Cameron Hebig returned to the WHL exactly how he wanted to, a win and a goal as the Saskatoon Blades downed Calgary 5-4 Saturday night.
“After the game, I was like ‘yeah, it’s good to be back’,” Hebig said.
His tip-in on a Libor Hajek point shot in the second period was Hebig’s 1st goal since March 19, 2016, the last WHL game he played.
Hebig missed all of 2016-17 with an injury and the opening two games of this season due to a suspension.
“Wasn’t pretty but it’s nice to get the first one out of the way,” Hebig said. “It’s been such a long time, a lot of waiting and a lot of grinding.”
Cameron Hebig post-game: “It’s nice to be back. It’s been such a long time, it’s been a lot of waiting and a lot of grinding.” pic.twitter.com/KYBrQLJyJC
— Saskatoon Blades (@BladesHockey) October 1, 2017
Hebig’s play defined the game, his obvious quality seemed to raise the level of play for the Blades early on. Despite some bounces keeping Calgary in it, Saskatoon owned the puck and heavily outshot the Hitmen for most of the night.
But like the star centre’s goal, it wasn’t a pretty win. Against the grain, Calgary scored twice on their first three shots and four times over twelve total shots heading into the third period.
“Pretty scrambly but a win is a win,” said Blades head coach Dean Brockman. “When you turn the puck over too many times it’s going to bite you but hopefully we find a bit of chemistry because I think that was part of it.”
On the flipside, Brockman is pleased with the chemistry found with fellow 20-year-olds Hebig and Braylon Shmyr, who was the game’s first star with two goals and an assist.
“We nicknamed them Batman and Robin because they are a dynamic duo.”
With the three-point night, Shmyr was quick to pass on the praise to the return of his centreman.
“He’s a really good player, he knows how to find me, it’s great to have him back,” he said.
Caleb Fantillo and Kirby Dach had the Blades other goals. Ryan Kubic bounced back from a shaky start to turn away all 11 shots he faced in the third period, making 19 saves on 23 Calgary shots.
The Blades return home on Friday, Oct. 6 to host the Swift Current Broncos at SaskTel Centre.