The winning streak was going to end at some point and it did last night at the Credit Union Centre as the Saskatoon Blades skated away with a 4-3 victory, ending the Portland Winterhawks win streak at 10 games.
The Blades came out flying in the first period and capitalized twice on the man advantage to take a 2-0 lead after one period on power play goals by Marek Viedensky and Connor Cox. The Blades out shot the Hawks 20-5 in the frame and Mac Carruth kept Portland in the game early when the Hawks weren’t at their best.
In the second period, the Hawks found their stride and got back within a goal when Ty Rattie wristed a shot home from the slot set up by Sven Bärtschi, who extended his personal point streak to 14 games.
At the start of the third, the Hawks got an early power play and Riley Boychuk pounded home a shot from in tight to tie the score and in the scrum, Boychuk was knocked into Saskatoon goaltender Adam Morrison who had to leave the game. Troy Rutkowski’s power play wrister off the rush would give the Hawks the lead for the first time halfway through the period past Steven Stanford but the Blades would rally.
Again, it was the power play that struck for Saskatoon as Josh Nicholls was left alone in front and he made no mistake to tie it at 3-3. With a little over two minutes remaining the Hawks had a great chance to regain the lead off a two on one rush with Bärtschi setting up Rattie but Stanford would make his best save of the night to keep it out.
Under a minute later, the Blades got a two on one of their own and Curtis Hamilton tipped it just inside the post for the game winner.
Off the ice, the Gene Simmons/Shannon Tweed offered an interesting side light to the game and the big crowd was good to see for the game on Shaw TV. It was also good to catch up with Joey Kenward and Kirk Fraser who worked the Shaw game and former Winterhawks Kelly Friesen and Chris Jacobsen. Jacobsen is coaching the Saskatoon Contacts where Hawks bantam selections Taylor Leier and Branden Scheidl are playing. Friesen has his own cabinetry business in Saskatoon and is doing very well.
For me, it was a frustrating night trying to host the live blog as the Internet was spotty at best in the press box but, I think that turned out OK. With the Internet battles, I only took a few photo’s…here they are”