The Prince Albert Raiders stayed right with the Swift Current Broncos for 59 minutes on Tuesday, but the 60th minute did them in.
Parker Kelly scored twice and Ian Scott stopped 30 shots, as the Raiders fell 4-2 to the Broncos on a last minute winner.
Raider coach Marc Habscheid credited his team for carrying the play during the third period, but added that poor defensive zone coverage cost them.
“I just thought our coverage was soft on both goals and you can’t do that,” Habscheid said. “You’ve got to be more aggressive and I thought we just gave them too much room on both of them.”
A total of 1,886 fans trekked through the blowing snow to watch Sunday’s contest. Parker Kelly gave them something to cheer about early in the game when he deflected a Simon Stransky shot past Bronco netminder Jordan Papirny.
The powerplay marker was Kelly’s first of two on the evening, but the Camrose, Alta. product said he would prefer two points to two goals.
“The pucks just been finding me,” said Kelly, who now has five goals in and nine points in his last four games. “But more importantly, we’ve got to keep pushing for those wins and get to 10th place.”
Sean Montgomery nearly made it 2-0 for the Raiders after converting during a wild goal-mouth scramble. The play was initially ruled a goal, but was overturned upon video review.
The Broncos tied the game up a few minutes later when Lane Pederson notched his 20th of the season on a play that through a scare into Raider fans. Raider netminder Ian Scott appeared to limp off the ice after the goal, but the issue turned out to be an equipment problem and not an injury.
“A (skate) blade came out and we couldn’t get it back in,” Habscheid explained. “He had to take the whole skate off, so we had to switch goalies there.”
Nicholas Sanders stopped both shots he faced during four minutes of work, with Scott returning for the second period no worse for wear. The Raider netminder made a number of tough saves to keep the score tied, including stopping the Broncos’ leading scorer Tyler Steenbergen on a breakaway.
Scott’s play earned high praise from his teammates.
“I think when Scotty plays like that, we owe it to him to play harder and tonight I feel bad,” Kelly said. “He just gave us everything, and it just sucks that we couldn’t get that two points for him.”
Kaden Elder broke the deadlock and put the visitors up 2-1 just after the halfway point of the third period. The lead lasted less than three minutes before Kelly tied things up by slapping in a rebound following a Cavin Leth shot.
The game seem destined for overtime before Steenbergen gave the Broncos the lead on a quick snapshot with 58 seconds left to play.
“I thought that last goal was a good goal,” Habscheid said. “That was a good shot. We backed in way too much. (Steenbergen) shot passed a screen. That was a good shot, good golf. Our gaps got soft on that one and he made a good shot.”
Ryley Lindgren cemented the victory with a long-distance empty netter, making the final 4-2.
The loss drops Prince Albert to 18-42-5-2 on the season, while Swift Current improve to 34-20-4-6. The Raiders are off until Friday when they begin a home-and-home series with the Brandon Wheat Kings. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
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