Wheaties earn weekend split, edge Raiders 4-3 Saturday

Prince Albert Raiders forward Parker Kelly tries to get the puck to settle in front of Brandon Wheat Kings goalie Logan Thompson during second period action at Westoba Place in Brandon on Saturday. The Wheat Kings won 4-3. -- Perry Bergson/The Brandon Sun

The Prince Albert Raiders overcame a rough first period Saturday night in Brandon to get back in the game, but ultimately Wheat Kings goalie Logan Thompson was the difference-maker.

The 20-year-old netminder backstopped his team to a 4-3 regulation time win to give the Wheaties a weekend split in their home-and-home series with the Raiders in Western Hockey League play. The teams skated to a 5-2 Raiders’ win Friday night in P.A.

Thompson stopped 39 of 42 Raiders’ shots for the win on Saturday.

“He was the difference for sure,” Raiders head coach Marc Habsheid said after the game.

“We played good all game. Everyone’s just frustrated right now. We out-shot them 43 to 13 and we lost 4-3, so we’re frustrated.”

The game started in Brandon’s favour on the score sheet, but in P.A.’s favour on the shot clock. After 20 minutes of play, the Wheat Kings were up 3-0 on the Raiders, beating goalie Curtis Meger three times on five shots.

Brandon Wheat Kings goalie Logan Thompson comes across the crease to stop Prince Albert Raiders forward Kody McDonald during first period action as Wheat Kings defenceman Braden Schneider, a Prince Albert product, looks on. Brandon won 4-3 at Westoba Place in Brandon on Saturday. — Perry Bergson/The Brandon Sun

P.A. fired 15 shots on Thompson in the first period to no avail.

The Raiders cut the deficit to one goal in the second period, thanks to power play scores from Jordy Stallard and Brett Leason. The Wheat Kings were down to three skaters on Stallard’s goal, after Ty Ettinger and Cole Reinhardt took back-to-back penalties at the mid-point of the frame.

At 2:15 of the third period, Rylan Bettens scored what would be the game-winning goal, putting Brandon up 4-2 and chasing Meger from the game.

Habscheid called on Ian Scott to finish the game in net for P.A.

Forward Spencer Moe kept P.A. in the game, banging home a rebound past Thompson off of a shot from Parker Kelly. That made the score 4-3 with just over six minutes to go in the game.

Thompson stood on his head for the remainder of the contest, finishing the third period with 10 saves on P.A.’s 11 shots.

Prince Albert Raiders forward Spencer Moe lifts the puck over Brandon Wheat Kings goalie Logan Thompson during third period action for his team’s third goal in a 4-3 loss at Westoba Place in Brandon on Saturday. Wheat Kings forward Caiden Daley (#11) and defenceman Ty Ettinger (#34) look on. — Perry Bergson/The Brandon Sun

“Zone time wasn’t even close, shots weren’t even close. We lose 4-3 and the shots are 42-13, so we’re frustrated,” Habscheid said.

The Raiders (23-24-9-2) are off from play on Sunday. They’ll head back to Prince Albert for a Monday afternoon home game against the Regina Pats (30-24-5-1), who drop back down to fourth place in the WHL’s East Division after Brandon’s win.

The Raiders are in sixth place in the division, four points back of the Saskatoon Blades and nine points back of the Pats. The Pats will play the Moose Jaw Warriors on Sunday afternoon in Regina before heading to P.A.

Game time on Monday is 4 p.m. at the Art Hauser.

As part of the Family Day holiday, the Raiders will be collaborating with the organizing committee of the P.A. Winter Festival so that kids can get in free to the game.

If kids aged 12 and under are wearing a Winter Festival button, they’ll get in for free. Those aged 5 and under who don’t require a seat will already get in for free, with or without a button.

Winter Festival buttons are $3 each. Interested people can visit the website princealbertwinterfestival.com to find out where they can buy buttons in the city.

The team will not allow alcohol in the bowl section of the Art Hauser Centre, either. It will only be served and allowed in the Ches Leach Lounge.

After the game, kids can head out onto the ice for a skating session with the Raiders players. Kids have to wear helmets for the skate. They’ll also be able to get pictures and autographs with the Raiders.