If recent history is any indication, special teams will be a big part of Tuesday night’s U-S Division road-trip opener for the Saskatoon Blades in Tri-Cities.
In their last five games, the Bridge City Bunch have scored or allowed a total of 15 power play goals. The Blue and Gold are 6-for-18 with the man advantage…or 33.3% proficiency. But, they have surrendered 9 goals on 24 opposition chances…a kill efficiency of just 62.5%, which is below their season average of 67.7%. The Blades need to improve their discipline on this swing, starting against an Americans’ squad that owns the seventh-best power play in the W-H-L.
Saskatoon has lost four straight head-to-head meetings with the Ams and have fallen in their last three visits to Kennewick. Considering the teams meet once a year, that means the Bridge City Bunch's last win over Tri-Cities was October 17, 2012 at home by a 3-2 score on a Matthew Stransky overtime goal. And, the last victory here was January 3, 2010…a 6-4 triumph with an empty net goal.
For an even dozen members of the Saskatoon travelling party, going through the five American centres will be a first. However, historically speaking, there hasn’t been a lot of success for the Blades in the U-S Division. They were 1-3-1 through here the last time in 2015 and, ever since Everett came into the League in 2003, the Bridge City Bunch is just 10-21-4 in the last seven swings combined…half of the 10 wins coming in a sweep of the division while Saskatoon hosted the World Junior Championship in 2009-and-10. The broadcast of the 9-12-3 Blades and the 14-7-1 Ams on 92-9, THE BULL begins at 8-30 with the play-by-play at 9 p.m.