Follow Colorado Avalanche prospect Duncan Siemens and the Saskatoon Blades as they compete at the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The Blades are hosting the championship of the Canadian Hockey League.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
After playing in an emotional and physical game the night before, the Saskatoon Blades couldn't get anything started against the London Knights.
The Knights scored three times in a 1:06 span early in the third period to help pick up a 6-1 victory and end the Blades' season in the tiebreaker game of the Memorial Cup on Thursday.
“Tonight we came out with a pretty good start, but we couldn’t create too many chances, we took way too many penalties against a championship team, and they will bury you for that,” said Blades defenseman Darren Dietz. “A loss is a loss, and it doesn’t get any better whether you lose by one or by 10.”
Trailing 1-0 after the first period and 3-0 after the second, Saskatoon was still in the game to begin the final stanza but just ran out of gas. Ryan Rupert, Kyle Platzer and Nikita Zadorov each scored in nearly a minute and London was able to coast for the final 16:38 of the contest.
“The teams we played against and the games we played in, you can see why these teams are champions (of their leagues),” said Saskatoon coach Lorne Molleken. “Tonight, we ran out of gas, plain and simple, and the mistakes that we made, London took full advantage.
Nathan Burns was able to score at 11:40 of in the third period for Saskatoon, but that would be the only goal of the game for the host team of the tournament.
The Blades were in the tiebreaker game after they lost 4-2 to the Portland Winterhawks on Wednesday in a game that was tied for most of the 60 minutes.
The win for London advances them to the semifinal game on Friday against Portland, with the winner playing in the championship on Sunday against the Halifax Mooseheads.
Avalanche prospect Duncan Siemens finished the tiebreaker game with a minus-1 rating and a roughing penalty in the first period for the Blades. He had one assist in the tournament and will now get ready for Avalanche training camp in September.
Despite Saskatoon's season coming to an abrupt end, Molleken said he is proud of his team's effort as they had to face several adversities throughout the season, including having 51 days between games before the Memorial Cup began.
“Our players have nothing to be ashamed of,” he said. “This is a hard tournament to win, and our guys left it on the ice.”
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Portland (4) vs. Saskatoon (2)
The Portland Winterhawks scored three goals early in the third period to break a tie and defeated the Saskatoon Blades 4-2 in the final round robin game of the Memorial Cup on Wednesday night.
The loss for Saskatoon puts them into the tiebreaker game on Thursday at 6 p.m. MDT against the London Knights, while Portland advances to the semifinal game on Friday evening. The Knights defeated the Blades 3-2 last Friday in the opening round robin game of the Memorial Cup, but it was the first contest for Saskatoon in a little over seven weeks.
Also with the loss for the Blades, the Halifax Mooseheads automatically advance to Sunday's championship game at 5 p.m. MDT.
After a scoreless first period, the Winterhawks were able to get on the scoreboard first with a goal from Derrick Pouliot at 6:44.
Saskatoon answered back less than five minutes later after a pass from Shane McColgan went off a Portland player's skate and into the back of the net as the Blades' power play was about to expire.
The game remained tied until the third period when Chase De Leo, Brendan Leipsic and Ty Rattie scored in a span of 6:08 to give the Winterhawks a 4-1 advantage.
“It was a tough game, and we had it going for two periods, there, but we gave up a couple quick goals that we shouldn’t have given up,” said Saskatoon captain Brenden Walker. “We started playing east-west hockey, which isn’t our game.”
The Blades were able to get one more goal before the game ended as Josh Nicholls scored his fourth of the tournament with 3:33 left. Avalanche prospect Duncan Siemens picked up an assist on the goal and finished the game with a minus-1 rating and two penalty minutes after being called for tripping in the middle stanza.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saskatoon (5) vs. Halifax (2)
The Saskatoon Blades did something that not many teams did this season – defeat the Halifax Mooseheads.
Saskatoon jumped out to a 4-0 lead and slowed down Halifax’s dynamic duo of Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin in a 5-2 win on Sunday night.
“It was a battle out there,” said Blades head coach Lorne Molleken. “We just played to our strengths. We have a group that is willing to work in the tough areas, and we got two or three goals from right in front of the net with second and third efforts. That’s the way we need to score goals against these teams (at the Memorial Cup)”.
The loss for the Mooseheads – champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League – is only their second of the playoffs and their 12th since September.
Matej Stransky scored twice for the Blades (1-1-0) in the game, the opening goal at 12:11 of the first period and again with 1:15 left in the second stanza to give Saskatoon a 2-0 lead.
In the third period, the Blades added two early goals on scores from Collin Valcourt and Darren Dietz at 1:43 and 2:40 respectively.
However minutes later, the Mooseheads (1-1-0) were able to cut their deficit in half with goals from Stephen MacAulay and MacKinnon in a 1:31 span.
Saskatoon though held on for the final 11:41 and Josh Nicholls scored an empty-net tally with two seconds left to seal the win.
Despite the goal, MacKinnon stayed relatively quiet after having four points (three goals and an assist) the night before in a 7-4 win over the Portland Winterhawks. Drouin, who also scored against Portland, was held off the score sheet against the Blades.
The Saskatoon defense was up to the challenge of stopping MacKinnon and Drouin, who combined for 73 goals during the regular season, with Duncan Siemens playing a big part in the cause.
Siemens saw plenty of ice time in the game as almost every time MacKinnon and Drouin were on the ice, the Avalanche prospect was out there as well trying to disrupt their chances. He was also on the penalty kill that held Halifax scoreless on five power plays.
“They wanted it more than us,” said Halifax defenseman Trey Lewis. “They came out and they were physical on us. We expected it, but we didn’t respond the way we needed to.”
Siemens finished the contest with a plus-1 rating, while also being called for a roughing penalty in the second period.
The Blades’ next game of round robin play will be against Portland on Wednesday at 6 p.m. MDT.
Friday, May 17, 2013
London (3) vs. Saskatoon (2)
Nikita Zadorov scored on the power play 5:45 into the third period and the London Knights held on for a 3-2 win over the host Saskatoon Blades in the first game of the Memorial Cup on Friday.
Saskatoon (0-1-0) scored first in the game as Josh Nicholls gave the hosts the lead at 7:59 of the first period.
“We wanted to get off to a quick start and we did that,” said Blades coach Lorne Molleken.
London, the Ontario Hockey League champions, answered back 4:04 later to tie the game at 1-1 and then took the lead when Seth Griffith scored with 1:39 left in the period.
Nicholls scored his second goal of the game with 4:39 left in the second period to tie the game at two for the Blades, but Zadorov gave the Knights (1-0-0) the lead for good after he scored on a rebound with 11 seconds remaining on a high sticking penalty on Darren Dietz.
Avalanche prospect Duncan Siemens finished the game with a plus-1 rating. He also took a holding penalty midway through the second period.
Despite the loss, Molleken said he was overall happy with his team’s effort after having 51 days between being eliminated in the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs and their game against London.
“I was pleased with [the team's skating], especially the first two periods," he said. "I thought as the third period wore won we started standing a little bit, didn't generate as much speed through the neutral zone. That's something we'll address as we move forward here. … We had a chance to steal a game here tonight. Going into the third period 2-2, London out-chanced us, no question about that. We had a chance to steal a hockey game and we came up short.”
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