Sept 20,2014(ISN) – OFF THE TOP: The Saskatoon Blades will open the home portion of their 2014-15 season schedule tonight in the second half of a back-to-back set with the Prince Albert Raiders. Dating back to Mar. 15, 2013, including last night’s 5-3 victory at the Art Hauser Centre, the Raiders have won 10 of the last 11 regular-season meetings between these two teams. In the 2014 pre-season, the teams split a back-to-back set on Sept. 5 and 6, with each team winning on home ice.
LAST GAME – SEPT. 19, 2014: Reid Gardiner and Sawyer Lange combined for five points (3G, 2A) as the Prince Albert Raiders earned a 5-3 win over the Blades on opening night. Nick Zajac, Wyatt Sloboshan and Turner Ottenbreit scored for Saskatoon – the latter pair registering their first-career WHL goals. Troy Trombley appeared in his 50th career game as a Blade, turning aside 39 of 44 shots.
The Blades come into tonight’s game with an 0-1-0 record as a result.
FABULOUS FIRSTS: A pair of Blades scored their first-career WHL goals last night in Prince Albert. Wyatt Sloboshan secured his at 13:25 of the second period, while Turner Ottenbreit found the twine at 10:42 of the third. Sloboshan also recorded his first-career WHL assist, adding the lone helper on Ottenbreit’s tally.
HOME COOKIN’: The fun for people of all ages starts on Saturday afternoon as fans gear up for the Home Opener sponsored by Saskatchewan Blue Cross. A tailgate party begins at 4:00pm, where there will be bouncy castles and shooting targets for the children, while burgers and beer await the older crowd, along with a good dose of music. The fun moves indoors after the doors open at 5:30, where fans can win gift cards to Hudsons or EB Games, and even a one month pass for free classes at Moksha Yoga. They can also buy a ticket to try to win an ATV or an exclusive NHL autographed jersey (all proceeds to the Blades Community Fund).
That ATV will be part of the First Alliance Pre-game Ceremony, which will feature a celebration of community, where a very special presentation will recognize the work of charities across the Saskatoon region. Proceeds from the Blades 50-50 that night will be directed towards the Friends of the Bowl, who have just completed an amazing overhaul of the bowl at Gordon Howe Park. They are still raising money for even more improvements to what is now known as Saskatoon Minor Football Field.
2014-15 LEADING SCORERS:
Wyatt Sloboshan: 1GP-1G-1A-2PTS
Nick Zajac: 1GP-1G-0A-1PT
Turner Ottenbreit: 1GP-1G-0A-1PT
2014-15 SPECIAL TEAMS:
PP: 0% (T-7th); PK: 100% (T-1st)
2014 (PRE-SEASON) LEADING SCORERS:
Wyatt Sloboshan: 5GP-3G-2A-5PTS
Amil Krupic: 5GP-2G-3A-5PTS
Austin Adamson: 4GP: 2G-2A-4PTS
2014 (PRE-SEASON) SPECIAL TEAMS:
PP: 15.2% (9th); PK: 85.4% (12th)
2013-14 LEADING SCORERS:
Nikita Scherbak: 65GP-28G-50A-78PTS
Connor Sanvido: 68GP-16G-24A-40PTS
Cory Millette: 63GP-17G-17A-34PTS
2013-14 SPECIAL TEAMS:
PP: 20.9% (11th); PK: 74.2% (19th)
THERE’S A NEW (BENCH) BOSS IN TOWN: Hired on Jun. 2, 2014, Bob Woods made his Western Hockey League coaching debut last night in Prince Albert. Woods, 46 and a product of LeRoy, SK, brings 13 years of experience and a championship-winning pedigree to the City of Bridges. He won a Calder Cup as an assistant coach with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears back in 2006, and again in 2009 after being promoted to the head-coaching position. Joining the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League as an assistant later that spring, he helped guide the club to a pair of Southeast Division titles and the 2009-10 Presidents’ Trophy with a 54-15-13 record for 121 points. As a player/assistant coach in 1999, Woods won a Kelly Cup with the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves. Assuming the full-time head-coaching position back in 2001, he led the Wolves to 179 wins in 288 regular-season games, emerging as a championship contender in each of his four seasons behind the bench.
Woods was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2012.
Reunited with Bruce Boudreau, with whom he’d be coaching for nearly a decade, Woods spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the NHL heavyweight Anaheim Ducks.
ROOKIE REVOLUTION: Of the 25 players currently on the Blades active roster, 10 are rookies (Schael Higson, Amil Krupic, Turner Ottenbreit, Nolan Reid, Garrett Armour, Chasetan Braid, Wyatt Sloboshan, Nikita Soshnin, Michael Herringer and Trevor Martin). Krupic, an import defenceman, and Saskatchewan’s own Sloboshan led the Blades in pre-season scoring, each recording five points in as many games to round out the exhibition schedule.
HOME AGAIN: Nine players from Saskatchewan, including three from Saskatoon, are on the Blades roster.
RECENT TRANSACTIONS: Acquired 19-year-old D Isaac Schacher from Regina in exchange for an eigth round pick on Sept. 17; Logan Harland was released on Sept. 16; Michael Herringer from Victoria for conditional picks on Sept. 16; acquired ’96-born forward Josh Uhrich from Moose Jaw in exchange for a fourth round pick in 2015 on Sept. 8.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH: The next regular-season win will be the Blades’ 1600th in franchise history.