Blades Win Another Overtime Thriller
SUBMITTED BY THE BLENHEIM BLADES
Taking teams to overtime lately at the Blenheim arena has certainly proven exciting for the hometown fans, and the Blenheim Blades, as their Provincial Junior Hockey League Stobbs Division regular season is quickly winding down.
On Jan. 15 the Blades beat the Lakeshore Canadiens 4-3 early in overtime on a powerplay goal by Austin Bentley, and Thursday night they repeated the feat defeating the Dresden Kings 3-2 thanks to Drew Marlatt’s early overtime powerplay tally.
The fourth-place finishing Blades (23-14-2) are now down to just one regular season game remaining – Sunday at 7 p.m. against the eight-place Petrolia Flyers – and still have no idea who they will meet in their best-of-seven quarter-final playoff round tentatively set to open Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Blenheim arena.
Going into weekend action the Kings are tied for fifth with the Wheatley Sharks at 37 points, with the Mooretown Flags just two back in seventh at 35.
All three teams have a game to play, but none against each other. The Kings are home to the last-place Wallaceburg Lakers Friday, with Mooretown hosting Wallaceburg Saturday, and Wheatley travelling to Essex to play the ’73’s Tuesday.
At the moment the Kings hold the tie breaker should both they and Wheatley both win. Losses by Wheatley and Dresden, while highly unlikely, and a win by Mooretown would create a three-way tie for fifth. Stay tuned.
Thursday’s game was made possible because of a cancellation Nov. 20 and drew a huge crowd of 434 giving an indication of how big the crowds would be in both Blenheim and Dresden if the teams were to meet in the quarter-finals for the second year in a row. The Blades eliminated the Kings in six games last year.
Dresden opened the scoring at 12:37 of the first period when the division’s leading scorer Dillon Liberty beat Blades netminder Adam Craven.
The Kings then went up 2-0 on a goal by Will Tetzlaff at 14:34, with the Blades coming right back 25 seconds later to cut the lead to 2-1 thanks to a score by veteran Bryce Broad.
The goal was the 12th of the year for Broad to go with 12 assists for 24 points.
Michael Vanek assisted on the play.
The game stayed at 2-1 until 12:45 of the middle 40 minutes when Blades defenceman Brayden Seliga netted his third goal of the year with assists going to Marlatt and Nick Delyzer.
Things remained scoreless from that point on until the 3-on-3 overtime began, but the Blades bench and fans got a scare when defenceman Derek Hueni, who is from Dresden, picked up a fighting instigator minor penalty, an aggressor minor penalty and a fighting major and game misconduct at 5:06 of the third period meaning the Blades had to kill on a nine-minute Dresden powerplay.
The penalty killers did their job with a bit of help at the end when Dresden’s Kadin Ritchie took a tripping penalty.
Early in the overtime the Kings Kevin Ritzer took an interference penalty at 56 seconds, and it took Marlatt just 10 more seconds to net the winner with assists going to Brayden Hopkins and Seliga.
The goal was Marlatt’s 14th of the season.
Craven made 25 saves for his sixth win of the year.
BLADES BITS: The Blades are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games dating back to Dec. 21…In overtime games the Blades are 3-1-2 on the year…The penalties to Hueni will prove costly to the Blades as he will now sit out a three-game suspension…The team is already missing defencemen Keegan MacVoy and Patrick Wright, both of whom are out with injuries with MacVoy being done for the season as he had major surgery earlier this week to repair an upper body injury…Forward Carter Wright also missed the game with an injury…Blenheim’s Drew Vandehogen played his 10th game as a call up and is likely to see more action because of the injuries to Wright and MacVoy…The Blades Alumni will be hosting a “Steak Night” Monday, Jan. 30 at the Blenheim Royal Canadian Legion Branch 185…Cocktails at 6 p.m., supper at 6:30…Tickets are $15 and are available in the lobby at home games or by calling Dave at 519-676-2022, Ryan at 519-359-6514 or Lee at 519-676-5204.