Blades double trouble

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:58 AM ET

It had to end sometime.

Chris Cloud's first-period goal ended Hitmen goaltender Justin Pogge's miraculous shutout streak at a franchise-record 223:47.

Calgary's brief three-game winning streak also skidded to a halt as Saskatoon's David Schultz scored the winner 44 seconds into overtime in the Blades' 4-3 victory at the 'Dome.

Last night's tilt was billed as a world junior gold-medal goaltending rematch between Pogge and Russian import Anton Khudobin. But it was lesser-known puckstopper Jim Watt who stole the spotlight.

Khudobin was yanked after surrendering three goals on 16 first-period shots.

Backup Watt kicked out all 30 shots he saw in relief to pick up the win.

Curtis Kelner, with his first-career WHL goal, Riley Merkley and Brodie Dupont scored for the Hitmen, who fell to 43-15-2-0.

Merkley tipped his hat to Watt, who was acquired at the trade deadline.

"He played an excellent game," Merkley said. "We had a lot of the shots and carried a lot of the play. But they're a skilled team and if you give them chances, they're going to capitalize. We made a few mistakes and we paid for it."

Schultz buried a perfect cross-crease pass from Chad Klassen for the winner, handing Calgary its second OT loss of the season.

Klassen and Calgary product Wacey Rabbit scored powerplay goals in the second period for the visitors.

With the point, the Hitmen remain atop the WHL standings (tied with Vancouver) heading into tonight's crucial clash in Medicine Hat.

The Tigers are three points back of Calgary in the Central Division.

"It'll be huge," Merkley said.

"It's basically going to be for first place every time we play them."

Cloud ended any suspense surrounding Pogge's run by sliding a puck just inside the near post to open the scoring at the 5:09 mark.

He came up a little more than two periods shy of the WHL's all-time mark of 265:13, set by Flin Flon's Chris Worthy in 1967-68.

If not for a second-period shorthanded goal by Red Deer's Ted Vandermeer Feb. 9, Pogge would have had the record before last night's game began and would have finished with a string of 270:47.

With the streak out of the way, the Hitmen responded with a trio of goals before the period was out.

Karl Alzner's point shot was blocked in front and went to Merkley who roofed his 11th of the campaign.

Kelner banked a shot off a Blades defender and past Khudobin before Dupont shovelled in a rebound on the powerplay for a 3-1 advantage.

- - -

SASKATOON BLADES: 4

CALGARY HITMEN: 3

OVERTIME


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