Chase Wouters picked an excellent time to score his first goal of the 2019-20 season.
The Saskatoon Blades captain converted a feed from Riley McKay and beat Prince Albert Raiders netminder Boston Bilous with 1:03 to go in overtime as the visitors came away with a 2-1 overtime triumph at the Art Hauser Centre.
“It’s nice to get that first goal out of the way and especially with it helping our guys get a win here in Prince Albert,” Wouters said.
“That goal was a set play on our part. The draw went back to (Scott) Walford and he moved the puck up to Riley who had his feet moving, then he made a great pass to me when I was moving into the middle.”
The Raiders, who saw their three-game win streak come to an end Friday, were probably deserving of a better fate as they fired 30 shots on net in the first 40 minutes.
However, Blades netminder Nolan Maier was on his game as he stymied the hosts on numerous occasions, especially in the second period when he robbed Ozzy Wiesblatt and Kaiden Guhle in tight.
“Their goalie stole that one for them,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said. “There’s no doubt who the first star was tonight.
“They had a push there in the third period, but I thought we really controlled things for most of the game. Our speed and our structure were a lot better tonight.”
Wiesblatt had the only goal of the evening for the 3-0-2-0 Raiders, who received a 22-save performance from Bilous.
“I thought we outplayed them for the first two periods, but then we panicked a little bit with the puck in the third and they started to push back a little bit,” Raiders blueliner Zack Hayes said.
“It’s not the outcome that we wanted, but we can build off of this and get ready for tomorrow night.”
Maier made 36 saves to help the 3-3 Blades pick up their second straight win, while Aidan De La Gorgendiere got his first career Western Hockey League goal in his 54th regular season game.
“Everyone on the bench was excited to see Aidan score that one,” Wouters said.
“We’ve put in a lot of work over the last couple of weeks and I feel like we are starting to take some steps forward as a team. However, there’s still a long way to go here.”
The Raiders will look to return to the win column Saturday night as they’ll take on the Regina Pats at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre, in a contest that will see fans have the chance to pick up an Ozzy Wiesblatt Bobblehead by making a $2 donation to Jumpstart Prince Albert.
Friday marked the return of Zack Hayes to the Raiders lineup after he took part in training camps for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and the AHL’s San Diego Gulls.
“Zack’s a big body and he has a strong presence out there, so it’s great to have him back,” Habscheid said.
“It’s a double-edged sword though as we lost Max Martin (who was traded to the Kamloops Blazers on Friday) so it was a really tough day. Max is a good man and he’s been a big part of the culture here over the last couple of years.”
The last four games at the Art Hauser Centre have gone to overtime, in a streak that dates back to Game 7 of the WHL final in May.
The Raiders have won two of those contests, with their two extra time losses coming to the Blades.
Aliaksei Protas recorded an assist on Wiesblatt’s first period goal to extend his points streak to five games.
The Washington Capitals prospect leads the Raiders in scoring with eight points and is tied with five other players for sixth place in the league.
Carter Serhyneko, Braydon Clark and Ivan Kechkin did not dress for the Raiders, while the Blades scratched Radek Kucerik, Charlie Wright, Eric Florchuk and Kjell Kjemhus.
- Brandon 3 Vancouver 0 (Jiri Patera – 40 Saves – Second Career Shutout)
- Lethbridge 4 Portland 2 (Jake Gricius – Two Assists)
- Kelowna 2 Prince George 1 (Pavel Novak – Two Goals)
- Medicine Hat 6 Regina 2 (Cole Sillinger – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Spokane 5 Seattle 1 (Ty Smith – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Red Deer 5 Swift Current 1 (Christoffer Sedoff – Two Assists)
- Edmonton 7 Winnipeg 0 (Josh Williams – One Goal and Two Assists – Sebastian Cossa – 40 Saves – First Career Shutout)
Saturday’s matchup between the Raiders and the Pats is the second of the season between the two East Division sides, as the Raiders picked up a 5-2 win at the Brandt Centre on Sept. 27.
Following a 6-2 home setback against the Medicine Hat Tigers on Friday, the 1-4 Pats are currently mired in a four-game losing streak and find themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
The Pats are currently without the services of forward Duncan Pierce and blueliner Nikita Sedov as they are out with upper body injuries.
- Edmonton vs. Brandon – 6:30 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Winnipeg – 6:30 p.m.
- Regina vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.
- Victoria vs. Seattle – 7 p.m.
- Red Deer vs. Medicine Hat – 7:30 p.m.
- Everett vs. Kamloops – 8 p.m.
- Kelowna vs. Prince George – 8 p.m.
- Spokane vs. Tri-City – 8 p.m.