Slowly but surely, the Saskatoon Blades are getting some relief from injuries that have piled up of late. The wins have been piling up, too.
The Blades enter Wednesday night’s contest against the Everett Silvertips on a three-game winning streak, despite having six regulars out of the lineup.
“It just shows the character of our team,” said Blades forward Mason McCarty, just back from a 27-game absence with a knee injury.
“The fact we can pull out two wins when we have so many injuries means a lot about the guys in the room.”
Joining McCarty with a much-needed return from injury is 20-year-old centreman Markson Bechtold. He is rejoining his teammates after 18 games out with a back injury. He has played just three games with the Blades since coming over in a December trade with Spokane.
“We’re pretty fortunate to get him cleared to play and for us that’s big. Another veteran that we expect to come in and solidify things,” said Blades head coach Dean Brockman.
Heading into the contest at Sasktel Centre, the Blades know they face a tough test in the U.S division leading Silvertips (33-12-8-2). They come in with three wins in their last four games, including a 4-2 win over Regina on Tuesday.
For many teams, including the Blades, the focus will be on World Junior goalie Carter Hart. The Philadelphia Flyers draft pick leads the league with a 2.01 goals against average and is second in save percentage with a .925.
“It doesn’t change your approach too much,” Brockman said. “But maybe you want to score earlier get them off their game a bit.”
Saskatoon enters Wednesday’s game with a two-point lead over the Calgary Hitmen for the final wildcard spot in the WHL Eastern Conference. The Blades (23-26-5-1) also have a game in hand.
Calgary (20-26-8-2) opens a four-game homestand on Friday against Edmonton.