Blades cut ties with a Raiders comeback

Ian Scott makes a pad save against the Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre ---- Dustin Saracini/Daily Herald

Ian Scott stays solid in net, Carson Miller scores twice and Raiders make a deal

The fourth chapter was written in the 2016-17 rivalry between the Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades, and it was a good one. Following a 5-3 victory on home soil, the Raiders battled with two late goals courtesy of rookie Carson Miller tonight, but were unable to complete the comeback in a close-knit, 3-2 loss.

“I thought the first period was pretty even,” head coach Marc Habscheid said.

“We never quit [in the third] and we kept pushing. That is the staple of our team. We will just keep working. It would have been nice to tie it up, we had a chance late to tie it up but didn’t get the right bounce.”

It was a special night for Miller, who recorded his first multi-goal game of his career; coach Habscheid said he has made significant strides.

“All those [rookies] have,” he noted.

“They are getting better every day and you can see their confidence grow. That’s what we want out of them, but we still have to nurture them.”

On the back end, it was Ian Scott stopping 30-plus shots for the second consecutive contest.

Once the puck dropped, both clubs showed some incredible pace. Sean Montgomery made a tremendous bid for his ninth of the season, rifling a one-timer from the slot that Brock Hamm was able to get a piece of, sliding post-to-post. Before the first period buzzer sounded, the Blades took the lead with 4.7 seconds left. Jackson Caller ringed the puck around the boards where it met Braylon Shmyr. The former first round draft pick of the Brandon Wheat Kings scored his third in the last two nights and 17th overall, beating Scott shortside.

The power play struck for the Blades at the 9:32 mark of the middle stanza, doubling their lead with a shot from rookie Mark Rubinchik. The Russian import scored his first WHL goal with a wrister from the blue line, finding the back of the net through traffic. Moments later, a delay of game and check from behind penalty gave Prince Albert an opportunity to cut the lead in half with a lengthy two-man advantage, but the green and gold weren’t able to convert with the extra space.

The Raiders entered the third with a 1-17-0-0 record when trailing after two periods and had their work cut out for them. Prince Albert looked to not only slice into that record, but also their last place road power play unit. They made a dent in the latter on a four-on-three man advantage, capitalizing on Miller’s third of the season. Max Martin found the rookie at the right half-wall, who promptly snapped a wrist shot through a sprawling defender and the legs of a screening Luke Coleman. The power play goal was Prince Albert’s fourth in as many games. 2-1 Saskatoon.

The Blades restored their two-goal advantage with a tip-in tally from Josh Paterson, but Miller, once again, made it a one-goal game with a steal at the offensive blue line. Number 22 kept his composure with Rubinchik on his back, wristing a shot over the glove of Hamm for his fourth.

It was a relentless effort from Prince Albert late in the third and with the net empty, but the Blades were able to hang on despite being on the ropes.

The loss hands the Raiders their third in four games against Saskatoon this season.

Prince Albert (8-27-1-1) now hosts the first place Regina Pats (23-3-6-1) this Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.

The puck drops at 7 p.m.

Daily Herald THREE STARS

  1. Jesse Shynkaruk (2 A)
  2. Ian Scott (39 SVs)
  3. Carson Miller (2 G)

Making moves

Prior to puck drop, the Raiders dealt overage player Austin Glover to the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for 99-born forward D-Jay Jerome and a third round pick in the 2017 WHL bantam draft.

Jerome, a Lethbridge, AB product, has played in 23 games for the Rebels during his rookie WHL season, picking up five goals and three assists to go along with 12 penalty minutes.

“He’s got a passion and a hunger to score,” general manager Curtis Hunt said.

“I see a combination for him, a hungry young player who wants to score and has a vision. The second thing is a hungry player who now has an opportunity to earn some minutes in a new environment, and sometimes a fresh start is good.”

Glover was acquired by the Raiders from the Kelowna Rockets during the 2014-15 WHL regular season in the Josh Morrissey trade. The Clavet product has 12 goals and 14 assists in 35 games this season. In his Raider career, Glover finished with 32 goals and 53 helpers in 113 games played.

Following the move, the Raiders filled their roster with 20-year-old free agent Kolten Olynek. Olynek was picked up by the Blades after being released by Prince Albert earlier in the year, where he had five goals and five assists in 28 games.

Habscheid said it’s great to have a player back who knows the system.

“We know what he’s all about, he knows what we’re all about,” he noted.

“He’s a guy that can kill penalties, play our power play, he’s multidimensional. He’s well liked in the room and in the community.”

“With Glover, obviously, it’s too bad because he’s a good player and a good person. We’re in a transition area … We just have to keep developing these young guys and get better.”

Olynek, who suited up tonight, commented on being back in Prince Albert following the loss.

“Going back to P.A., I have a lot of friends there. That’s truly my second home. I know I’m from Saskatoon but I really grew a love for P.A. while I was up there … It’s a tough call too, I know they traded Glover today, picked me right up after that, Glover is one of my best friends, so it’s sad to see him go but I’m excited to end my career as a P.A. Raider,” he said to local media.