Calgary comeback downs Raiders in OT

Calgary Hitmen goalie Nick Schneider readies himself for a play against the Prince Albert Raiders during Sept. 2017 WHL action from P.A. -- Evan Radford/Daily Herald

Despite holding the lead for 57 minutes of play, the Prince Albert Raiders couldn’t put away the host Calgary Hitmen in Sunday afternoon Western Hockey League action.

With 3:01 left in regulation time, the Hitmen erased a two-goal deficit, tied the game at 3-3 to force overtime and won it 4-3 on a short-handed goal by Conner Chaulk in the extra frame.

“We played shinny and we got what we deserved,” a perturbed Marc Habscheid said after the loss.

Prince Albert Raiders forward Sean Montgomery (25) carries the puck in the Calgary Hitmen’s zone during Sept. 2017 WHL action from P.A. — Evan Radford/Daily Herald

P.A. dominated most of the game, taking a 3-1 lead into the game’s final five minutes. The Raiders’ Calgarians carried them through large portions of the game.

Sean Montgomery’s second period score put the Raiders up by two; affiliate player Ozzy Wiesblatt – playing in his first WHL game – restored the Raiders’ two-goal lead in the third period; and netminder Ian Scott backstopped his side through two successful penalty kill scenarios during the mid-point of the third period.

Meanwhile, Albertans Parker Kelly, Kody McDonald and Curtis Miske all created scoring chances for the P.A. club, including a first period score by McDonald.

Prince Albert Raiders captain Curtis Miske (18) watches the play in the Calgary Hitmen’s zone during Sept. 2017 WHL action from P.A. — Evan Radford/Daily Herald

But the Hitmen capitalized on a late-game turnover to swing momentum back to their side at 16:59 of the third period off of Luke Coleman’s stick.

“We had a major turnover, created a short-handed goal for them, and it was 3-2,” the Raiders bench boss said. “Then they tied it late and won it in overtime.”

Calgary pulled goalie Nick Schneider to gain an extra skater in the offensive zone and it paid off: Jakob Stukel tied the game at 3-3 with less than 1:30 left in the game.

In overtime, the Hitmen were down a man for a four-on-three penalty kill situation after Jake Kryski took a high stick penalty. No matter.

Chaulk out-skated two Raiders defencemen to grab the puck at his opponent’s blue line and skate in on Scott. The 20-year-old Reginan beat Scott glove side with a quick forehand wrist shot to win the game.

The game was the third matchup between the two teams this year. P.A. beat Calgary in overtime on Sept. 29 and again in regulation on Dec. 1.

Habscheid said getting a lone point out of the overtime loss is a positive aspect,  “but we should have two (points).”

The Raiders (18-20-7-2) remain in sixth spot in the WHL’s East Division. After a 5-3 win by the Moose Jaw Warriors over the Saskatoon Blades on Sunday afternoon, the Raiders are now four points back of the Blades (23-22-2-1) in the division.

The Raiders are off for the next four days. They next play against the Prince George Cougars (18-23-4-3) on Friday night at home. Game time is 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.