Saskatoon Blades remain optimistic about playoff prospects
SASKATOON – With exactly one-third of the season remaining the Saskatoon Blades find themselves seven points out of a playoff spot, but the team is still confident it can close the gap.
“It’s definitely a hill that we’ve got to climb. Going into the last 24 games here we’ve got our goal set, and it’s the playoffs,” said captain Nick Zajac.
It won’t be easy but the Blades can improve their chances by sweeping their upcoming home-and-home series with the Regina Pats – one of the teams they’re chasing for an Eastern Conference wild card berth.
“(The games) are huge. Obviously we’ve still got to take it one game at a time but every point counts,” said forward Mason McCarty. “At this time of year you’ve got to scrounge up everything you can get.”
“It’s really an eight-point weekend and a chance for us to close the gap on those guys,” added head coach Bob Woods. “I think we just need to get things rolling in a positive direction.”
Woods believes his team needs to win at least 15 of its final 24 games to have a realistic shot at making the post-season. It’s an achievable goal but in order to accomplish it the Blades will have to play their best hockey of the season.
“It’s going to be a tough task, especially with the teams we’re playing, but we’ve played well against the good teams at times this year.”
Something that should help the Blades focus on the task at hand is that with the trade deadline now passed, there won’t be any more changes to a roster that’s already seen plenty of turnover this season.
“It’s a relief and you know these are your brothers for the last 24 games,” said Zajac. “These are the guys.”
Now it’s up to those guys to climb the hill and lead Saskatoon back to the post-season. The Blades visit the Regina Pats Friday night before the two teams make the return trip to Saskatoon on Saturday.
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