The Saskatoon Blades playoff hopes are all but gone after a 4-2 loss on Saturday — and it was an unlikely source playing the role of villain at Sasktel Centre.
Brandon Wheat Kings’ seldom used goaltender Dylan Myskiw, only playing because of an injury to starter Logan Thompson Friday in Swift Current, did everything he could to thwart the desperate Blades’ attack.
“It feels great,” he said following his playoff-clinching performance. “It makes our group really happy here knowing that we’re in the playoffs.”
“There’s a few big saves there that helped us out, but our team capitalized on some chances we had.”
The 19-year-old goaltender couldn’t have been more modest in describing his performance.
His efforts came up biggest in the latter half of the second period, where the Blades could have easily converted over a handful of chances, if not for the acrobatic Myskiw.
With The Blades down 2-1 on the penalty kill, Blades forward Kirby Dach raced down the wing, slammed on the breaks and sent a pass over to Gage Ramsay for a tap in one-timer that was saved by the diving Wheat Kings netminder.
With three Blades looking for a goal, Brandon was set up for the game’s turning point as an outlet pass was quickly sent to Luka Burzan for a breakaway as the powerplay expired. Burzan calmly slid the puck through the legs of Nolan Maier for the 3-1 Wheat Kings lead.
“You just wonder, obviously the hockey gods weren’t on our side,” Blades head coach Dean Brockman said following the game.
“We definitely deserved a better fate.”
Myskiw finished the game with 29 saves.
A Josh Paterson goal in the third period got the Blades within one less than seven minutes into the third period.
With the Blades’ net empty in the game’s final moments, Eric Florchuk had the Blades best opportunity to salvage overtime, but couldn’t capitalize on a rush up the ice that sent gasps across a season-best 5, 826- person crowd.
Brandon clinched a playoff spot in the win, while Saskatoon needs a miracle to qualify for the last spot.
Prince Albert beat Calgary on Saturday 4-3 to extend its winning streak to nine games and build a seven point lead over the Blades with four games to go.
Head coach Dean Brockman knows the season might be over in a week, but knows his team is going to compete right until the end.
“We still got lots to play for. There’s a lot of character in that room. The season’s not over and we’ll finish strong. You can bet that group is going to give it all they got,” Brockman said.