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Saskatoon Blades stand atop eastern conference near halfway point of season

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The Saskatoon Blades are back from a long U.S. road trip, and they’re right back in action this weekend with three games in three nights.

After seven games in 12 nights, spending more than 50 hours on the bus, the eastern conference-leading Saskatoon Blades spent the week getting back to normal in the comfort of their own beds.

“We're coming off that road trip and there was a lot of fatigue, that was a grind,” said Blades coach Brennan Sonne.

“We didn’t have practise except twice on the road, so we didn't get to work on four on four, we didn't get to touch on those little things.”

The Blades have added five new players since October 10, and the team captain says the new guys are adjusting nicely to the Blades way of doing things.

“Every guy we've gotten has been really good for us and they’re unbelievable guys,” said Trevor Wong, who joined the Blades in a trade himself in 2021.

“We have so many new guys, but they've all been so good.”

The newest Blade, Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Frazer Minten was acquired from the Kamloops Blazers. He joined the team partway through the long road trip.

“Flew into Portland, got there 11 o'clock at night, was playing my first game the next night at 6 o clock,” said 19-year-old forward Fraser Minten. “New pants, new helmet, new gloves at morning skate for about 20 minutes and right into it that night.”

Minten has 3 points so far in 4 games with the Blades, but he and defenseman Tanner Molendyk will be leaving the team next week to try out for Team Canada’s World Junior squad.

“It’s a dream come true to get invited, and hopefully I can make it a reality by sticking there after the selection camp,” Minten told CTV News, adding he’s excited about his new surroundings in Saskatoon.

“I'm exactly where I want to be as far as opportunities in my career, so I wouldn't trade it for anything. I like having all these chances to win and to be a part of special teams.”

With just five games before the Christmas break, the Blades have a tough opponent in the Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday.

“We're one and two with them right now in our division, and I think we have one game in hand too,” said Wong. “So games like these are kind of divisional title games, and they're really important points.”

The Blades host the Red Deer Rebels on Friday night, followed by a trip to Moose Jaw Saturday against the Warriors. They’ll finish the weekend with a home game against the Calgary Hitmen on Sunday.

Sonne says the team remains focused on their regular season goal of hanging a banner in the rafters of SaskTel Centre as East Division champions.

“This week has been good,” he said. “Now we’re looking forward to Red Deer on Friday, and every game is a step towards hanging that banner.” 

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