Mad Max: Hildebrand lifts Raiders to shootout win over Blades

Photo by Mark Peterson Media. Prince Albert Raider netminder Max Hildebrand makes a sprawling glove save on Saskatoon Blades foward Egor Sidorov in the third round of the shootout at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday night.

It was a memorable night for all in attendance at the Art Hauser Centre as the hometown Prince Albert Raiders knocked off the Saskatoon Blades 2-1 in a shootout on Saturday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says Prince Albert got contributions from every player in the lineup 

“It was a grind. I mean, we had the battle for every inch that we got and they did too. And both teams had momentum. Both teams didn’t have momentum. Penalty kill stood tall for us tonight. After last night, a lot of guys responded and a shout out to the Peardon line, Moroz and Martin. I thought they did a great job for us tonight in that offensive zone. Built a lot of energy for our bench, but everybody contributed. That was the biggest thing is that everybody had their own little positiveness to this game and it added up to a team win.”

Turner McMillen would break the seal on the scoreboard with his first goal as a Prince Albert Raider coming at the 18:24 mark of the first period. The goal was unassisted.

McMillen had four points in six games this season with the Kelowna Rockets before being reassigned to the SJHL’s Estevan Bruins.

Shots would be even at six aside after the opening period.

Saskatoon would respond at the 5:40 mark of the second period to even up the score. Tyler Parr would find the puck after a failed Charlie Wright wraparound attempt and put it past Max Hildebrand for his seventh goal of the season. Alexander Suzdalev, making his Blade debut after being acquired from Regina, also had a helper on the play.

That would be all the scoring either side could muster in regulation and overtime. Prince Albert held the Saskatoon Blade power play to 0 for 6 on the evening after giving up three power play goals in Moose Jaw on Friday night.

Truitt says the Raiders did all the little things right to hold a dangerous Saskatoon team in check.

“We took seams away and I thought that we cleared an awful lot. Just a lot of the little things that we didn’t do last night, we did tonight. And again, that’s a correction that you have got to make from one night to the next. And they did that. So very effective tonight against a good power play.”

The shootout would be a seven round thriller, but it wouldn’t have gotten that far without the heroics of Raider netminder Max Hildebrand.

The 19-year-old Martensville product made a sprawling glove save on Blade sniper Egor Sidorov in the third round of the shootout. If Sidorov had scored on the play, it would have won the game for Saskatoon.

“I felt good. It was a really good team win, some we needed after a bit of a skid there.” Hildebrand said in his post-game media availability. “But I skated with Sidorov in the summer a lot, so I’ve seen a lot of his moves and it’s good to get him there.”

Oli Chenier would beat Blade netminder Evan Gardner low glove side in the seventh round and Hildebrand would stand tall against Saskatoon’s Tyler Parr to seal the victory for Prince Albert.

Truitt says Hildebrand has been rock solid for the Raiders all season long.

“It’s unreal. He’s just a steady ship for us and he’s a special player because of his competitiveness and because he cares to win and all of our guys are the same way. But for a guy like him, he’s the difference here tonight. There’s no doubt. And he’s been the difference a lot of nights. So kudos to him.”

The Raiders return to action on Tuesday night when they welcome the Vancouver Giants to the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.