Late power play goal sinks Raiders in Saskatoon

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Prince Albert Raiders forward Harrison Lodewyk prepares for a faceoff during WHL action at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon on Dec. 27, 2023.

The Prince Albert Raiders gave the top team in the Eastern Conference all they could handle, but couldn’t skate away with a victory falling 6-3 to the Saskatoon Blades on Wednesday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says Prince Albert played better then the scoreboard suggested.

“I thought it was a real good effort by our team. We got behind, but I thought we did a lot of good things. I thought that we moved the puck well. I thought that we created some chances even though the shots on goal in the first period favored them.

Overage forward Easton Armstrong would send the fur flying for the Blade teddy toss at the 17:12 mark of the first period with his 18th goal of the campaign.

Armstrong received a pass from behind the Raider net from Rowan Calvert and beat Max Hildebrand high blocker side. Tyler Parr received credit for the secondary assist on the play.

Egor Sidorov, who entered Wednesday second in the WHL in goals, would double the Blade lead with his 33rd goal of the campaign at the 18:27 mark of the second period. Trevor Wong and Brandon Lisowsky assisted on the play.

Shots favored Saskatoon 18-8 in the opening frame.

Prince Albert would strike back just 1:01 into the second period. Sloan Stanick would pick up a loose rebound and would perform a wraparound for his 14th goal of the season. Harrison Lodewyk and Niall Crocker assisted on the play.

Stanick would pick up his second goal of the contest at the 8:48 mark of the third period. Harrison Lodewyk and Oli Chenier assisted on the play.

The Raiders would take the lead thanks to Hayden Pakkala’s sixth goal of the season at the 10:42 mark. Pakkala would redirect a point shot from Eric Johnston past Evan Gardner to give Prince Albert their first lead of the night. 

Saskatoon would respond less then three minutes later as Tyler Parr would pick up his fourth goal of the season. Easton Armstrong and Ben Saunderson assisted on the play.

After a late penalty against the Raiders, Charlie Wright would strike for the eventual game winner at the 17:51 mark of the third period. Armstrong and Evan Gardner assisted on the play.

Truitt says the Raiders paid for a costly penalty late in the game.

“They had a couple of penalties in the first period, and you almost expected you’re going to have to kill somewhere along the line, but there’s penalties that are hardworking penalties, defending types of penalties, and then there are penalties that can really cost you. Bad penalties usually do, and it did.””

The Blades would add a pair of empty net goals.

Max Hildebrand made 31 saves for the Raiders in goal. Evan Gardner made 29 stops for the Blades.

In four meetings so far this season, the Raiders have been unable to defeat their rival down Highway 11, despite playing a couple solid games against the Blades.

Truitt says the Raiders are a team that take pride in their performance and 

“It’s the pride of our jersey, it’s our identity that our group stays together. They work hard for each other. They do a lot of great things. (Saskatoon’s) got some explosive talent. We’ve got good talent as well. They’re an older group, we’re a younger type of team. Like I say, learning to win takes certain situations to go your own way, and we’re pushing the best that we can. Our guys are playing hard, but we’ve got to get on the winning side of the column here.”

The Raiders return to action when they welcome the Moose Jaw Warriors to the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.