The Saskatoon Blades proved not all wins have to be pretty, beating the Regina Pats 2-1 in overtime Friday.
A rather sleepy affair took over Sasktel Centre as both teams struggled to string together consecutive passes or long stretches of possession.
“We’ll take a win, we need the points,” Blades head coach Mitch Love said plainly.
“I thought our execution and our compete level just wasn’t there.”
In the end, it was an ill-timed penalty that helped the 3,336 people in attendance forget the choppy game.
Nikita Sedov took an interference penalty with 41 seconds remaining in the game to send the Blades on the powerplay as overtime began. Blades rookies Kyle Crnkovic would end the game just 1:19 later with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle to begin the celebration.
“It was obviously an awesome feeling. That’s a good team and they battled us hard all night, so to get the two points was awesome.”
Love says no matter what, his team will need to be more prepared for Saturday’s quick turnaround against the Prince Albert Raiders.
“(Regina) works their tails off. They’re heavy, they’re competitive,” Love said.
“We weren’t willing and were ready to battle tonight.”
Regina entered Friday’s game after completing four trades during the week.
Pats coach and general manager John Paddock sent Jadon Joseph, Scott Mahovlich and Marco Creta in different trades as the team looks to recoup assets after last year’s Memorial Cup run.
Not helping matters in the offensive department was the absence of Blades’ leading scorer Kirby Dach, who was seen limping with a brace on his leg at Thursday’s practice.
Love said a dynamic scorer like Dach is exactly what the Blades needed to open up the close-checking game.
“He makes things happen, he makes people around him better and I thought we missed (Dach) tonight for sure.”
Max Gerlach ended the scoring deadlock 13:16 into the second period when he took advantage of a streaking Dawson Davidson on a 2-on-2 and fired the puck over the blocker of Pats goaltender Max Paddock for the 1-0 lead.
The Pats would pull even in the third period with Blades newcomer Reece Harsch in the penalty box for slashing Austin Pratt during a breakaway.
Pratt would make the Blades play on the ensuing powerplay as he wired a shot from the right point off the post and in to earn a 1-1 tie 4:38 into the third period.
The Blades are now on a three-game win streak.
Blades defenceman Nolan Kneen was injured less than five minutes into the second period as he reacted to a turnover at his own blueline. He did not return and it’s unclear what the extent of his injury is.