Herman’s hat trick helps Raiders to 5-2 win over Oil Kings

Evan Herman roofs a backhand in the second period for his second goal of the night. He had a hat trick in the Raiders’ 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings Sunday night at the Art Hauser Centre. –Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

The Prince Albert Raiders put on a show on Sunday night at the Art Hauser Centre, beating the Central division leading Edmonton Oil Kings 5-2. Evan Herman scored three goals for his second hat trick in less than a month, while linemates Hayden Pakkala and Vlad Shilo each had an assist, as the Raiders snapped their three game losing streak.

“I liked a lot of it,” head coach Marc Habscheid said. “I thought our guys played really hard and we played together, and that was the difference.”

A turnover at the Raider blueline led to the Oil Kings scoring the first goal of the game. Dylan Guenther stripped Vlad Shilo of the puck and brought it down the right wall. He then sent a pass to the slot right to Jaxsen Wiebe, who rocketed a one timer past Tikhon Chaika, opening the scoring, as the Oil Kings went up 1-0 with 11:45 left in the first period.

The Raiders found the equalizer with 4:59 left in the first. After Tayem Gislason sent a shot over the net, Niall Crocker found the loose puck and tucked home his third goal of the year before Sebastian Cossa could recover. Crocker’s tally was the last one of the first period, as the two teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after 20.

The Oil Kings scored the tie breaker with 9:17 left in the second period. Shea Van Olm sent a pass from the blueline to Edmonton’s second leading goal scorer Dylan Guenther, and he shot a puck five hole on Chaika. Edmonton took the lead after dominating much of the first half of the second period.

With seven minutes to go, the Raiders found themselves on a powerplay after Simon Kubicek took an interference penalty. With time winding down on the man advantage, Ozzy Wiesblatt spotted Evan Herman, who was cutting towards the slot. Wiesblatt sent a pass to the tape, and Herman let go a one timer that overpowered Cossa, tying the game. His 11th goal of the season made it a 2-2 game.

Prince Albert wasn’t done there in the middle frame, as they added another goal just 2:03 later. Reece Vitelli and Keaton Sorenson led an odd man rush into the Edmonton zone. Vitelli carried the puck down the right wing and sent a pass over to Sorenson. Sorenson cut towards the goal, and beat Cossa to give the Raiders their first lead of the night. With his sixth goal of the year, Sorenson gave Prince Albert a 3-2 lead after two periods.

Evan Herman doubled Prince Albert’s lead in the third period with his second goal of the contest. Vlad Shilo centred a pass for Herman, and he made no mistake. Alone with only Cossa to beat, Herman deked and roofed a shot top shelf. With 7:45 to go in the third, the Raiders took a 4-2 lead.

“It was a good effort from our team tonight,” Herman said. “Everyone was engaged, I liked our energy. It’s good to see guys like (Crocker) contribute, and it’s good for them.”

Herman wasn’t satisfied with two goals, scoring his third goal of the night with 5:32 left in the third. On another powerplay, he was given a pass in front by former Oil King defenceman Eric Johnston, and banged his third goal of the night home. The Raiders took a 5-2 lead on their second powerplay goal of the night.

“It’s a pretty good feeling when you get a hat trick,” Herman added. “I know Shilo is pretty pumped up too, and you can’t blame him. You can’t do it without the help of your teammates, and we got a big win.”

“Obviously you like the scoring,” Habscheid said of Herman. “Scoring brings confidence, and confidence creates scoring. He’s been getting some goals, so he’s been getting more and more confident. That whole line has been good offensively, but defensively, taking care of their own end has been getting better too.”

From there, the Raiders were able to hold on for the win. Chaika stopped 22 of 24 shots, picking up third star honour and his seventh win of the season. Cossa stopped 20 of 25 shots in a losing effort, in his second start for Edmonton since returning from the World Juniors. With the win over Edmonton, the Raiders join Saskatoon and Brandon as the only teams in the Eastern Conference that have beaten both the Oil Kings and Winnipeg ICE.

“I thought we were good all over the ice,” Herman said. “I think we’re just going to keep building now, and good things will happen. I think it’s pretty easy to get pumped up when you play against teams higher up in the standings. We play our best hockey when we’re all moving our feet, playing as a team and bringing high energy. It was a good night for our group, and a good building night too.”

Prince Albert is off until Friday, when they kick off a home and home set with the Broncos in Swift Current.