Downed on teddy bear toss night

© Dustin Saracini/Daily Herald Zack Hayes works with Carson Miller to pick up the mass of teddy bears on the ice of the Art Hauser Centre

Prince Albert couldn’t climb out of a first period hole against Moose Jaw

It wasn’t the way the Prince Albert Raiders wanted to start, especially against a team they had played some great hockey against prior to puck drop. The Moose Jaw Warriors capitalized on three chances in the opening frame, paving the way to a 7-3 Prince Albert loss in a chippy interdivision matchup. Austin Glover made it rain teddy bears in the second while captain Tim Vanstone and Spencer Moe also found the back of the net, but nonetheless, the Raiders’ record moved to 6-23-1-0.

Head coach Marc Habscheid wasn’t fond of his teams’ effort against the Calgary Hitmen on Tuesday, but thought his club bounced back following the opening period.

“We weren’t great in the first,” he said.

“Three goals against, it kind of gets you on your heels for sure and then we responded good. You can tell the two teams out there don’t really like each other a lot.”

Despite firing 16 first period shots, the Raiders couldn’t find the scoresheet through 20 minutes. Rookie Carson Miller tried to energize his bench early, not backing down from a fight with Team Canada hopeful and Warriors captain Brett Howden, but the Moose Jaw offence wasn’t going to be stopped.

Jayden Halbgewachs struck twice, first on a shorthanded marker that saw him dance through the Raiders defence and again off a bad giveaway from behind the net. Nikita Popugaev cut off a pass from Ian Scott before dishing the puck into the slot where Halbgewachs did the rest. With the markers, the Emerald Park product tallied his 23rd and 24th of the campaign.

Prince Albert tried to respond on a five-on-three opportunity, but it was Zach Sawchenko staying equal to every puck the green and gold threw his way.

The netminder finished with 41 stops on the night.

Tyler Jeannot fired a wrister from the right circle at the 17:28 mark to give Moose Jaw a three-goal advantage.

The ice was covered with teddy bears 32 seconds into the middle stanza as Glover and the Raiders tried to skate back into the game. Number 15 made due on a rebound for his 10th of the season, extending his point streak to four games. With the assist, Simon Stransky also notched a point in four consecutive games. Captain Vanstone followed suit, tallying his first point in 12 contests.

Just as the Raiders cut the deficit to one, the Warriors restored their two-goal lead. Cavin Leth stepped in after a dangerous hit on Vanstone and was given an extra penalty, which lead to a tic-tac-toe power play goal from San Jose Sharks prospect Noah Gregor. It was a questionable call to say the least, but Moose Jaw wasn’t looking back. Halbgewachs notched his third point of the game with the initial helper, while Howden chipped in with the secondary assist.

Following the tilt, Habscheid wasn’t too pleased with the non-call on the risky hit.

“We were told at the beginning of the year that any dangerous hit, whether it’s clean or not, the guy goes into the wall in a dangerous position, it’s a penalty,” he said.

“Based on that, that was a penalty. They responded as teammates, and well they should have.”

Moose Jaw’s offence continued to deliver in the third period. Jeannot and Gregor each joined Halbgewachs with two goals on the night, while Howden put on a slick move for his 14th of the season and second point of the contest.

“They have two pretty good lines,” Habscheid said.

“They have two lines that can match against any two lines in the league and they’re going to get chances.”

Moe was a bright spot for the Raiders in the third period, scoring his first WHL marker with a rifle of a wrist shot off the draw.

“Yeah, he’s quick,” Habscheid said of his talent.

“He could have had a few more goals before this, but this was his first one. It always helps those young guys to get that. You can tell they’re skilled guys.”

Prince Albert concludes a home-and-home series with the Warriors tomorrow night in Moose Jaw. They try to get back on track after losing 12 of their last 13 games.

Puck drops at 7 p.m.

Daily Herald THREE STARS

Jayden Halbgewachs (2 G, 2 A)

Noah Gregor (2 G, 1 A)

Brett Howden (1 G, 1 A)