Saskatoon Blades @ Swift Current Broncos
Tonight’s game is the fourth of eight regular season meetings this season between the Saskatoon Blades (29-8-0-1) and the Swift Current Broncos (19-22-0-1). The Blades and Broncos will get quite familiar with each other this month as tonight’s game is also the first of five times these two teams will face-off against one another in the month of January.
The Blades have won all three of the previous meetings vs. Swift Current by scored of 5-4 on November 3rd in Swift Current, 6-2 on November 23rd in Saskatoon, and 3-1 on December 7th also in Saskatoon. Josh Nicholls (3G 3A) and Duncan Siemens (1G 5A) lead the Blades offensive attack vs. Swift Current having each picked up 6 points each in the three games played vs. their divisional rivals. For the Broncos, Justin Dowling has picked up 3 points (1G 2A) against the Blades this season.
Blades Last Game
Saturday's Red Deer Rebels' visit to Credit Union Centre sort of resembled their last one. In Game 2 of the Rebels-Saskatoon Blades' opening round playoff series, back on March 21, Red Deer forward Josh Cowen received a game misconduct for bowling over Bridge City Bunch goaltender Steven Stanford in his crease. Saturday, Cowen was at it again, sucker-punching Blades' star defenseman Stefan Elliott...seconds after Saskatoon centre Lukas Sutter instigated a fight with star Red Deer forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. That fight followed Nugent-Hopkins high-sticking Sutter in the head. Cowen received a game misconduct for his attack on Elliott and will face supplementary discipline from the W-H-L.
The other thing that resembled Saturday's game from the March playoff game was the result...the Blades bounced the Rebels 7-3 for their fifth straight victory and ninth consecutive home-ice success. A crowd of 4,124 saw Elliott score the winning goal, his ninth game-decider of the season. Fellow rearguard Dalton Thrower scored twice, centre Marek Viedensky had a goal and two assists while Matej Stransky, Darian Dziurzynski and Chris Collins also tallied for the Blades. Steven Stanford stopped 40 shots as he improved his personal record to 19-2 for the season.
- The Blades are still without the services of 3 players who are away participating in international competitions. Curtis Hamilton is with Team Canada at the World Juniors in Buffalo and has scored 3 goals in Canada’s 4 games played thus far. Ryan Olsen and Levi Bews are both with Team Pacific at the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge being held in Winnipeg. Through 3 games played, Olsen has collected 3 points (2G 1A) and Bews has picked up 2 points (1G 1A).
- Last Wednesday Duncan Siemens was named one of 13 WHL players invited to participate in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Toronto on January 18th and 19th. Siemens is having a tremendous sophomore season having already collected 23 points and an impressive +20 rating through 37 games played this season.
By The Numbers
- Stefan Elliott has picked up goals in 4 of the Blades last 5 games and has been credited with the game winner in three of those games. With his 2 points last night, Elliott became the league leader in points by a defenseman with 37. Elliott already is also the league leader in goals by a d-man with 16 and GWG with 9.
- Blades 17 year old forward Lukas Sutter is currently tied for 9th overall in the WHL in Penalty Minutes with 96. A former 2nd round bantam pick of the Blades in 2008, Sutter has picked up 11 points in his rookie season thus far including 2 game winning goals.
- Since being acquired by the Blades on November 3rd, Chris Collins has become almost a point a game performer. In 22 games in a Blades sweater, the 18 year old Calgary native has picked up 21 points (8G 13A). Collins first game as a Saskatoon Blade was in Swift Current, a game in which he picked up a goal and an assist to help the Blades to victory.- The Saskatoon Blades enter tonight’s game riding a 5 game winning streak and have won 8 of their last 9 games played. During that time, the Blades have outscored their opponents 36-20.