The Prince Albert Raiders rewrote the franchise history books Sunday at the Art Hauser Centre.
Justin Nachbaur, Ozzy Wiesblatt and Parker Kelly teamed up to score three goals in 16 seconds to set a new team record and help their team move to 5-0 with a 4-1 win over the Saskatoon Blades.
“It was pretty crazy,” Kelly said. “Everything started with ‘Nacho’ (Nachbaur), then I got a fluky pass in my skates and I was somehow able to feed it to ‘Weezy’ (Wiesblatt) and he put it in a wide-open net.
“Then (Brayden) Pachal made a great pass across the ice on the third goal and I had the glove side to shoot at. To be honest with you, it didn’t feel like it happened in 16 seconds. It’s nice to set that record, but you try not to think too much about it as it’s happening.”
That three-goal outburst, and a power play goal later in the frame by Kody McDonald, broke open what had been a tightly contested affair between two sides that had yet to suffer a loss.
“Obviously it’s a pretty exciting thing to be a part of, but I think it all started when ‘Nacho’ made a huge hit before hand,” Raiders goaltender Ian Scott said. “That really sparked everything for us.
“It all happens so fast out there that you really don’t have time to let it sink in, but we just rode the wave there and carried that emotional high into the third period.”
Although Scott’s shutout bid came to an end in the final frame when Tristen Robin scored his first WHL goal, he was once again stellar between the pipes as he made 28 saves to improve to 4-0 for the campaign.
The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect now has the third best goals against average in the league with a 1.75 mark, which trails the 1.00 GAA set by co-leaders Boston Bilous (Edmonton Oil Kings) and Brodan Salmond (Moose Jaw Warriors).
“He’s got a really good presence in the net,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said. “He’s looks big in there and he’s staying calm. You feel like he’s going to make the stop every time, and that’s a great feeling to have as a coach.
“He’s become more mature as he gets older and I think the time he spent with the Toronto Marlies last year is really showing. He was able to see how they prepare at the American Hockey League level and he brought a lot of those things back to Prince Albert.”
Kelly had a goal and an assist in the win, while Brett Leason had two assists to give him nine points on the season and put him one point back of Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Trey Fix-Wolansky (Oil Kings) and Brandon Hagel (Red Deer Rebels) for the league lead.
Nolan Maier got the start for the Blades and turned aside 19 shots before he was pulled prior to the start of the third period.
Dorrin Luding made 16 saves in the final frame for the visitors, who saw their record drop to 3-1 ahead of a four game road trip that starts Tuesday in Red Deer.
Meanwhile, the Raiders will look to continue their perfect start Wednesday as they begin a four-game swing through Alberta against the Medicine Hat Tigers.
“We’re headed to God’s Country,” said Kelly, who is from Camrose. “It’s always fun to play out there in the bigger rinks. The atmosphere is always exciting and it should be a great time to bond with the team away from home.
“On the ice, we want to keep making a statement to the rest of the of league. We have a positive mindset right now and we’re looking to keep things rolling.”
The previous franchise record for the fastest three goals came on Feb. 25, 1987 as Wayde Bucsis, Mike Modano and Pat Elyniuk scored in a 22-second span in a road game against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Sunday’s 16-second trifecta was the second quickest in league history, as it tied a mark set by Sheldon Kennedy, Kyle Reeves and Bob Wilkie of the Swift Current Broncos on Jan. 15, 1989 in a game against the Wheat Kings.
The all-time WHL record is a 12-second stretch set by Brett McLean, Jason Deleurme and Tyler Prosofsky of the Kelowna Rockets during a meeting with the Prince George Cougars on Feb. 17, 1996.
The two goals in a seven second span by Wiesblatt and Kelly didn’t even crack the top five mark for the quickest in team history, as the Raiders have scored two goals in five seconds twice and found the back of the net twice in six seconds on three occasions.
With the win, the Raiders have matched their 5-0 start from the 2013-14 season, where they made the playoffs by winning a tiebreaker game over the Red Deer Rebels but were swept in the first round by the Edmonton Oil Kings.
The only negative for the Raiders in Sunday’s contest was an injury to rookie forward Jakob Brook in his first shift of the game.
“I think he played a grand total of 38 seconds,” Habscheid said. “It’s an upper body injury but we don’t think it’s that serious. We’ll have a better idea in the next couple of days.”
The Blades also lost the services of defender Seth Bafaro after he crashed shoulder first into the end boards while racing down the ice for a puck with Cole Fonstad in the opening frame.
He came back out for the start of the second period, but returned to the locker room and did not return.
Blueliners Lane Kirk and Konrad Belcourt were scratches for the Raiders Sunday, along with forward Nikita Krivokrasov.
Defenceman Zachary Ashton and Majid Kaddoura were both not in the lineup for the Blades, in addition forwards Kyle Crnkovic, Bradly Goethals and Brandon Machado.
- Vancouver 5 Spokane 4 (Brayden Watts SO Winner – Watts also had One Goal and Two Assists in regulation)
- Moose Jaw 2 Regina 1 (Tristin Langan – Two Goals)
- Red Deer 6 Calgary 5 (Oleg Zaytsev OT Winner – Brandon Hagel One Goal and Three Assists)
- Saskatoon vs. Red Deer – 7 p.m.