Exchanging blows

Kolby Johnson and Bryan Lockner exchange fists at centre ice ---- Dustin Saracini/Daily Herald

Prince Albert and Regina battle to the buzzer in 13-goal marathon

The Prince Albert Raiders were eight seconds away from knocking off the number one ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League tonight. In hostile territory, the mix and match club who are just beginning to familiarize themselves with one another following a busy year of trades dropped four goals on the Regina Pats in the first, but were unable to hold onto their lead in the dying seconds, taking a 7-6 overtime loss.

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Adam Brooks scored the tying marker and game winner, while production on the other side of the boards came from everywhere. Carson Miller notched two goals in a three-point night, while Parker Kelly, Jordy Stallard, Curtis Miske and Spencer Moe also found the back of the net.

“We lost our captain first shift and arguably our best player yesterday,” head coach Marc Habscheid said of his group.

“We just kept playing, we got some timely goals and made some good shots … They have a lot of firepower and just kept picking away. They got a five-on-three goal and we responded but it was just one of those crazy games.”

“We’re getting there,” he continued.

“[Regina] has lost two at home all year, it would’ve been nice to give them their third. We faced a lot of adversity and just kept going.”

Discipline has always been a priority for this hockey club, who didn’t take a penalty until 13 minutes remaining in the hockey game.

“We have to [stay out of the box] against this team,” Habscheid said.

“They have a good power play and we deserved that five-on-four penalty [in the third].”

The Raiders’ offence burst at the seams in the opening frame. For the first time this year, they rattled off four goals in the first 20 minutes, two of them off the stick of Miller.

As a five-on-three opportunity was coming to a close, Miller handed the green and gold a 1-0 advantage with a pull back wrist shot from just inside the right faceoff dot. The notch wasn’t to be outdone by Miske, who registered his fifth point in six games since coming over from the Spokane Chiefs. Miske broke into the offensive zone on a two-on-one but chose to shoot, a wise decision as the big forward went far side for his third goal in a Prince Albert uniform. Miller recorded his second in the frame as Vojtech Budik skated coast-to-coast to set the youngster up in the slot, where the defence all but forgot about him. The period was capped off by Stallard, the Winnipeg Jets prospect that is quickly making himself at home atop the Raiders lineup, ripping his 10th of the season on the power play.

“We played pretty good,” Habscheid said of the Raiders’ efforts in the first period.

“We just played smart and the shots we made went in. They had a young goaltender in there that probably wasn’t on top of his game, but we made some pretty good shots, too.”

Regina was hungry once the puck dropped in the middle frame, and they were looking to eat. Josh Mahura and Austin Wagner collaborated on a Bryan Lockner goal just 19 seconds into the second period before Jeff De Wit scored his first as a member of the Pats. The former Red Deer Rebels forward was playing in his second game with the blue and white. At the 14:04 mark it was Dawson Leedahl tallying his 18th of the season, assisted by Sam Steel, who took over as the WHL point leader with the secondary assist. He ended the night with three helpers. The Anaheim Ducks prospect had a chance to further his lead late in the frame on a shorthanded breakaway, but Nicholas Sanders was equal to the task, stacking the pads as number 23 tried to to go far side.

Prince Albert dug deep in the third, but it just wasn’t enough. Regina came within one multiple times before the game-tying marker, but it was the Raiders bearing down to find their offensive stroke. First, it was Kelly turning the number one power play unit in the WHL around with an absolute bomb of a slap shot to make it 5-3, popping the water bottle. Then, it was Moe restoring the two-goal advantage, going rooftop on Max Paddock following a great feed from Miller. Two late goals from Jake Leschyshyn and Brooks ultimately did the Raiders in as they watched their lead vanish come closing time.

With the 7-6 loss, the Raiders have now scored 13 goals in their last three games, which is good news for an offence that had been struggling throughout the campaign.

“It’s coming, we just have to keep rounding out our game,” Habscheid said.

“We’re playing better defensively, we’re playing better offensively, we just have to keep going. The younger guys are playing good, the older guys are playing good, so we just have to keep moving forward.”

The green and gold have an opportunity to do it all again tomorrow as they host these same Pats at the Art Hauser Centre for a Sunday matinee matchup.

The puck drops at 4 p.m.

Daily Herald THREE STARS

Adam Brooks (2 G, 1 A, GWG)

Carson Miller (2 G, 1 A)

Sam Steel (3 A)

Goalie matchup

Nicholas Sanders – 29/36 SVs

Kurtis Chapman – 9/13 SVs

Max Paddock – 13/15 SVs

No Stransky update

Following a collision in the Raiders’ game against Red Deer, Stransky suffered an upper-body injury. There has been no update on the length of his absence.