A hot start fizzled late as the Saskatoon Blades showed a bit of early season rust in a 5-2 opening night loss to Swift Current.
Two of those five Broncos goals came with the Saskatoon net empty but it was a fitting end to a third period carried by the visitors. With the Blades up 2-1 at the intermission, Swift Current outshot the hosts 17-7 in a four-goal third period.
“We just let them outwork us,” said Blades head coach Dean Brockman “I know it’s early but with our group, we have to get the whole 60-minute effort.”
Caleb Fantillo opened the scoring for Saskatoon in the first period, taking a perfectly weighted pass from Mark Rubinchik and slapping home the one-timer from the low point.
Bradley Goethals scored the other Blades goal, pushing home a loose puck during a goalmouth scramble. It’s the first goal as a Blade for the former Everett Silvertip.
“It felt good,” Goethals said. “(Our line) has some good chemistry, always talking to each other so it’s good being with them.”
The emotions began off the ice for the over 7,200 people at SaskTel Centre. Saskatoon saluted former team captain, police officer, and recently a lawyer in Bruce Gordon. Gordon is battling cancer and was welcomed to a standing ovation for a ceremony featuring his former teammates and policemen.
— Ryan Brandt (@Ryan_Brandt) September 23, 2017
There was also an underlying story revolving around the Blades locker room heading into the game. Saskatoon traded for goalie Ryan Kubic and dealt 2016 MVP Logan Flodell to Swift Current. The very team they faced Friday.
Flodell backed up Joel Hofer in a 23 save victory. Kubic turned aside 27 of the 30 shots he faced in the loss.
“Too bad we lost, but felt good to get the nerves out,” Kubic said, impressing in his Blades debut with several key saves to keep his new team in the game.
Only a bit of bad luck ruined the dream debut, a weird bounce off the boards in the Saskatoon zone led to a game-winning 2-on-1 for Swift Current.
“I think we just got too scrambly and lost our composure but it’s just a matter of dealing with it and stopping the pucks.”
The Blades have a lengthy layoff to prepare for their second game of the season. They host Medicine Hat on Sept. 29. Star centre Cam Hebig will be serving the final game of a two-game suspension incurred during the pre-season.