Miske, Raiders ground Thunderbirds

Prince Albert Raiders captain Curtis Miske (18) watches the puck in the offensive zone during October 2017 WHL action from the Art Hauser Centre. Herald File Photo

The Prince Albert Raiders weren’t going to let this one slip away.

After going up 3-2 against the Seattle Thunderbirds in Western Hockey League action Tuesday night, the Raiders saw their lead evaporate in the second period as the former WHL champions jumped ahead to a 4-3 lead.

Raiders captain Curtis Miske only needed 16 seconds in the third frame to put his team back in it and tie the score 4-4.

After a failed wrap-around shot on Seattle goalie Matt Berlin, Miske tried again on the rebound and was rewarded with the goal.

“It’s always nice to have personal success. I finally started finding my work boots, and it’s become easier to score goals,” he said after the game.

The 20-year-old Albertan was also the set-up man for Jordy Stallard’s game-winning goal at 14:48 in the period.

After chasing the puck to the T-Birds’ side boards, Miske made a quick, no-look, backhand pass to Stallard at Berlin’s crease; the team’s leading scorer tapped it home for the win.

“I just gave him a little shoulder check and I started going from there; I found (Stallard) from there. Good on him for getting that goal.”

Miske added an empty-net goal to seal the road win for his side.

His two goals and one assist gave him three points on the night; he tallied five total shots on net.

Stallard’s and Miske’s efforts weren’t without some strategic changes, courtesy head coach Marc Habscheid.

Towards the end of the second period, the bench boss moved Stallard to Miske’s line with Devon Skoleski, and he moved to Sean Montgomery to play with Parker Kelly and Cole Fonstad.

It worked.

Miske, Stallard and Skoleski – the team’s three 20-year-olds – accounted for the game’s final six points, all tallied in the third period.

Skoleski assisted on Miske’s game-tying goal.

“When a team isn’t going, you have to get your older guys the quality ice time. The best way is to put them together and see. And they came through,” Habscheid said.

If a team’s older players aren’t its best, then the team likely won’t win, especially in junior hockey, he said.

The Raiders are now halfway done their six-game road trip through British Columbia and the United States.

So far, they’ve notched two wins and one loss. They sit three points back of the fourth-place Regina Pats in the WHL’s East division; they have a 9-7-3-0 record.

They’ll now travel about 80 kilometres north from Kent, Wash. (where the Thunderbirds play) to Everett to face the Silvertips on Wednesday night at 9:05 p.m. CST.

NOTES: Tuesday’s game was Seattle’s third-straight loss at home and fourth-straight loss overall … Prince Albert’s third line of Spencer Moe, Justin Nachbaur and Brett Leason continues to find success; the trio accounted for four points in the first period – two goals and two assists … Raiders’ goalie Ian Scott has the third-best save percentage in the WHL: 0.919.

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