|Fabulous Fridays; Not so Special Saturdays|
|Written by Les Lazaruk|
|Tuesday, 04 December 2012 13:20|
Imagine that, the Saskatoon Blades’ inconsistent ways can be pinned down to a “day of the week” trend…but there really is no good explanation for it!
Fridays continued to be fabulous for the Bridge City Bunch when they skated into the Scotiabank Saddledome and sashayed out this past Friday with an impressive 4-0 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. However, Saturdays are sh…er, not so special as the Blades followed up the Calgary triumph with a weak, 3-0 setback in Red Deer.
Saskatoon won all five games played on Friday in November. The followed those wins up with four Saturday losses…a fitting statistic of .500 hockey on weekends since the Blades have a 13-13-1 record overall!
“For me, it’s just straight inconsistency,” said associate coach Dave Struch. “Until we get that consistency, it’s going to be hard to put a run (of wins) together. We need a run right now to get us back into the top of the (standings).”
As of Monday, the Bridge City Bunch were on the outside, looking in at the Eastern Conference playoffs…their 27 points good for ninth place, one point back of Medicine Hat for the eighth and final post-season berth. However, as has been the case for several weeks, the Blades are a playoff team…based on won-lost percentage. At .500, Saskatoon is tied for fifth in the Eastern Conference because they have at least three games in hand on the seven teams either immediately in front or behind them in the points’ table.
“It’s wanting to be a part of that big winning (streak), too,” explained Struch when it came to what needs to happen for the Blades to get hot. “It’d be nice to experience a 5-6 game effort where we’re playing (well) every night. We haven’t done that yet this year.”
The longest winning streak so far this season is three games for a Saskatoon team that had five runs of at least three consecutive victories last season…including one of eight games and another of five. One of those would be very much welcome for a franchise that continues to be, very much, under the microscope!
UPCOMING GAMES – If you thought the Blades were ready for a long stretch of home games after playing 18 of their first 27 contests on the road…guess again! Saskatoon is home to the Spokane Chiefs tomorrow and Regina Saturday night...both games starting at 7:05 at Credit Union Centre...before playing three consecutive road games in the next week…a Sunday, 2 o’clock matinee in Regina, plus visits to Brandon Tuesday and Moose Jaw Wednesday. The last two outings are 7 p.m. first faceoffs. The radio broadcasts on 92-9, THE BULLstart a half-hour before first puck drop.
ROSTER CHANGES – G-M and head coach Lorne Molleken increased the number of defencemen on the roster by one...out of necessity...prior to playing in Calgary last Friday. Nelson Nogier was placed, permanently, back with the Blades. The 16-year-old Saskatoon product spent a few weeks with the Contacts of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League. Kyle Schmidt is sidelined for more than a month with an upper body injury, suffered late in the final game of the B.C. road trip in Kelowna. In addition, Dalton Thrower continues to be sidelined by an upper body injury. With that in mind, a pair of deals were made to bring in an older, more experienced blue-liner. First, the Bridge City Bunch dealt 17-year-old Brett Lernout to Swift Current for a fourth round pick in the 2013 Bantam Draft, then acquired 18-year-old Shayne Gwinner from Prince Albert for a fifth round selection in 2015. Lernout was a rookie and had played in 18 games. Gwinner played in 51 games last season in Moose Jaw and nine more with the Raiders this season before leaving P.A. Following is the Saskatoon roster as of Tuesday afternoon...
Goalies – Andrey Makarov (93), Alex Moodie (95); Defence – Matt Pufahl (93), Kyle Schmidt (93), Duncan Siemens (93), Graeme Craig (93); Shayne Gwinner (94), Darren Dietz (93), Dalton Thrower (93), Nelson Nogier (96); Forwards – Shane McColgan (93), Adam Kambeitz (92), Matej Stransky (93), Matt Revel (96), Nick Zajac (95), Brenden Walker (92), Josh Nicholls (92), Nathan Burns (93), Logan Harland (95), Lukas Sutter (93), Brett Stovin (94), Ryan Graham (96), Jessey Astles (93);
BLADES PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK – The production finally started to come from an expected source as 20-year-old Brenden Walker had three goals and two assists for five points in the two Bridge City Bunch victories before everyone was shutout Saturday in Red Deer. Prior to the loss to the Rebels, the captain had a three-game goal streak (four scored in the three games), points in six of seven games (six goals and four assists for 10 points) and in eight of 10 games (six goals, 12 points). Overall, the former Brandon right winger has accumulated seven goals and 18 points in 27 games.