With an outside shot at a playoff spot the Saskatoon Blades beat Prince Albert 5-3 Friday night at SaskTel Centre.
Seconds after that win, the Calgary Hitmen took down the Kootenay ICE 6-1, eliminating Saskatoon from playoff contention.
After Prince Albert opened the scoring, Jesse Shynkaruk got the Blades on the board in what will be his final goal as a Blade at SaskTel Centre.
“It’s tough to see this come to an end,” said an emotional Shynkaruk, fighting back tears. “I saw my family up there knowing I won’t be back and the emotions came.”
Braylon Shmyr, Michael Farren and Gage Ramsay added to the scoring in the second period. Farren’s wrist shot over the shoulder of Raiders goalie Nicholas Sanders would result in a swap in net with Ian Scott taking over.
As news of a Calgary lead over Kootenay spread in the room after two periods, the Blades struggled early in the third. Prince Albert fought back to make it a one-goal game until a Josh Paterson empty-netter at the buzzer sealed the deal.
It was an odd ending to the night as the celebrations turned to silence and the final seconds ticked by on the Blades playoff hopes.
“We knew what the stake was and I give them credit in the third, knowing what the score was to get the win,” said Blades head coach Dean Brockman.
“We never used the adversity as an excuse and we came close to one of our goals but close doesn’t count.”
Some of that adversity includes untimely injuries to star players, losing role players down the stretch, captain Wyatt Sloboshan being traded and star centre Cam Hebig not playing a single game.
“Being told we would be last in the league we really showed people what we can do and the team we have today would have made a playoff run,” said defenseman Bryton Sayers, who along with Markson Bechtold and Jesse Shynkaruk will play their final WHL game Saturday in Prince Albert.
“It’s crushing to say goodbye but I end it all off in my hometown.”