Cut down by the Giants

© Dustin Saracini/Daily Herald Cole Fonstad notched a goal and an assist tonight in Vancouver

Prince Albert runs out of time, drops third consecutive game in Vancouver

The Prince Albert Raiders continued to rack up the miles on their B.C. trip as they made the three and a half hour excursion to Vancouver, which included a ferry ride across the Salish Sea.

The beautiful images of the B.C. coast may have diminished for the green and gold once they took to the ice, though. A strong, three-goal first period for Vancouver led the way to a 5-3 loss, despite a late rally from Prince Albert. Radovan Bondra did most of the damage throughout the game with his 13th, 14th and 15th goals of the season.

“They came with a whole lot of pressure to start. We were okay but they scored on their chances,” head coach Marc Habscheid said following the game.

“It’s a character bunch and they will always try, that’s for sure. We managed to get a couple in the third but at 5-1 it was kind of over at that time.”

Raider fans caught a glimpse of what’s to come for the organization, watching a pair of rookies hook up for a Cole Fonstad tally late in the second. Carson Miller drew the assist with a perfect saucer pass. Rookie Spencer Moe also notched a helper on a goal from Cavin Leth in the third.

“They played good, we are just trying to work with them and hopefully develop them properly,” Habscheid said.

“Those young kids, they work hard and they have some skill to them. They’re smart and when they have the puck they’re going to do some things with it.”

The Slovakian product, Bondra, found the scoresheet at the 6:48 mark in the first, using his predatory instincts behind the net. Stealing the puck, Bondra skated to the slot and beat Ian Scott short-side for his 13th of the season. The Chicago Blackhawks draft pick is in his second year as a Giant and played with the U20 Slovakia club at the World Junior Championship in 2015. Bondra later tallied his second of the period on a penalty shot, flicking a wrister through the wickets of Scott.

Matt Barberis added to the Raiders deficit, netting his 3rd of the campaign with a shot through traffic. 3-0 Vancouver through 20 minutes.

Scott would be chased from the game early in the second for the third consecutive start. This time it was Thomas Foster whacking at a rebound for his fourth. Ty Ronning earned the assist, while Bondra stuffed the scoresheet for the third time with the second helper.

Scott ended his night stopping seven of 11 shots, whereas Nicholas Sanders came in and made 11 of 12 saves in relief.

The Raiders broke the goose egg with four minutes remaining in the middle stanza. Miller sprung Fonstad on a breakaway, who made no mistake. The fifth overall pick of the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft slid a backhand opportunity through the pillows of David Tendeck to cut the deficit to three heading into the second intermission.

Bondra tallied the hat trick midway through the final frame, finding space in close after corralling a pass from Foster. A quick transition from his backhand to forehand was enough to fool Sanders and beat him over the blocker. 5-1 Giants.

“He’s a big man, has a real good shot,” Habscheid noted.

“He’s tough to handle, he had a good night tonight.”

Prince Albert made it 5-2 with four minutes remaining while Leth cleaned up a rebound. Moe fired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that kicked off the pads of Tendeck and onto the blade of Leth, who buried his third. They weren’t done there, as Sean Montgomery scored a power play marker with 2:24 left, jumping on another rebound to breathe life into the bench, but it was too little, too late.

Coach Habscheid’s team heeded his words in terms of discipline tonight, re-grouping to take just two penalties after making 12 trips to the sin bin over the previous two games.

“The best way to kill a penalty is if you don’t have any penalties. I thought our guys did a good job with that,” Habscheid said.

“We are just a work in progress, we’re in transition. We are trying to stay positive, keep the guys upbeat and get better everyday.”

Prince Albert has a gigantic test against one of the best teams in the WHL in the Prince George Cougars on Friday.

Puck drop is 9 p.m.

Daily Herald THREE STARS

Radovan Bondra (3 G, 1 A)

Cole Fonstad (1 G, 1 A)

Thomas Foster (1 G, 1 A)