It took a tense overtime period and an eight-round shootout, but the Prince Albert Raiders are back on the winning track.
Cole Fonstad slipped a shot past Kootenay Ice netminder Payton Lee and Nicholas Sanders denied Dallas Hines to give the Raiders a 4-3 victory, and a happy ending to their Alberta road trip.
“We faced a lot of adversity and found a way,” Raider coach Marc Habscheid said after the game. “I thought it was really good.”
Saturdays contest didn’t start well for the Raiders, who were playing their third game in four nights.
Colton Kroeker opened the scoring for Kootenay a little over three minutes into the game, giving the home side an early 1-0 lead.
The visitors bounced back later in the period, when Simon Stransky tallied his 15th goal of the season, sending the teams into the first intermission deadlocked at one.
Goaltenders Lee and Sanders kept the score even until the third period, when both teams registered a pair of goals.
Kootenay took an early 2-1 lead on a goal by Vince Loschiavo, before Parker Kelly and Curtis Miske replied for the Raiders. The goals came less than two minutes apart, and looked to be enough to seal the win.
However, Kroeker struck again with his second of the evening, knotting the game up at three with just over a minute left to play.
“We weren’t happy giving up that late goal, because we gave them a point, but we got the winner, so it is what it is,” Habscheid said.
After killing off a penalty in overtime, the Raiders found themselves facing defeat in the shootout when Brett Davis beat Sanders on Kootenay’s second attempt.
Down to their last shooter, Cavin Leth responded with a goal for Prince Albert, setting the stage for the late-game marathon.
After nine shooters failed to find the back of the net, rookie Cole Fontstad slid a backhand underneath Lee to reclaim the lead. Sanders did the rest for the Raiders, who improve to 14-38-5 on the season.
“He’s a young guy but he’s talented,” Habscheid said when asked about Fonstad “He’s a goal scorer. It doesn’t matter whether your 16 or 20 if you’re a goal scorer, so we thought we’d throw him in there.”
The Raiders are back in action on Feb. 15, when they return home to the Art Hauser Centre for a date with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
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