Blades penalty held strong for the tenth straight time. The Blades had a powerplay just a minute later as Alex Morozoff went off for cross checking but wasn’t able to generate much. As mentioned, Ethan Anders played very well in the first period. His best stop came off of a Gary Haden rebound and Anders’ right-handed glove was able to reach back and rob Chase Wouters on the doorstep. Nolan Maier’s best stop came off a two on one and he was able to slide across and stop Rebels Captain Reese Johnson. Both goalies were busy as the shots ended 14-12 in favour of Saskatoon.
In the second period the game seemed to slow down a bit. The only goal came off an error by Ethan Anders. A harmless looking dump in was controlled by Anders, which looked like a routine play, but he missed swiping the puck away and it was Cyle McNabb who was able to take advantage and put home his seventh of the season. Riley McKay and Alex Alexeyev (WSH) unofficially have the slowest fight of the season, McKay missed a punch and both players fell. The shots ended up 9-5 in the period for the Blades.
“It was a fortunate bounce that went my way but ill take it, they all count. The defense made a dump down the ice and I pressured the goalie and luckily it ended up on my stick.” Cyle McNabb on his goal.
In the third period it was all Blades. In fact, the Rebels didn’t even record a shot on goal despite a powerplay chance. The physical play picked back up but the Rebels best chance came on an odd man rush which was cleared away from the crease from Dawson Davidson. The final shots were 33-17 Saskatoon. Nolan Maier was able to get his second straight shutout
“I think I got pretty lucky, all the action kind of came at the start of the first period so it was easy to settle in. We didn’t allow a shot in the third and obviously that’s a congratulations to my team and how we’ve worked on our defense here and its showed off,” added Nolan Maier.
“Our guys did a hell of a job tonight, that’s a really good hockey team that really make you work and compete and I thought we matched it today and we needed to if we wanted to beat that team. It was a good hockey game with a bit of a playoff feel.” said Blades Head Coach Mitch Love
The Blades faceoff against likely first round opponent Moose Jaw on Tuesday. A win of any kind will clinch home ice, second in the East Division.