Blades travelling first class
win sixth straight; Blades 3, Hitmen 1. Blades 4, Rebels 2
Cory Wolfe, The StarPhoenix
Published: Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Kelly Chase and Wendel Clark are two decades removed from playing with the Saskatoon Blades, but they're beaming about the team's current six-game winning streak.
The pair met Sunday in Toronto when Chase, a radio commentator for the St. Louis Blues, arrived to prepare for Monday's broadcast from Air Canada Centre.
"Wendel picked up Chaser and they looked to see that the Blades won again (4-2 Saturday in Red Deer)," said Blades coach-GM Lorne Molleken. "So Chaser phoned to congratulate us and said to tell all the guys how proud him and Wendel are that they're playing well."
The high-profile kudos certainly didn't hurt.
Saskatoon (7-4-0-0) went on to cap its three-games-in-three-nights swing through Alberta by beating the Calgary Hitmen 3-1 Sunday. The Blades' current streak is their longest since the 2006-07 season when they won seven straight from Dec. 13 to Jan. 1.
"When you look around the locker-room, you see the character and determination that's in their eyes," Molleken said of his charges. "They're playing with a tremendous amount of courage -- paying the price to make a play, blocking shots and everything like that."
Burke Gallimore, with his team-leading seventh goal, Gaelan Patterson and Stefan Elliott (empty-netter) scored Sunday. Meanwhile, rookie goaltender Adam Morrison stopped 22 shots in his first start since blanking the Prince Albert Raiders 1-0 on Sept. 20.
Ian Schultz scored for the Hitmen (7-3-0-0) who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
"We're playing a real strong team game -- a real exciting brand of hockey -- and everybody is contributing," said Molleken.
The line of Gallimore, Derek Hulak and Milan Kytnar led the attack Saturday with a combined six points. Gallimore potted two goals, while Walker Wintoneak (shorthanded) and Travis Toomey also scored on Saskatoon product Darcy Kuemper.
Blades netminder Braden Holtby stopped 25 shots to pad his already-impressive October stat line (2.00 goals-against average, .924 save percentage).
The Blades visit the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday for a game that suddenly carries the label first-place showdown. Swift Current (8-2-0-0) leads the 12-team Eastern Conference and already owns a pair of one-goal victories over Saskatoon.
BLADE BITS: Chase, who was recently diagnosed with a lesion on his brain, is feeling well, reported Molleken. . . . Blades assistant coach David Struch collected his second WHL coaching victory Saturday in Red Deer. Molleken rejoined the team Sunday after attending his nephew's wedding Saturday in Regina. . . . Former Blades captain Colton Gillies recorded an assist in his NHL debut Saturday and helped the Minnesota Wild beat the Boston Bruins 4-3. . . . Saskatoon product Jordan Knackstedt, 20, has signed an entry-level pro contract with Boston, meaning he won't be back with the Moose Jaw Warriors. Knackstedt is currently assigned to the Bruins' AHL affiliate in Providence, R.I.
© The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2008