The Prince Albert Raiders played the East Division leading Moose Jaw Warriors tight for 57 minutes, but it all came undone in the final three.
The Warriors struck for four third period goals, including three in 35 seconds, turning a tight hockey game into a comfortable 5-2 victory.
After the game, Raiders coach Marc Habscheid said he was frustrated with the interference penalty on captain Curtis Miske that kick-started the Moose Jaw rally.
“It was a marginal call that I totally disagree with,” he said. “They got a powerplay goal and away they went. That was basically the TSN turning point right there.”
The Warriors opened the contest as the fourth best club in the CHL’s weekly top 10 rankings, and had beaten the Raiders twice before by a combined score of 10-3. However it was the visiting Raiders who struck first at Mosaic Place.
Brett Leason kicked of the scoring when he beat Moose Jaw starter Brody Wilms roughly five minutes into the first period for a 1-0 lead. It was Leason’s second goal for Prince Albert since coming over in a trade with Tri-City.
The Warriors outshot Prince Albert 20-10 in the opening frame, but couldn’t beat Raider starter Curtis Meger until the final minute of the period. Luka Burzan’s powerplay goal with only 18 seconds left sent the two teams into the first intermission tied at one.
The Raiders regained the lead midway through the second, when Devon Skoleski exploited some sloppy Moose Jaw defence to make it 2-1.
“I thought our pace was good,” Habscheid said of the first two periods. “We, for the most part, competed pretty good. We didn’t hope to win, we expected to win.”
However, it was all downhill in the third.
Brayden Burke’s one-timer tied the game up at two midway through the frame before Moose Jaw’s offensive explosion put the game out of reach.
Jayden Halbgewachs started the scoring with his ninth of the season at 16:06. Tanner Jeannot then extended the lead when he hammered a shot past a screened Meger at 16:22. Helbgewachs ended the scoring with his second of the night at 16:41.
The Warriors ended the night with 42 shots on goal, compared to 26 for the Raiders.
“That’s just junior hockey,” Habscheid said when asked about the three-goal outburst. “That just happens.”
The loss drops Prince Albert’s record to 6-5-3 on the season while Warriors improve to 12-4-0. The Raiders are back on the ice on Friday when they take on the Swift Current Broncos at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is 7 p.m.
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