March 5, 2013 - 10:36pmUpdated: March 6, 2013 - 6:32am
The Saskatoon Blades. Lasia Kretzel/News Talk Radio
The Saskatoon Blades might have had too much on their minds coming into Tuesday's contest with the Calgary Hitmen. Before the game Josh Nicholls was honoured for reaching 300 points in his WHL career. Blades coach and general manager Lorne Molleken was also honoured for recording his 600th career win in the WHL.
The Saskatoon Blades (41-22-1-3) found themselves on the wrong side of a seven-goal first period and they couldn't recover, as the Calgary Hitmen (41-20-1-4) downed the Memorial Cup hosts 9-5.
The Blades just had their 18-game winning streak shut down on Sunday night versus the Moose Jaw Warriors, and couldn't seem to find their stride against Calgary. Hitmen forward Brady Brassart opened the scoring just 17 seconds into the game. Jake Virtanen scored just three minutes later putting the Hitmen in control early.
Josh Nicholls and Matej Stransky had first period goals for Saskatoon. The Blades had a better second period, trading goals with Calgary and trailing by three heading into the third period.
But it was a night Calgary owned. Brassart and Virtanen both had third period goals, while Cody Sylvester had a season-high seven points on the night scoring once in the first period.
In what was already noted as a playoff atmosphere game by Blades head coach and general manager Lorne Molleken, after the game he said he was happy to close the drawer on this game and move on.
Blades' forward Michael Ferland was tied up in front of the benches in the first period and left the game with an upper-body injury. Molleken said Ferland is listed as day-to-day.With Ferland out, Collin Valcourt saw some time on the top line with Brenden Walker and Stransky and scored his 21st goal of the season on a rebound in front of the net.
Coming into Tuesday's game the Blades led the season series 3-0 with two shutouts. It was a different story as Makarov surrendered seven goals on 31 shots, until he was replaced by Alex Moodie midway through the third period. Moodie stepped in and made five saves while allowing two goals late in the game.
The Blades look to bounce back this weekend as they host Medicine Hat on Friday then the Regina Pats on Saturday night at Credit Union Centre. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m.