The Saskatoon Blades wish every game of the season fell on New Year’s Day after beating the Swift Current Broncos 5-2 Tuesday at Sasktel Centre.
With the win, Saskatoon improved it’s record to 7-1-1 on New Year’s Day since the team started hosting the annual game nine years ago.
Tempers flared Tuesday as a sluggish game became increasingly violent following a 9-3 victory over the same Broncos on Sunday.
In the end, it was big hits and six fighting majors that highlighted the matinee game.
“I guess that’s the new style of 2019,” Love quipped after the game.
After narrowly edging Swift Current 2-1 heading into the second intermission, Love said the Blades found their game in the third period to overpower the lowly Broncos.
“We really started to skate, we started to be around the puck, we started to get pucks more to the net… and got rewarded for it,” he said. “We weren’t quite as sharp as we’d liked to be in the first forty minutes, but credit to our guys, they did a good job in the third period to put the game away.”
Max Gerlach started the scoring on the powerplay in the first period, neatly taking a pass near the Broncos net before backhanding it past goaltender Joel Hofer.
Saskatoon would grab a 2-0 lead the following period after Josh Paterson cleaned up a Kyle Crnkovic rebound at point-blank range.
That’s when the aggression started to show for both clubs.
At 11:48 of the second period, a rare double fight broke out after Saskatoon’s Randen Schmidt lowered the boom with a clean hit on Swift Current’s Quinton Waitzner. As the duo squared up to fight, Zach Huber of the Blades and Matthew Stanley of the Broncos fought right next to them. Stanley and Huber were ejected for starting the second fight on the play.
Swift Current seemed to be energized from the rough play, scoring with 14 seconds remaining in the period before Saskatoon got goals from Kirby Dach, Chase Wouters and Riley McKay to seal the victory.
Dach’s breakaway goal in the third period continued his onslaught against the Broncos this season. Dach now has 11 points in four games against Swift Current.
There was a scary scene in the latter half of the third period as Wouters took a nasty hit in the middle of the ice. Rushing up the ice, Wouters dropped to a knee to get better leverage on a shot before he was hit directly in his head and rattled around a crowd of bodies before landing on the ice. He stayed on the ice momentarily after the play but returned to the game minutes later.
Saskatoon will begin a stretch of four games in five days when they host the Regina Pats on Friday.