It’s not very often a junior hockey team gets a week off, but its especially rare when a team gets a week off at the start of the season.
That’s what happened to the Saskatoon Blades (2-0-0-0) this week after dismantling the Swift Current Broncos with 2-1 and 8-0 victories a week ago.
Kirby Dach was named the Western Hockey League’s and Canadian Hockey League’s (CHL) player of the week for his seven points (three goals, four assists) in those games, and the Blades cracked the CHL top ten rankings for the first time since 2013.
The hype surrounding the team is building each week, but Blades head coach Mitch Love is sticking to the script and focusing on the task at hand.
“The kids have been very eager to want to get better and any coach is going to appreciate that,” Love said. “It’s going to be a day-to-day process.”
“We’re just going to have to stay on top of our details and our habits and make sure our practices are important to us as our games.”
The rest of the team seems to be getting the message. After a career week for the Blades budding NHL prospect, Dach just wanted to get back on the ice and keep showing the league what his team is capable of.
“When we play our way, we’re hard to stop it’s hard to stop,” he said, chosing to focus on his team heading into the weekend. “I think it’s a good thing for our group and we got to stay focused and keep it going.”
Medicine Hat (1-3-0-0) arrives in Saskatoon after losing to the Prince Albert Raiders 5-3 on Friday. Love isn’t reading into the record all that much.
Considering the Tigers have a 12-4-0-0 record against the Blades the past five seasons, that caution might serve him well.
“Typical Medicine Hat team, I like to allude to them as the Portland Winterhawks of the Eastern Conference,” Love said of the Tigers.
“They can turn a game around in a hearbeat.”
Love said the best path to victory is to work hard away from the puck and ‘out skate’ the Tigers speedy offence.
Saskatoon will play five games on the road in the next seven days, starting with a trip to Prince Albert on Sunday.
The Blades return to Sasktel Centre for a five-game homestand on Oct. 12.
— With files from 650 CKOM’s Wray Morrison.