Fighting back

Curtis Miske, who scored in his Raiders debut tonight, battles with Noah Gregor for position ---- Dustin Saracini/Daily Herald

Prince Albert forces a shootout, earns one point in loss to Moose Jaw

The Prince Albert Raiders displayed some extreme confidence in tonight’s contest against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

They were down four times throughout, found penalty trouble, but kept digging themselves out of their collective hole to force a shootout.

Three first period goals from Parker Kelly, Sean Montgomery and Luke Coleman set the stage for new Raider Curtis Miske and rookie Carson Miller to deadlock the game at five in the third. In the end, it was the familiar faces of Jayden Halbgewachs and Nikita Popugaev netting the shootout winners and handing Moose Jaw a 6-5 victory.

“I thought our power play and five-on-five was good,” head coach Marc Habscheid said following the loss.

“Our penalty kill struggled a little bit tonight, we took some penalties that weren’t [good] calls, but we took some penalties that were calls, too many of those. That cost us.”

Miske was impressive in his debut, using his big frame to quarterback the power play and making himself known to the fan base with a pivotal goal to tie the game at four in the back half of the tilt. Coach Habscheid said he liked the way he played following a long day on the plane, and will be looking to further use his versatility in different situations.

“It was a tough position for him to come in, he arrived at the rink at 5:30, quarter to six. So he jumped in there and jumped on the ice, so good for him,” he said.

“For a first game I thought he did okay, you don’t want to evaluate too much on one game, especially with a travel day like that. It says a lot about the guy that he just jumps in and plays like that.”

There was no shortage of offence once the puck dropped in the first period. The Warriors tallied the first goal of the game just 36 seconds in with Brayden Burke’s eighth of the campaign. Instead of being disheartened, the resilient group wearing the green and gold banded together with three first period goals.

“Some nights, like every team, it’s not there, but most nights it is,” Habscheid said of his teams effort tonight.

“That first goal, you can just tell, it took the steam out a bit, but they regrouped real good and continued to battle. We kept fighting our way back and even to get five goals tonight is a good sign. But, like I said, we can’t allow five.”

Kelly knotted things up with his fifth of the season after a nifty feed from Max Martin split the defence, giving the Camrose, AB. product some space to maneuver. The notch on the power play was Prince Albert’s first against Moose Jaw this season, who came into the game 0/23 against the black and red. Burke came back with his second of the night with a man advantage marker of his own, but two unanswered goals from Montgomery and Coleman gave the Raiders a 3-2 lead through 20 minutes.

In the middle stanza, the Warriors made due on their second power play opportunity of the period courtesy of Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Brett Howden. A sprawling Nicholas Sanders was at the mercy of Howden, who scored his 18th of the season into the top half of the cage. Burke registered his third point of the night with the assist, he finished with four. Tanner Jeannot then continued his scoring tear against the Raiders, tallying his sixth goal against the green and gold this season. A defensive breakdown left the 18-year-old wide open in the slot, who made no mistake rifling a shot into the back of the net. 4-3 Moose Jaw.

The Raiders wouldn’t go away come the third period. Off the plane and onto the ice it was Miske scoring his first in Prince Albert to tie things up with a snipe from the left faceoff circle. Cole Fonstad set up the former Spokane Chief forward for his sixth of the year.

Burke later capped off his hat trick on a scramble play in front of the Raiders netminder, but the Moose Jaw lead wouldn’t last long. With less than two minutes left in regulation, Miller got the crowd out of their seats with the game-tying goal, taking a couple of whacks at the puck from just outside the crease of Zach Sawchenko. The marker was his fifth of the season.

Following the game, Miller said it was the clubs ability to stick together that earned them one point.

“We are definitely a close-knit team,” he noted.

“We believe in each other, we believe in the coaches, and we are going to work hard until the end.”

Prince Albert (8-29-1-2) will try and use the momentum gathered tonight this Friday against Rylan Parenteau, Dalton Yorke and the Tri-City Americans (22-16-3-0) who come to town for a 7 p.m. bout.

Daily Herald THREE STARS

  1. Brayden Burke (3 G, 1 A)
  2. Brett Howden (1 G, 2 A)
  3. Carson Miller (1 G, 1 A)

Goalie performances

Nicholas Sanders – 32/37 SVs

Zach Sawchenko – 31/36 SVs