The Saskatoon Blades carved out a 4-0 win over the Calgary Hitmen on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The evening featured the first meeting of the season, as the two clubs split the four game series during the 2010-11 campaign.
As hosts of the 2013 Mastercard Memorial Cup, the Blades have had a lackluster start to the year, entering into the game with a 12-12-0-1 record. They would exit the building over the .500 mark as they fired 38 shots on Chris Driedger and managed to smother the Hitmen offence. Russian netminder, Andrey Makarov made 25 saves for the visitors for his second shutout of the season.
Hitmen captain, Cody Sylvester, made no excuses following the loss. “We want to have a much better game than that, you have to give credit to their goaltender who stood on his head tonight.”
After plenty of end-to-end opportunities to begin the game, the Blades settled in as Matt Revel lit the lamp just under halfway through the opening 20 minutes.
“I thought the way we started off was good, guys were hammering pucks and we were doing things right but we just fell away from our game,” described Sylvester.
Less than a minute later Calgary found themselves in a 2-0 hole as a miscue in front of the net left the gaping cage wide open for Josh Nicholls.
As the game progressed, the situation went from bad to worse for Calgary as Saskatoon added two second period tallies and effectively stifled the Hitmen in the closing stanza.
The Hitmen are now third in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the leading Prince Albert Raiders, with three games in-hand.
Calgary returns to action on Sunday, December 2 when they host the Kootenay Ice in the 18th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss, with a 2 p.m. puck drop. Tickets are still available at all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Saddledome box office for as low as $10 for adults and $5 for children (plus GST and SFPFF). Order online at www.ticketmaster.ca or by phone at 1-855-985-5000.
Fans are encouraged to come early and are asked to bring a new small or medium-sized stuffed toy to toss onto the ice when the Hitmen score their first goal. This year more than 25,000 teddy bears have been requested by over 50 local agencies including the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Boys and Girls Club of Calgary, YWCA, Red Cross, Salvation Army and Calgary Food Bank. Since 1999, the Hitmen have donated more than 192,000 bears to the Calgary community.