Despite a resilient, third-period comeback to tie the game, the Prince Albert Raiders couldn’t finish off the Swift Current Broncos in Sunday afternoon Western Hockey League action from the Art Hauser Centre.
Broncos forward Max Patterson broke the 5-5 tie at 15:58 of the third period to win the game 6-5.
The Sunday loss snubbed the Raiders’ hopes of gaining any points from their three consecutive games played Friday, Saturday and Sunday against divisional opponents, twice against the Broncos.
Along with a Friday loss in Swift Current, Prince Albert lost a Saturday night game in Saskatoon 6-3 to the Blades.
As for Sunday’s game, Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said, “We deserved better. Let’s just say that. We outplayed them, we out-shot them and we need a save.”
“Justice was not served these last two nights. It’s disappointing. I know the guys are frustrated, and I’m frustrated, too.”
After 22 minutes of play on Sunday, the Raiders were up 3-2 on the Broncos, thanks to goals from Nikita Krivokrasov, Jordy Stallard and Kody McDonald.
But the Broncos quickly turned the tables with three consecutive goals, starting with Glenn Gawdin’s power play score at 4:23 of the second period. Defenceman Josh Anderson and forward Tyler Steenbergen followed soon after.
By 11:36 of the period, the Broncos were up 5-3 and had just chased P.A. goalie Ian Scott from net, forcing Habscheid to replace him with Curtis Meger.
McDonald swung momentum back to the Raiders by scoring a nimble goal from a sharp angle on Broncos netminder Stuart Skinner at 4:54 of the third period while on the power play.
The 19-year-old carried the puck behind Skinner on his right side while the Broncos goalie hugged his post tight. McDonald then chipped the puck up onto Skinner’s right shoulder, and as Skinner lost sight of it, the black rubber bounced in the goal, behind him.
Almost 10 minutes later, Cole Fonstand sniped a quick wrist shot past Skinner to tie the game 5-5.
Habscheid commended his team for its resilience in mounting the comeback.
“We had things going against us. They had pucks going in the net, and we worked for ours, and (we) just kept going … we deserved better last night. We deserved better today.”
After creating a turnover in the Raiders’ zone, Patterson had his first shot on Meger blocked by Raiders defenceman Jeremy Masella. Patterson then collected his own rebound and banged the puck past the ensuing scramble in front of Meger for the win.
Broncos head coach Manny Viveiros said that in preparation for the Raiders, he expected a tight game from them.
“They’re such a good team and they’re well-coached. So when we prep to play them, we know they’re going to be very good against us. They give us all the trouble we can handle.”
He said that for the most, his team’s play was good.
“We scored a lot of goals. I wasn’t very happy with the way we played defensively tonight. We took some really stupid penalties; going up with a two-goal lead in the third period, and we took two unnecessary penalties, which (P.A.) scored on once, and one we killed off,” Viveiros said.
For large stretches of the game, Swift Current was powered by its second line of Beck Malenstyn, Giorgio Estephan and Andrew Fyten, who tallied five points between the three of them, including two first period goals from Fyten.
“They’ve obviously brought a lot of skill and experience to our club. They’re a big part of our hockey club; so if one of our lines isn’t going, the other line will pick them up,” the Broncos head coach said.
Blades battle back in 3rd to beat P.A.
On Saturday in Saskatoon, the Blades used a four-goal, third-period comeback to beat the Raiders 6-3, after the P.A. club had gone up 3-2 after 40 minutes of play.
In a span of six minutes and 22 seconds, the Blades tallied three goal in the third period to go up 5-3 on the Raiders, topped off by Braylon Shmyr’s insurance goal at 15:37.
Saskatoon’s final goal was an empty-netter in the game’s final minute.
A day after the Saskatoon loss, Habscheid said, “We played good. Scotty (Ian Scott) wanted those two back in the third period, for sure.
“Then after that we just sagged. Those are tough goals to give up, and the guys just sagged, and we couldn’t recover.”
Raiders captain Curtis Miske touted his team’s resiliency in the comeback on Sunday, but he acknowledged that “at the end, we came up short, and that’s not good enough.”
Miske talked about how his team needs to have the right mindset going forward, to avoid losing skids like this weekend’s, and to start winning again.
“We’ve got to focus on playing simple hockey – getting pucks out of our end; we can’t score if it’s not there. We’ve got to focus on that: Defence getting the puck up quicker, and forwards getting it in their zone.”
After their three losses, the Raiders (22-23-9-2) fall to sixth place in the WHL’s East Division. They’re four points back of the Blades (28-26-2-1) and nine points back of the Regina Pats (29-23-5-1).
The Raiders are off for the next four days. They next play on Friday, at home, against the Brandon Wheat Kings (30-20-3-2). Game time is 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.