Josh Nicholls’ team-leading 36th goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time as his third period tally sent Tuesday night’s tilt against the Swift Current Broncos into overtime.
“We kind of say that we only score in the third so I guess tonight was one of those nights,” said Nicholls about his last minute goal that evened the score at four.
Nicholls wasn’t done there. Because overtime decided nothing, Nicholls showed a flash of skill scoring the only goal in the shootout, propelling the Blades’ over the Broncos 5-4 and extending the Blades’ winning streak to nine games.
The Saskatoon Blades (32-21-0-3) were forced to bend but never broke as they handed the Swift Current Broncos (27-25-3-2) their 25th loss of the season, taking the eight-game season series 5-3.
Matej Stransky had the only goal in the first period potting his 30th of the season. After the game Stransky said he hoped to score 30 this year, now he’s aiming for 40.
If you blinked in the second period you may have missed it all. Duncan Siemens scored his second of the season after a point shot deflected two of three times before finding the back of the Broncos’ net. Twenty seconds later the Broncos responded with a goal by Graham Black.
With just under three minutes to go in the second, Shane McColgan scored his 14th of the season, again giving the Blades a short-lived lead, as Broncos’ forward Chance Lund scored just 10 seconds after, keeping it a one-goal game.
Heading into the third period up 3-2, the Blades gave up an early goal. Black netted his second of the game followed quickly by a short-handed goal by Colby Cave. Black’s assist on Cave’s goal, gave him four points on the night, and the Broncos their first lead of the game.
However it was the Blades’ leading scorer Nicholls who stole the show in the final seconds of the third and the eventual shootout winner as the Blades beat the Broncos 5-4.
Blades head coach and general manager Lorne Molleken said it was a couple of sloppy plays in their end that allowed Swift Current back into the hockey game.
“We lost focus after we went up two goals and they came right back and that’s what good teams do. We stuck with it and obviously they forced some turnovers and we made mistakes and they took advantage,” said Molleken.
Stransky was the setup man for the last-minute goal, he said with the talent his team had on the ice with the extra attacker, he knew they were going to score.
“We kind of knew in our minds that we were going to tie the game and win it,” said Stransky.
“It helps us on the ice and I saw Josh open in front of the net so I passed him the puck and that tied the game.”
The Blades are now tied with Prince Albert for the division lead with 67 points, after the Raiders lost on Tuesday against the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Saskatoon hits the road with a game on Friday in Moose Jaw and then Saturday in Medicine Hat. The Blades are back at the Credit Union Centre on Feb. 18 when they take on the Brandon Wheat Kings.
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