The Saskatoon Blades looked pretty sharp in their Don Cherry “suit-style” jerseys, but neither the nice duds nor the third largest crowd of the season at SaskTel Centre could coax a victory out of the Bridge City Bunch Saturday.
Normally Brandon’s back-up goaltender, Dylan Myskiw stopped 29 of 31 shots to back-stop the Wheat Kings to a 4-2 victory over the Blue and Gold before 5,826 fans on “Suit Up with Don Cherry in support of the Kidney Foundation of Canada night.”
The victory clinched a playoff spot for Brandon. It was their third straight win, improving their record to 37-26-5 for 79 points and holding the Eastern Conference’s first wild-card post-season berth…three points back of Regina and four ahead of Prince Albert. The Raiders rallied to out-last Calgary 4-3 in overtime in P.A. The Raiders’ ninth straight victory gives them 75 points, seven more than the 32-32-4 Blades who have dropped six of their last seven outings. That means Prince Albert’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is two…as in points. Any combination of points gained by the Raiders or lost by Saskatoon totalling two boosts P.A. into the post-season and leaves the Bridge City Bunch on the outside for a fifth consecutive season.
Pressed into service for the third period Friday in a 6-3 home victory over Swift Current when 20-year-old Number 1 netminder Logan Thompson suffered a Lower Body injury, 18-year-old Myskiw made several dazzling stops, including the front end of a game-changing, great save at one end…goal at the other end, exchange. Late in the second period, after Michael Farren to cut the Wheaties’ lead to 2-1, the Blades broke into the Brandon zone while short-handed. But, Winnipeg product Myskiw got his right pad on Gage Ramsay’s one-time shot off Kirby Dach’s cross-crease pass. Off the rebound, Caiden Daley sent Luka Burzan away on a breakaway and the 17-year-old was able to beat Nolan Maier with what turned out to be the winning goal.
“I don’t know how much more we could’ve done,” said Saskatoon head coach Dean Brockman. “The guys did everything they could I think, other than put the puck in the net. I’m really proud of them. After (Friday) night’s (5-4) loss in overtime (to Calgary), that’s a hard thing to do to come back and compete the way they did. The guys deserve a lot of credit. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win and that’s the downfall.”
Stelio Mattheos opened the scoring late in the first period with his 41st of the season and Linden McCorrister made it 2-0 in the second, roofing a shot off a 2-on-1 break. The Bridge City Bunch made the second half of the third period interesting when Josh Paterson tallied on a power play…but Myskiw and the Wheaties killed off another pair of Blue and Gold man advantages, off of “puck over glass” penalties, before Cole Reinhardt scored into an empty net with 17 seconds to play.
The Blades, who out-shot Brandon 31-16, make their way to Western Manitoba for a return matchup Tuesday. Then, it’s off to Swift Current Wednesday before the traditional season-ending home-and-home series with the Raiders…Friday in Prince Albert and Saturday at SaskTel Centre. Following is the official game summary from the WHL...
Brandon Wheat Kings 4 at Saskatoon Blades 2 - Status: Final Saturday, March 10, 2018 - SaskTel Centre - Saskatoon, SK