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Saskatoon Blades still seeking first home win of season

Riley McKay (39) has put together a five-game point streak as the Saskatoon Blades continue to search for their first home win of the season.
Riley McKay (39) has put together a five-game point streak as the Saskatoon Blades continue to search for their first home win of the season. File / Global News

Saskatoon Blades head coach Mitch Love isn’t worried as the team searches for its first home win of the 2019-20 Western Hockey League (WHL) season.

The Blades have lost three straight at home after a late third-period comeback by the Brandon Wheat Kings on Sunday.

The Wheat Kings scored twice in the final 65 seconds of the period and went on to win in a shootout.

READ MORE: Brandon Wheat Kings down Saskatoon Blades in shootout

The three home losses to start the season are the most suffered by the Blades since the 2012-13 season.

Love said the team went through a similar stretch in mid-October last season.

“This time last year, we weren’t good a home,” Love said.

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“Everybody was asking me the same question: ‘You weren’t good at home,’ and then when got good at home.”

Love said he hopes the trend stays the same this year.

“It means we’re a good hockey team,” Love said.

Riley McKay continues to shine

Overage forward Riley McKay continues to enjoy a strong start to the season.

The rough-and-tumble winger is showing more offensive flair after leading the WHL in penalty minutes the last two seasons.

He scored his third goal of the season on Sunday against Brandon and currently has a five-game point streak.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Blades rally for road win over Lethbridge Hurricanes

The Blades are depending on McKay to build on last season’s career-high 27 points.

“If you want to be a player at the next level in today’s game, you’ve got to be able to play the game; you can’t just use your fists,” Love said.

“He’s done a good job so far. He’s got to continue to grow and give himself a chance if he wants to play pro hockey.”

McKay credits the chemistry he has with his teammates for his strong start to the season.

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“I’m playing with a lot of confidence right now and I’m playing with great players that are giving me the puck,” McKay said.

“I’ve got to give it to the boys for setting me up and giving me some nice feeds.”

Blades defencemen named to preliminary players-to-watch list

Two Blades defencemen are on the preliminary list of players to watch for the 2020 NHL draft.

Aidan De La Gorgendiere and Radek Kucerik both earned “C” ratings from NHL Central Scouting, which places them as potential fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round picks in the draft.

De La Gorgendiere, 17, was picked by the Blades fifth overall in the 2017 bantam draft. He has a goal and two assists in the team’s first seven games this season.

Kucerik, 17, was the team’s second selection in the 2019 CHL import draft.

He has extensive international experience, representing the Czech Republic at every level from under-16 to under-20.

Saskatoon Blades bio: Chase Wouters
Saskatoon Blades bio: Chase Wouters
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