The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

High School Sports

October 2, 2013

Blackhawks open defense with win

(Continued)

“They got a little bit lucky today,” Grabovsky said. “We need to learn from our mistakes what we did. We just need to play better the next game.”

Grabovsky had consecutive power-play goals in the third, lifting Washington to a 3-2 lead with 14:44 left. But Saad finished a beautiful give-and-go with Michal Handzus, and Oduya converted a long slap shot at 13:53 to put the Blackhawks ahead to stay.

Oduya caught a fortunate break on his 32nd birthday when his fluttering shot went in off the glove of goalie Braden Holtby on its way to the net.

“It just completely fooled me,” Holtby said. “I had a clean look at the shot, it was just one of those sinkers. It happened. It was one I would love to have, but I think there are a couple of others in the game that I should have done a better job on, more than that one.”

Hossa finished the scoring when he was dragged down from behind as he skated toward an empty net in the final minute, prompting the officials to award him with an insurance goal.

Cheered on by the rollicking crowd of 22,158, the Blackhawks staged one last celebration of the franchise’s fifth title. The team handed out special wristbands that lit up during parts of the pregame ceremony, making the rows of seats look like a clear night sky full of stars.

The wristband lights were joined by camera flashes as a group of youth hockey players presented the championship banner to the 19 returning players from last year’s squad, who carried it to the spot for its trip to the rafters.

“It was amazing,” Hossa said. “So much light in the stands. To stand on the ice and look at 20-something-thousand people just celebrating. It’s going to stay in my heart for the memories.”

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