In a game between the second and third seeds in the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference it did not disappoint going all the way to the shootout before the MasterCard Memorial Cup host Saskatoon Blades beat the Calgary Hitmen 3-2 Wednesday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Nathan Burns scored the shootout winner in the fifth round to extend the Blades franchise record winning streak to 17 games. It also snapped Calgary's eight game home ice winning streak although the Hitmen now have at least a single point (8-0-0-1) in every home game of 2013.
Blades goalie Andrey Makarov proved to be the story for Saskatoon who was outshot 43-25 but never trailed.
After a scoreless first period, Saskatoon opened the scoring on a break-away from Brett Stovin before a powerplay marker from Spencer Humphries drew the Hitmen even.
Heading to the third period tied 1-1, Saskatoon struck early in the final frame when Stovin pounced on a rebound off the goal post just 16 seconds in. However again the Hitmen would again tie it, pulling even on a Brady Brassart backhander with just under seven minutes remaining.
Overtime solved nothing leading to the Burns shootout winner.
It should be noted the Hitmen played without two 19-year-old defencemen as both LA Kings prospect Alex Roach and Washington Capitals prospect Jaynen Rissling sat out with injuries. However fellow 19-year-old rearguard Peter Kosterman returned after missing the last 10 games.
The Hitmen now 0-2-0-1 against Saskatoon will get another crack at the Blades Tuesday in Saskatoon.
Saskatoon Blades 3 (SO) at Calgary Hitmen 2
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - Scotiabank Saddledome - Calgary, AB
Saskatoon 0 1 1 0 - 3
Calgary 0 1 1 0 - 2
Penalties-Rask Cal (interference), 7:54; Dietz Sas (interference), 9:54; Macek Cal (tripping), 16:10.
1, Saskatoon, Stovin 8 (Zajac, Sutter), 11:40.
2, Calgary, Humphries 5 (Rask, Macek), 16:32 (PP).
Penalties-Thrower Cal (holding), 3:36; Sutter Sas (boarding), 7:02; Virtanen Cal (faceoff interferance), 7:57; Dietz Sas (tripping), 15:17; Gwinner Sas (major-fighting), 17:15; Mayor Cal (major-fighting), 17:15; Zajac Sas (interference), 17:28; Padakin Cal (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 17:28; Siemens Sas (roughing), 17:50.
3, Saskatoon, Stovin 9 (Sutter, Zajac), 0:16.
4, Calgary, Brassart 27 (Sylvester, Chase), 13:11.
Penalties-Sutter Sas (boarding), 4:48; Brassart Cal (interference), 5:06; Craig Sas (hooking), 18:33.
Saskatoon 1 (McColgan NG, Stransky NG, Nicholls NG, Stovin NG, Burns G)
Calgary 0 (Rask NG, Macek NG, Chase NG, Brassart NG, Sylvester NG).
Shots on Goal-Saskatoon 10-6-6-2-1-25. Calgary 11-14-14-4-0-43.
Power Play Opportunities-Saskatoon 0 / 5; Calgary 1 / 6.
Goalies-Saskatoon, Makarov 34-16-0-3 (43 shots-41 saves). Calgary, Driedger 30-13-1-3 (24 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Tyler Adair (58), Matt Kirk (4).
Linesmen-Reid Anderson (53), Aidan Henderson (78).