The Prince Albert Raiders held a 2-0 lead over the Saskatoon Blades on Thursday night but saw it slip away, dropping a 6-4 decision at SaskTel Centre.
Brandon Lisowsky picked up his second hat trick this month, while the Blades scored six straight goals, including four in the third period.
“The first half of the game was okay,” head coach Marc Habscheid said. “The second half wasn’t so good. I thought our defense as a group struggled tonight, and our goaltending wasn’t great.”
A scoreless first period was broken with four minutes left. Ozzy Wiesblatt stole a puck at centre ice and worked his way towards Nolan Maier. Wiesblatt roofed a shot top corner, scoring a shorthanded marker, putting the Raiders up 1-0 in the late stages of the opening frame. Wiesblatt’s eighth goal of the season was the only tally in the first, as the Raiders went into the first intermission with a one goal lead, trailing in shots 8-4.
The Raiders came out strong to start the second period. Just 2:18 into the frame, Evan Herman sent a pass to defenceman Landon Kosior near the far wall. Kosior stepped in and wired a shot past Maier, doubling Prince Albert’s lead to 2-0. Kosior picked up his fourth goal against the Blades this season, and eighth overall.
Four minutes later, the Blades answered on a man advantage. Jayden Wiens sent a cross ice pass to Brandon Lisowsky, and he beat Chaika for his 17th of the season. The powerplay marker made it a 2-1 game with 13:57 left in the second period.
Lisowsky netted his second of the goal on a one timed shot from in tight. Kyren Gronick fed a pretty pass to Lisowsky in the slot, and he blasted home his second of the night, knotting the game at 2-2.
It looked like the Raiders had taken the lead in the final minute of the second period on a Sloan Stanick goal. A turnover at the blueline left Stanick all alone breaking in towards Maier. He scored a goal that would’ve put Prince Albert up 3-2, but the Blades challenged the play for offside. After a video review, Hayden Pakkala just failed to keep the puck inside the blue line, and the goal was called back. The game remained tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, with the Blades leading in shots 16-10.
The Blades scored their third goal in a row just 34 seconds into the third period. Gronick won a puck battle along the wall and sent a pass to the tape of Aidan De La Gorgendiere. The Blades captain ripped a shot past Chaika, as the Blades stormed back from 2-0 down to take a 3-2 lead early in the third.
Habscheid felt the momentum after the disallowed goal combined with the Blades scoring early, shifted the tide in Saskatoon’s favour.
“We had full control on that early goal,” he said. “We were working on a regroup and the puck ends up in our net, so that’s on us.”
With 14:01 left in the third period, Lisowsky completed the hat trick for Saskatoon. Another turnover in the Raider end led to the 17 year old firing a shot five hole on Chaika. The Blades went up 4-2, as hats and foam pucks rained down on the ice for Lisowsky’s third of the night.
Saskatoon kept pouring on the offense shortly after, after Wiesblatt went to the box to serve a slashing minor. It took just 15 seconds for the Blades to score on their fifth man advantage of the night. De La Gorgendiere took a shot from the point, and Wiens was right in front to perfectly tip a shot past Chaika and in. Chaika saw his night come to an end after giving up five goals on 20 shots. Saskatoon came out in the third period with three quick unanswered goals to lead 5-2.
With just over six minutes to go in regulation, Noah Boyko sent a feed to Tristen Robins. The Blades overager undressed Tisdale, deking forehand to backhand, and slipping a shot in from behind the goal line. With four goals in the third period, Saskatoon took a 6-2 lead.
The Raiders stopped the bleeding in the third period with an answer of their own. Vlad Shilo came in down the right wing and attempted a pass, which was blocked by Tanner Molendyk. Shilo followed the puck to the crease, and started whacking in front of the net. He finally banged it home, giving Shilo his fourth goal in two games, making it a 6-3 game.
Less than two minutes later, Zachary Wilson sent a stretch pass ahead for Niall Crocker. Crocker walked in and ripped a shot past Maier, and the Raiders pulled to within two, making it a 6-4 contest.
However, it was too little too late for Prince Albert, as the Blades held on for the 6-4 win, evening the season series at three games apiece.
With just 15 shots on goal and four goals put up on the board, the outcome might have been different had the Raiders found more ways to put pucks on goal. The Blades replied with six goals on 22 of their own, making it a night the goalies will want to forget.
The Raiders drop to 12-17-1-1, while the Blades improve to 17-13-1-1. Next up for Prince Albert is a home meeting with the Edmonton Oil Kings on Sunday night at the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is an hour earlier than usual, at 6pm.