Maier Sets Franchise Shutout Record, Blades Crush Tigers 4-0
SASKATOON, SK - Veteran netminder Nolan Maier recorded his franchise-record 10th career shutout, leading the Saskatoon Blades to a commanding 4-0 victory over the Medicine Hat Tigers at SaskTel Centre on Friday night.
Alternate captain Kyle Crnkovic scored twice, including a shorthanded marker in the third period, and linemate Tristen Robins collected three assists to lead the league in scoring with 11 points.
Forwards Trevor Wong and Egor Sidorov also lit the lamp, pushing the Blades to a 3-1-1-0 record.
Maier, who also holds the franchise record for victories at 94, stopped 26 shots from the Tigers, who fall to 2-3-0-0 on the year.
The Yorkton, SK product has started all five games for Saskatoon this season, and continues to approach the WHL record for victories which currently stands at 120.
It took Wong, a new addition to the Blades this season, just 5:12 to open the scoring, firing a hard shot from in tight that beat Bjorklund.
10 minutes later, Sidorov lit the lamp for the first time in his career after a nifty deflection off a shot by captain Aidan De La Gorgendiere, giving the home team a 2-0 lead after 20.
On top of a two-goal lead heading into the intermission, Saskatoon more than doubled the Tigers on the shot clock, firing 11 on goal compared to five on Maier.
Just over five minutes into the second period, it appeared Sidorov collected his second of the night when he snuck a snapshot under the arm of Bjorklund in tight. The puck dribbled overtop the goal line, however Bjorklund swatted it away in the nick of time. After a short video review, it was determined no goal.
Moments later, alternate captain Kyle Crnkovic one-timed a hard shot that beat Bjorklund on the glove side giving Saskatoon a 3-0 lead. The goal stretched Crnkovic's point streak to a team-leading five games.
The second period was much of the same for Maier as he stopped all seven shots he faced. On the other end of the ice, Bjorklund was far busier facing 16 shots.
Crnkovic notched his second of the night thanks to a beautiful pass from Robins from behind his own net. Killing a penalty, the alternate captain rung a long feed up the boards, and found Crnkovic for a breakaway. The speedy forward went low blocker on Bjorklund for his second shorthanded marker of the year, stretching the Blades lead to a commanding 4-0.
Saskatoon went 1-for-6 on the man-advantage while killing all three penalties taken.
With this shutout, Maier surpasses former Blade Andrei Makarov, who held the previous record with 9 shutouts. The Blades are off to Moose Jaw tomorrow to take on the Warriors as they finish a stretch of three games in four nights.
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