Nathan Burns scored with 5:18 to go in the third period to lift the Saskatoon Blades over the Swift Current Broncos 2-1 on Saturday night. It was the third win in four games for a surging Blades squad that didn’t look like the same team that was outclassed in a 5-3 loss to Swift Current the previous week.
It took until 3:16 of the third period for either team to score as Saskatoon native Andrew Johnson converted a centering feed from Tanner LeSann for his first as a Bronco. The Johnson, LeSann and Zac Mackay line wasn’t able to match up against Saskatoon’s top guns as much without the home advantage of last chance. They still managed to generate momentum for their team and several good scoring chances.
Despite not giving up a goal for the whole game before they scored, Swift Current still allowed Saskatoon to strike back only 46 seconds later. The Broncos took a penalty on the shift following the goal and with Julius Honka in the box for holding Saskatoon quickly struck. Burns won a puck behind the Swift Current net and quickly centered it to Nikita Scherbak for the Russian’s second goal of the year.
Saskatoon got the winner fresh off the momentum of killing off a Bronco power play. A point shot by Nelson Nogier created a rebound that first forced Mackay to haul down a Blade for a delayed penalty and then landed right on Burns’ stick for the game winner. It was the sixth of the season for the veteran forward.
Swift Current went 0 for 5 on the man advantage in a game where they seemed to miss the net more than they hit it on their quality chances. The Blades were 1 for 4.
Both goaltenders played strong games as Eetu Laurikainen was named first star for his 36 save effort that included stopping Scherbak breakaway and robbing Nick Zajac of a sure goal with a stick save on the goal line in the second period. Alex Moodie stopped 29 of the 30 Bronco shots and was very steady for Saskatoon in a winning effort.
Blades Captain Graeme Craig had said before the game that they had chased the puck to the wall too often in their 5-3 loss in Swift Current and had opened up the middle for the Broncos to strike. Saskatoon was a lot more passive defensively in this game and that kept the Broncos stuck out on the perimeter for much of it.
Swift Current’s momentum now seems to have cooled after three straight wins last week and an offensive explosion that had them score twenty goals in their previous four games. They have now only scored twice in their last five periods heading into a crucial home game against a struggling Vancouver Giants squad on Saturday night.
Vancouver has lost seven games in a row including all five outings on their East Division road swing so far. The game is the last for Swift Current before they head out on their five game US Division trip.
We will have the game on The Eagle 94.1 FM starting with our pre-game show at 6:30pm. Puck drop is 7:05pm at the Credit Union iPlex.