Rematch slated for Saturday in Brandon
Friday’s first leg of a home-and-home series between the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Prince Albert Raiders was decided in a matter of seconds.
After he blocked a shot from Raiders forward Spencer Moe, Wheat Kings forward Ridly Greig raced down the ice on a breakaway and fired a shot by Max Paddock just 29 seconds into overtime to give the visitors a 3-2 triumph at the Art Hauser Centre.
“I blocked that shot with my shin pads and just had a clean breakaway from there,” Greig said. “Once I worked it (the puck) into their end from our zone, I just shot low to his (Paddock’s) blocker side.
“It’s a good win for us and we had a great effort all game long.”
Not only did the Wheat Kings snap the Raiders’ three-game win streak and extend their own run of form to four games in a row, but they are also now four points back of the defending WHL champions for the East Division lead with eight games left in the regular season, which includes a rematch in Brandon Saturday night.
“It’s just disappointing,” Raiders forward Brayden Watts said. “The guys knew how big this game was and it was a chance to move that much farther ahead of Brandon in the standings, but we didn’t show up to play.”
“I thought Brandon probably deserved the two points,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid added. “They were better than us and they were more consistent with how they pushed back. This was a big game and we had guys that responded to that, but there were others who I’m not sure if they wanted it.”
One of the standout performers for Habscheid was Watts, as the overage forward potted home a pair of goals.
“It’s probably the best game I’ve seen him play,” Habscheid said. “Forget about the two goals…he was engaged all game long. He was taking hits, making hits and wanting to make a difference.”
Aliaksei Protas had two assists for the 35-17-6-4 Raiders, who received a 32-save showing from Paddock.
Greig lit the lamp twice for the 35-21-4-2 Wheat Kings, while Jake Chiasson also scored and Jiri Patera stopped 25 shots.
“I thought it was a really physical game and our five-on-five play was great throughout,” Greig said. “It’s probably what helped us get the win tonight.
“We just need to make sure that we can sustain that level of play over these last few games.”
Following Saturday’s encounter with the Wheat Kings at Westoba Place, which gets underway at 7:30 p.m., the Raiders will stay in Manitoba for a 5 p.m. encounter with the Winnipeg Ice on Sunday.
“Luckily there’s no break for us after this game as we’re right back at,” Watts said. “I’m sure we’ll watch some video to see what we did wrong and what we can do better out there.
“We were kind of all over the place tonight and our structure wasn’t there for most of the game. If we can clean that up, we should have a better chance of winning.”
After leaving Tuesday’s contest against the Calgary Hitmen midway through the second period of play, Justin Nachbaur was in the Raiders lineup on Friday.
The Wheat Kings also welcomed back two familiar faces to their lineup as Ty Thorpe and Marcus Kallionkieli returned after being sidelined with aliments.
Ozzy Wiesblatt was held without a point on Friday, which brought an end to his career-high nine game point streak.
Greig’s two-goal night allowed him to extend his point streak to seven games, while Cole Reinhardt had an assist to give himself a five-game run of form.
Matthew Culling and Graydon Gotaas did not dress for the Raiders, while the Wheat Kings scratched Rylan Thiessen, Nolan Ritchie and Riley Ginnell.
- Edmonton 4 Swift Current 1 (Scott Atkinson – One Goal and One Assist)
- Everett 6 Tri-City 0 (Jake Christiansen – Two Goals and One Assist – Braden Holt – 16 Saves – First Career Shutout)
- Kamloops 6 Lethbridge 3 (Connor Zary – Three Goals – Second Hat Trick This Season and Third Career)
- Kelowna 6 Seattle 0 (Pavel Novak – Two Goals and One Assist – Roman Basran – 19 Saves – Second Shutout This Season and Fifth Career – Kelowna clinches a playoff spot for the first time since 2018)
- Medicine Hat 6 Calgary 1 (Brett Kemp – Three Assists)
- Winnipeg 4 Moose Jaw 1 (Owen Pederson – Two Goals)
- Prince George 5 Vancouver 4 (Josh Maser – Three Goals – First Hat Trick This Season and Third Career)
- Spokane 5 Red Deer 1 (Adam Beckman – Three Goals and One Assist – Third Hat Trick This Season and Fourth Career)
- Saskatoon 2 Regina 1 (Kyle Crnkovic Overtime Winner – Spencer Welke – 37 Saves – Saskatoon clinches a playoff spot for the second straight season)
- Spokane 6 Edmonton 2 (Jack Finley – Two Goals)
- Kamloops 4 Vancouver 2 (Max Martin – One Goal and One Assist)
- Portland 11 Tri-City 2 (Jack O’Brien – Three Goals – First Career Hat Trick)
- Prince George 2 Lethbridge 0 (Taylor Gauthier – 37 Saves – Second Shutout This Season and Fifth Career)
- Calgary 4 Saskatoon 3 (Carson Focht – One Goal and One Assist)
Around the WHL
A pair of Everett Silvertips overage players earned NHL contracts on Wednesday as forward Bryce Kindopp and blueliner Jake Christiansen signed entry-level deals with the Anaheim Ducks and the Columbus Blue Jackets respectively.
Kindopp, who is from Lloydminster, is tied with former Raiders forward Cole Fonstad for the team lead in scoring with 73 points in 61 games and 39 goals are the fourth most in the WHL.
Christiansen, who calls West Vancouver, B.C. home, is enjoying the best campaign of junior hockey career after he started the season with in the AHL with the Stockton Heat.
He’s fifth in team scoring with 50 points in 36 games and his 22 goals are the most by any blueliner in the league.
- Saskatoon vs. Regina – 7 p.m.
- Prince Albert vs. Brandon – 7:30 p.m.
- Moose Jaw vs. Winnipeg – 7:30 p.m.
- Spokane vs. Calgary – 8 p.m.
- Victoria vs. Portland – 8 p.m.
- Swift Current vs. Red Deer – 8 p.m.
- Edmonton vs. Medicine Hat – 8:30 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Prince George – 9 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Everett – 9 p.m.
- Lethbridge vs. Kelowna – 9 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Tri-City – 9 p.m.