Despite strong effort Raiders fall to Tigers in overtime, lose playoff bid
The Prince Albert Raiders have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
The Raiders needed a win against the Medicine Hat Tigers at home on Wednesday night to maintain the slim likelihood that they could sneak into the final wildcard spot but the Tigers wouldn’t let that happen, defeating the Raiders 6-5 in overtime.
“We still thought we could make it,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said of his team’s playoff hopes.
“Basically, we were mathematically pretty much out of it, but they still thought that they could make it.”
The Tigers were first on the board when forward Mason Shaw fired a high slot wrist shot past P.A. goalie Ian Scott. Curtis Miske responded for the Raiders on the power play, converting a Brayden Pachal pass on the doorstep to tie the score heading into the second period.
In the middle frame, P.A.’s Cavin Leth gave the Raiders their first lead of the game on a breakaway goal.
“Sometimes you get that, the puck just follows them around and you can just tell they had a hop in their step and they were fast and they had ‘er going on tonight without a question,” Habscheid said of Miske and Leth, who finished the game with three and two points respectively.
Later in the period the Raiders were looking to extend the lead on the power play, but P.A. defender Max Martin misplayed the puck on the Medicine Hat blueline. Tiger forward Mark Rassell took the opportunity to scoop up the loose puck and break in on Scott to even the score 2-2 after 20 minutes of play.
The scoring continued to pick up in period No. 3. First Leth would pull the Raiders ahead again only 1:19 into the third period when the puck bounced off his skate and into the Medicine Hat net on a two-on-one play with Miske. Parker Kelly put the Raiders up 4-2 minutes later, zooming through the crease to connect on a Vojtech Budik pass.
But the Tigers wouldn’t sit back forever. Matt Bradley brought the visitors to within one with a goal from the top of the left faceoff circle but P.A.’s D-Jay Jerome restored the two-goal lead 43 seconds later, tapping a rebound past Medicine Hat goalkeeper Michael Bullion.
As the teams approached the mid-way point of the third Tigers player John Dahlstrom beat Scott to narrow the score to 5-4. Habscheid responded with a goalie swap, bringing in backup goalie Nicholas Sanders.
Five minutes later Kelly was penalized for skating into Bullion, and on the ensuing power play Rassell would once again strike on special teams, this time scoring with the man up to tie the game.
With a 5-5 score the teams headed to overtime, where, only 31 seconds into the extra frame, Medicine Hat’s Steven Owre scored the game-winner.
“We win as a team we, lose as a team, but that was one of our best games of the year, I though we played great,” Habscheid said, adding that Scott had a tough night in net.
“We played with a lot of pace. We created some things offensively and I thought we played real good. There wasn’t much to do, just open the gate and let ‘em go. I thought our guys played outstanding tonight.”
The Raiders’ next game is on Friday, March 3 when they host the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Game time is 7 p.m.
Medicine Hat 6, Prince Albert 5 (OT)
- Medicine Hat, Shaw 26 (Bradley) 6:42
- Prince Albert, Miske 18 (Pachal, Martin) 7:56 (pp)
- Prince Albert, Leth 20 (Miske) 5:19
- Medicine Hat, Rassell 31 (unassisted) 14:39 (sh)
- Prince Albert, Leth 21 (Miske, Kelly) 1:19
- Prince Albert, Kelly 14 (Budik) 4:01
- Medicine Hat, Bradley 30 (unassisted) 5:13
- Prince Albert, Jerome 8 (Hayes) 5:56
- Medicine Hat, Dahlstrom 25 (Shaw, Forrest) 9:14
- Medicine Hat, Rassell 32 (Quenneville, Owre) 14:04 (pp)
- Medicine Hat, Owre 23 (unassisted) 0:31