It's the back half of two games in two nights for the Saskatoon Blades tonight.
The Regina Pats are in town for the 4th of 6 matchups between these teams this year.
The Pats have played the Blades tough so far this season, winning 2 of the first 3 games. The latest was on January 15th. It was a 4-3 final as the Pats got an excellent goaltending performance from Matt Hewitt to get the shootout win. Hewitt made 59 saves in that game.
The other games this season between these teams were a 6-2 win for Saskatoon at home and a 5-2 win for the Pats at home.
Another reason why this could be an interesting battle for the Blades is that it falls into that ever important "let down" game category. A game following a massive matchup that can exhaust players and coaches mentally and physically.
Last night was exactly that for Saskatoon, earning a 7-5 win over the rival Red Deer Rebels.
Meanwhile the Pats have had a few days off, their last game coming on Saturday night a 4-3 win over Moose Jaw in the Provincial capital.
Here are my keys to the game:
- Capitalize on the first few minutes. Regina might have a chance to catch the Blades back on their heels to start this one and are definitely the more rested group.
- Jordan Weal needs to have a big game. He has almost twice as many points as any of his teammates. He needs to lead by example and do damage offensively.
- And be aggressive offensively with their defenseman. The Pats could be in for a tough night if they try and keep this low scoring. Try and create odd man rushes by having players like Myles Bell jump into the play.
- Clean up the play in the defensive zone. I don’t think the Blades coaching staff was too pleased with the defensive effort last night. They have to be crisper with their passing and avoid turnovers.
- Steven Stanford needs to be better here tonight. He has been getting this team win after win, but last night wasn’t the prettiest effort by him. He needs to re-focus.
- And avoid that “let down game”. It’s something that might get discussed a little bit too much, but the leaders and the coaches on this team need to have the Blades ready from the get go.
Game time goest at 7:05 from CUC. Hopefully another big crowd shows up after they turned out in cold conditions to get treated to a great hockey game last night.
You can listen in to the pregame show on 92.9 The Bull starting at 6:30.