Blades Edge Raiders 3-2 in OT to Open 2019-20
Prince Albert, SK - The Saskatoon Blades (1-0-0-0) have won their first game of the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season, edging the Raiders (0-0-1-0) 3-2 in overtime on Friday night. The hard-fought win in Prince Albert was the first at the Art Hauser Centre by the Blades since March 16th, 2018.
Overage F Ryan Hughes had his hand in all three of Saskatoon's goals, including scoring the overtime game-winning-goal just 17 seconds into the extra-period. Hughes also earned a pair of secondary assists, both on the power-play, for each of the Blades' other two goals. He finished the evening with three points and led the game in scoring.
The Blades Raiders rivalry hadn't lost any steam over the off-season as the game opened with a tense, physical and scoreless first period.
The scoring opened in the second segment of play, with the Blades' first goal of the night sandwiched on both sides by Prince Albert goals. Trailing the Raiders at the midway point of the match, Tristen Robins buried the puck into the back of the net on the power play courtesy of a fortuitous rebound created by a Nolan Kneen shot, tying the game 1-1.
Then, trailing at the half-way point of the third period, the Blades tied the game 2-2 through a Scott Walford power-play goal from the point. In his first regular season appearance with Saskatoon, Walford was fed the puck by Robins on the blue-line, which he then walked before unleashing a seeing-eye-shot. The goal was Walford's first in Blue & Gold.
The scores remained level through regulation before Hughes carried the puck end-to-end and beat the Raiders' netminder high glove-side.
Nolan Maier was steady as the starter in net, turning aside 18 of the Raiders' 20 shots.
With his assist on Robins' second period goal, Kneen notched his 100th career WHL point. The tilt in Prince Albert was also his 250th career WHL game.
Saskatoon are back in action again immediately on Saturday night for the 2019 Merlin Ford Lincoln Home Opener, as the Blades will now take their turn hosting the Prince Albert Raiders at SaskTel Centre.
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