Raiders fall to Silvertips in OT

Late heroics from Ozzy Wiesblatt were enough to secure one point, but not two as the Prince Albert Raiders kicked off their U.S. road trip on Saturday.

Wiesblatt’s goal with 13.9 seconds left in the game tied things up at one, but Michal Gut’s marker ended it 1:38 into overtime as he gave the Everett Silvertips their fourth straight win.

The single point was little comfort to Raiders bench boss Marc Habscheid, who said his team wasn’t as sharp as it could have been.

“You could tell we had eight days off,” Habscheid said afterwards. “We were just okay. We probably deserved to win the game, but we didn’t have our ‘A’ game, that’s for sure.”

Saturday night’s contest featured two evenly matched division leaders and it took some time to break the ice. Neither team was able to score in the first or second periods, largely thanks to solid goaltending from Prince Albert’s Boston Bilous and Everett’s Dustin Wolf.

Bilous made 17 saves in the first two periods and seven more in the third for a three period total of 25. Wolf made 21 stops in the first two periods and nine more in the third, including a few spectacular goalmouth saves in the last 10 minutes of the game.

“Their goalie was good,” Habscheid said afterwards. “We had a few point-blankers. I thought both goalies were good, but I thought (Wolf) really stood on his head. He stopped some big chances.”

Former Raider Cole Fonstad was in the lineup for his third game as a Silvertip, and first against his former club. He helped get Everett on the board by drawing the second assist on Gage Goncalves’ opening goal 3:45 into the third period.

The Raiders put on plenty of pressure afterwards, but were stymied by Wolf until the dying second of the game when Wiesblatt took a cross-ice feed from Aleksei Protas and fired it short-side past the Everett netminder.

The celebration was short-lived, however, as Gut, a 2019 import pick out of the Czech Republic, snuffed out any hope of a Raider victory as their four-game win streak came to an end.

The victory means the Silvertips stay three points up on the Portland Winterhawks for top spot in the WHL’s U.S. Division. The Raiders fall to 7-0-3-0, but remain in first place in the East Division thanks to a 4-1 Saskatoon Blades loss in Winnipeg.

Prince Albert still hasn’t lost a game in regulation this year, but Habscheid said they aren’t taking any comfort from that statistic.

“We’re used to winning,” he said. “Guys want to win and do what it takes to win. That’s just part of the culture that’s created here. The only thing that’s acceptable is winning.”

The Raiders resume their U.S. road trip on Tuesday when they stop in Seattle to take on the Thunderbirds. Game time is 8:05 p.m. CST.

Post-Game Notes

The Raiders are the only team that has yet to suffer a loss in regulation in the entire Canadian Hockey League, as the previously unbeaten Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League suffered their first loss of the season in a 9-5 affair with the Sarnia Sting on Friday.

Saturday’s setback was the fourth straight for the Raiders in Everett, with their last road win over the Silvertips coming in a 3-2 contest on Oct. 11, 2011.

Ilya Usau recorded an assist on Ozzy Wiesblatt’s third period goal and has now recorded a point in five straight games.

Cole Fonstad, who has six points in three games in Everett, is also enjoying a five-game point streak after he picked up an assist in the final frame.

Reece Vitelli, who was acquired in last Sunday’s trade with the Silvertips, made his Raiders debut against his old team but was held without a point.

The Raiders did not dress Braydon Clark and Tyson Laventure in Saturday’s contest, while the Silvertips scratched Braden Holt, Martin Fasko-Rudas, Conrad Mitchell and Jalen Price.

Saturday’s Scores

  • Kamloops 2 Kelowna 1 (Connor Zary – Two Assists)
  • Lethbridge 5 Moose Jaw 4 (Logan Barlage Overtime Winner – Jadon Joseph – Two Goals)
  • Portland 4 Brandon 1 (Seth Jarvis – One Goal and One Assist)
  • Spokane 5 Prince George 2 (Michael King – One Goal and One Assist)
  • Regina 6 Red Deer 5 (Zach Wytnick Shootout Winner – Four Assists)
  • Tri-City 3 Seattle 2 (Booker Daniel Shootout Winner – Beck Warm – 35 Saves)
  • Vancouver 4 Swift Current 3 (Sergei Alkhimov Shootout Winner – Milos Roman – Two Assists)
  • Winnipeg 4 Saskatoon 1 (Carson Lambos – Two Goals)

Friday’s Scores

  • Calgary 7 Moose Jaw 3 (Orca Wiesblatt – Two Goals and One Assist)
  • Everett 5 Tri-City 1 (Bryce Kindopp – Two Goals and One Assist)
  • Kamloops 6 Vancouver 0 (Zane Franklin – Three Goals and One Assist – Third Career Hat Trick – Dylan Garand – 23 Saves – Second Career Shutout)
  • Lethbridge 2 Regina 1 (Carl Tetachuk – 32 Saves)
  • Prince George 2 Spokane 1 (Taylor Gauthier – 37 Saves)
  • Edmonton 5 Red Deer 1 (Jake Neighbours – Two Assists)
  • Brandon 3 Seattle 2 (Cole Reinhardt Overtime Winner – Two Goals)
  • Victoria 4 Swift Current 0 (Tarun Fizer – One Goal and Two Assists – Brock Gould – 23 Saves – First Career Shutout)

Around the WHL

The Winnipeg Ice bolstered their forward core on Saturday as they acquired Jackson Leppard from the Prince George Cougars for blueliner Marco Creta, forward Holden Kodak, third round picks in the 2021 and 2022 WHL Bantam Draft, plus a conditional fifth rounder in 2020.

The 19-year-old Leppard, who is from Vancouver, was the eighth overall pick by the Cougars in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft and had 70 points in 177 games for the team.

Creta, a 19-year-old from Oak Bluff, Man., has two assists in seven games this year and was in his second season with the Ice franchise after being acquired from the Regina Pats last year.

Kodak, an 18-year-old from Cloverdale, B.C., was held without a point in six games to start off the season after recording 10 points in 49 games last year when the Ice were based out of Cranbrook.

After recording three points in his first three games for the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda, former Raiders forward Noah Gregor made his NHL debut for the San Jose Sharks Saturday night.

Gregor, who was a fourth round pick by the Sharks in 2016, was held off the scoresheet in a 4-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

Pre-Game Notes

Following Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Tri-City Americans, the 2-4-2-1 Thunderbirds find themselves on a four-game losing streak and are currently tied with the Victoria Royals and the Prince George Cougars for the second and final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

Blueliner Cade McNelly is currently sidelined with an injury for the Thunderbirds, as are forwards Matthew Rempe, Tyler Carpendale and Mekai Sanders.

Sunday’s Schedule

  • Medicine Hat vs. Calgary – 2 p.m.
  • Victoria vs. Vancouver – 5 p.m.
  • Saskatoon vs. Winnipeg – 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday’s Schedule

  • Lethbridge vs. Red Deer – 7 p.m.
  • Swift Current vs. Prince George – 8 p.m.
  • Prince Albert vs. Seattle – 8 p.m.
  • Brandon vs. Tri-City – 8 p.m.