(ISN) – OFF THE TOP: The Blades (1-6-0) square off with the Swift Current Broncos (6-5-0) in the first of eight meetings this season. The Broncos, second in the East Division with 12 points, are coming off a pair of shutout wins over the weekend, blanking the Kootenay Ice 5-0 and the Tri-City Americans 2-0 on Friday and Saturday.
Jake DeBrusk led the way in scoring in the back-to-back set, recording three goals and four points. With four goals and 13 points this season, Coda Gordon has the overall edge in team scoring, pacing a Broncos team with four players in double digits, either at or above a point-per-game average through the club’s 11 contests so far. … In 2013-14, the Broncos won five of eight meetings, outscoring the Blades 34-28. … These teams split a pair in the pre-season, with the Blades winning 3-2 at home on Sep. 12, then losing 4-2 on the road in Maple Creek, SK, the very next night.
LAST TIME OUT: In dramatic fashion, the Blades erased a 2-0 deficit, rallying all the way back to defeat the rival Prince Albert Raiders 3-2 this past Saturday at SaskTel Centre, recording their first win of the 2014-15 campaign. Landon Welykholowa, Wyatt Sloboshan and Cory Millette (with the game-winner with 3:59 to play) each scored, while Alex Moodie made 21 saves for the win.
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Moodie is expected to get the call between the pipes tonight. The 19-year-old is coming off Saturday’s win in which he stopped all but two on 23 shots, improving to 1-1-0 with a 4.80 goals-against average and .833 save percentage in 100 minutes of action so far this season. … Moodie appeared in 28 games last season with the Blades, posting a 7-18-2 record, a 4.29 goals-against average and .894 save percentage. The product of Winnipeg, MB, was then dealt to the Spokane Chiefs in May for a conditional fourth round pick in the 2016 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. The Chiefs exercised their option to return Moodie to Saskatoon, which also returns the draft choice back to Spokane. … At the other end, Broncos netminder Landon Bow was recently named the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week after posting a 2-1-0 record, including two shutout victories (a combined 51 saves) with a goals-against-average of 1.00 and save percentage of .961 for the week ending Oct. 12. Overall this season, Bow, a product of St. Albert, AB, has a 6-4-0 record with three shutouts, along with a 2.14 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.
INJURY REPORT: Ryan Graham (mono) will once again be out of the lineup tonight, but could be ready for the weekend when the Blades take on the Red Deer Rebels and Edmonton Oil Kings on back-to-back nights, Friday and Saturday. In 70 games last season, Graham, 18, recorded 15 goals and eight assists for 23 points.
O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN! The Blades announced their 2014-15 team captains on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at SaskTel Centre. Veteran winger Brett Stovin was named as the club’s 55th captain in franchise history. Making his WHL debut in 2010, Stovin is currently in his fourth full season, appearing in 197 regular-season games – all with the Blades. The 19-year-old product of Stony Mountain, MB, has recorded a combined 38 goals and 77 points in his career. Stovin was originally drafted by the Blades in the fifth round – 90th overall – in 2009.
“Brett has proven himself as one of the most respected players in our locker room,” Head Coach and General Manager Bob Woods said. “As a lifetime Blade, his commitment to our organization and to the city of Saskatoon is second to none. I could think of no one more deserving and I have no doubt he’ll succeed in this role, continuing to speak up and provide unparralled leadership for our team both on and off the ice.
The Blades also announced that the alternate captaincy will be shared between Adam Henry, Nelson Nogier, Nick Zajac and Ryan Graham. Henry and Nogier will don the letters exclusively at home, while the latter pair will sport the A’s on the road.
AT A GLANCE:
2014-15 LEADING SCORERS:
Wyatt Sloboshan: 7GP-3G-3A-6PTS
Cory Millette: 7GP-2G-1A-3PTS
Alex Forsberg: 7GP-1G-2A-3PTS
2014-15 SPECIAL TEAMS:
PP: 14.3% (17th); PK: 75.0% (19th)
RECENT TRANSACTIONS: Reacquired defenceman Ryan Coghlan from the Prince Albert Raiders (Oct. 5); claimed forward Landon Welykholowa off waivers from the Calgary Hitmen (Oct. 3); released forward Ty Mappin, who will report to the Olds Grizzlies of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (Oct. 2); assigned goaltender Trevor Martin to Melville of the SJHL (Oct. 2); acquired goaltender Alex Moodie from the Spokane Chiefs, returning a conditional fourth round pick (Oct. 1); acquired defenceman Adam Henry from the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for defenceman Turner Ottenbreit (Sept. 29); acquired defenceman Cole Bevan and a seventh round pick from the Swift Current Broncos in exchange for defenceman Ayrton Nikkel (Sept. 29); released defenceman Tyler Dea and 20-year-old pivot Chase Clayton (Sept. 29); acquired right-winger Sam McKechnie from the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick in 2015 (Sept. 25).
FABULOUS FIRST: Landon Welykholowa scored his first goal as a Blade this past Saturday, wiring a slap shot past Rylan Parenteau at 2:50 of the second period.
Welykholowa joins Wyatt Sloboshan, Sam McKechnie, Amil Krupic and Alex Forsberg as players who have scored their first goal(s) in a Blades uniform so far this season.
HEAD COACH BOB WOODS: Hired on Jun. 2, 2014, Bob Woods made his Western Hockey League coaching debut on Sept. 19 in Prince Albert, collecting his first win on Oct. 11, 3-2 over the the very same Raiders. 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.
CANCER AWARENESS NIGHT: The Saskatoon Blades will be joining the fight against cancer this Saturday, Oct. 18 against the Edmonton Oil Kings at SaskTel Centre.
As part of the initiative, the Blades will be debuting a special-edition, one-off jersey to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research, as well as to honour those who have lost their battle with cancer of all types. Accenting the primary logo, which features a unique Blades crest and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation ribbon, the bottom of the sweater will include the names of friends and family members of the Blades and season ticket holders who have been affected by the illness, all as a special tribute to the cause.
The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off during and after the game, with the proceeds benefitting the C95 Radio Marathon for Breast Cancer Research. All money raised will be donated to the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, funding a number of local research projects.
The Blades will also be supporting the campaign by skating on pink ice at SaskTel Centre, which will be converted from the traditional white canvas following Friday’s game against the Red Deer Rebels. Fans are encouraged to support the cause and help us ‘Pink the Rink’ by wearing pink attire to the game.