WHL: Crnkovic scores OT winner as Saskatoon Blades edge Regina Pats 2-1

The Saskatoon Blades needed extra time to make it three wins in a row with a 2-1 overtime victory Friday over the visiting Regina Pats.

Rookie forward Kyle Crnkovic netted the game winner at 1:19 of OT as the Blades improved their Western Hockey record this season to 24-11-5-0.

Regina slips to 12-25-1-1.

Saskatoon Blades goalie Nolan Maier.

Nolan Maier made 32 saves for the win as Saskatoon out-shot Regina 38-33.

Through the first 33 minutes of Friday’s game, the Blades and Pats could not find a way to score a goal.

The Blades finally got on the scoreboard when Max Gerlach skated down the right wing and fired a wrist shot past Pats goalie Max Paddock at 13:16 of the second period.

For Gerlach, it was his team-leading 23rd goal of the season. It’s the fourth straight season that Gerlach has hit the 20-goal mark in the WHL.

The Pats knotted the score at 1-1, on the power play, at 4:38 of the third period with a goal by Austin Pratt.

That’s the way it stood until OT and Crnkovic’s winner.

Announced paid attendance was 3,336.

Saskatoon Blades forward Max Gerlach.

 

BUSY STRETCH

The Blades return to action Saturday night in Prince Albert against the league-leading Raiders, who are expected to have Team Canada world junior goalie Ian Scott and forward Brett Leason back in the lineup.

Saskatoon plays host to the Brandon Wheat Kings in a Sunday matinee contest. Game time is 4 p.m. at SaskTel Centre.

On Tuesday, the Blades welcome the Seattle Thunderbirds to town. Game time is 7 p.m. at SaskTel Centre.

 

HARSCH REALITY

Blades newcomer Reece Harsch made his debut Friday night against Regina.

Harsch, 19, is wearing No. 52 for the Blades. The 6-foot-3, 198-pound Harsch was acquired from the Thunderbirds, with whom he won a WHL title back in 2017.

 

NO DACH

Blades star centerman Kirby Dach, who missed Thursday’s practice, was scratched from Friday’s line-up.

Dach, who was wearing a brace and noticeably limping Thursday, is sidelined with a leg injury.

Dach leads the Blades in scoring with 16 goals and 30 assists for 46 points in 39 games.

 

HAIL HADEN

Gary Haden was named the Blades’ player of the month for December.

Haden entered Friday’s game with 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points in 35 games.

 

RUSH IN THE HOUSE 

Three members of the 2018 NLL champion Saskatchewan Rush took part in the pre-game faceoff ceremony at centre ice.

Representing the Rush were 2018 NLL playoff MVP Jeff Shattler, Marty Dinsdale and Brett Mydske.

dzary@postmedia.com

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