The Saskatoon Blades didn’t score more than six goals in any game all of last season.
In Saturday’s home-opener, the Bridge City Bunch almost scored six in the first period, parlaying a 5-0 lead after 20 minutes to an 8-0 triumph over the Swift Current Broncos before 6,637 fans at SaskTel Centre. Coupled with Friday’s 2-1 triumph in Swift Current and the Blue and Gold completed their first home-and-home series sweep to start a season since 2011.
Potential Top 5 N-H-L Draft prospect next June, Kirby Dach (pictured), opened the scoring just 3:52 into the contest. It was the first of four power play goals the Blades scored on the night and kick-started the 17-year-old centre to his first W-H-L hat-trick, plus two assists, for a five-point outing. Add in Max Gerlach’s goal and two helpers and Eric Florchuk’s three assists and Saskatoon’s top line posted 11 points.
“We were a little hungrier around the net and we funneled a lot more pucks, especially early, willing to shoot a lot more earlier tonight than we were (Friday) night,” explained Blades’ associate coach Ryan Marsh. “We were fortunate they started to go in and it set the tempo for the rest of the game.”
Nolan Maier stopped 17 shots for his third career shutout as the Bridge City Bunch out-shot the Broncos 39-17. On Friday, the Blue and Gold held a 36-16 advantage on the shot clock, but were able to solve Swift Current goaltender Joel Hofer early and often on Saturday.
Brad Goethals, Dawson Davidson, Riley McKay…all on the power play…and Jackson Caller added the other goals for the Blades, who had 11 of 18 skaters record at least one point. The Saskatoon power play connected on four of six chances.
The Bridge City Bunch improved their record in home openers to 32-20-1 in their W-H-L history. It was the first home-and-home sweep for the Blue and Gold since taking the first two games of the season against Moose Jaw in 2011. The Blades’ next action is Saturday at home to Medicine Hat. Following is the official game summary…
Swift Current Broncos 0 at Saskatoon Blades 8 – Status: Final
Saturday, September 22, 2018 – SaskTel Centre – Saskatoon, SK
Swift Current 0 0 0 – 0
Saskatoon 5 1 2 – 8
1st Period-1, Saskatoon, Dach 1 (Davidson, Florchuk), 3:52 (PP). 2, Saskatoon, Gerlach 3 (Florchuk, Dach), 5:25. 3, Saskatoon, Goethals 1 (Malysjev, Farren), 10:14 (PP). 4, Saskatoon, Davidson 1 (Dach, Gerlach), 17:10 (PP). 5, Saskatoon, Dach 2 (Florchuk), 18:58. Penalties-Horning Sc (delay of game), 2:38; Wight Sc (charging), 8:35; Pouliot Sc (interference), 16:28.
2nd Period-6, Saskatoon, McKay 1 (Malysjev, Wouters), 13:47 (PP). Penalties-Pouliot Sc (holding), 6:34; Davidson Sas (slashing), 7:11; Waitzner Sc (unsportsmanlike cnd., major-fighting), 12:44; Caller Sas (major-fighting), 12:44; Bafaro Sas (boarding), 16:32.
3rd Period-7, Saskatoon, Dach 3 (Gerlach), 5:30. 8, Saskatoon, Caller 1 (Davidson, Roykas Marthinsen), 10:28. Penalties-Fyten Sc (checking to the head), 8:05; Horning Sc (10-minute misconduct), 8:05; Bafaro Sas (10-minute misconduct), 8:05; Zawatsky Sc (roughing), 19:11; Schmidt Sas (roughing), 19:11.
Shots on Goal-Swift Current 6-7-4-17. Saskatoon 19-8-12-39.
Power Play Opportunities-Swift Current 0 / 2; Saskatoon 4 / 6.
Goalies-Swift Current, Hofer 0-2-0-0 (39 shots-31 saves). Saskatoon, Maier 2-0-0-0 (17 shots-17 saves).
Referees-Allan Scott (38), Bryce Sebastian (64).
Linesmen-Curtis Funk (117), Devan Thiessen (94).