New faces banding together

Jordy Stallard scored against his former team in his Raiders debut ---- Dustin Saracini/Daily Herald

Prince Albert crawls back against Calgary to earn themselves a point in overtime

The new-look Prince Albert Raiders welcomed Matteo Gennaro, Luke Coleman and the Calgary Hitmen back to the Art Hauser Centre for their third matchup of the season. A strong second and third period bolstered a pair of two-goal deficit comebacks, but in the end, it was the Hitmen earning two points in a 5-4 overtime showdown. Up front, Adam Kadlec, Kolten Olynek, Cavin Leth and Jordy Stallard were able to find the back of the net for the green and gold.

Following the loss, head coach Marc Habscheid caught glimpses of what his team is capable of.

“It was in spurts,” he said.

“In the first period we were kind of standing around and watching, kind of introducing ourselves to each other a little bit … Second period we were much better, I thought we took over the game.”

“They are just getting to know one another,” he continued.

“I think it’s difficult for these guys. [Curtis] Miske hasn’t been around long either so you are still trying to find line combinations and who works with who, and they are trying to get the feel of their teammates.”

Stallard and Brayden Pachal played in their first game as members of the Raiders, the former debuting on the top line alongside Simon Stransky and Curtis Miske, the latter taking shifts with Vojtech Budik.

“It’s one game so they have nerves, but I thought they were okay for their first game for sure,” Habscheid said.

“Stallard we got him to play, he’s a good two-way centreman, obviously playing some quality minutes we need him to score, there’s no doubt. Pachal looks like a good defender, good puck-mover, and fearless, strong on his skates, he’ll be a good addition to us as well.”

Stallard believes he and his linemates will gel over time.

“We have a little bit of ways to come,” he said.

“Still looking for that chemistry, but it will come. If we want to stay leaders on this team we have to play a lot better than we did tonight … [To gain chemistry] it’s a mix of everything on and off the ice. Depending on practice, and we’re going on a road trip next week, so that will definitely help out.”

Pachal showed his “Raider way” mentality in the opening frame when the Estevan product delivered a quality hip check to Justyn Gurney as he tried to enter the offensive zone. Pachal’s aggressive stick and hard-hitting play was on display throughout the tilt while showing tremendous poise for a 17-year-old in his own end. The highlight of his game came in the third, when the youngster sprawled out to deny a two-on-one Calgary rush.

At the 9:21 mark of the first and much to the chagrin of the hard-working Pachal and company, Gurney fired back with his second goal of the campaign. The animosity continued via Zack Hayes, who dropped the gloves with aptly named Andrew Fyten before decisively winning the heavyweight bout.

The Raiders were doing the right things in terms of physicality, but weren’t able to create quality scoring chances. Calgary took advantage and extended their lead to two off a turnover turned rebound goal for Andrei Grishakov.

Near the end of the first, Kadlec had a pair of chances to cut into the lead, but it was Trevor Martin equal to the task.

It wouldn’t be the same outcome in the middle stanza.

The offence swayed heavily in the second as the Raiders found their stride in the opening minutes, firing eight shots on net while Calgary mustered just one. Cole Fonstad sent a turnaround, no-look feed to Kadlec on a two-on-one, handing him his third of the season on a silver plate. With the helper, Fonstad’s point streak extended to four games, the longest of his season.

Prince Albert didn’t stop at one, tying the game with a Parker Kelly, Olynek connection. Kelly sent a picture perfect saucer pass to the blade of Olynek, springing him for a partial breakaway. The longtime Raider made no mistake, firing a wrister five-hole for his ninth of the season.

Before the second period buzzer, though, Calgary made it a one-goal game courtesy of Brady Reagan. A defensive lapse left the defenceman open from just outside the slot, making it 3-2 Hitmen heading into the finale.

Jakob Stukel wasted no time doubling the Calgary lead five seconds into third period puck drop, but Stallard wasn’t going to let his former team run away with this one. At the 8:15 mark, a tremendous forecheck accumulated into Stallard’s first as a Raider from just outside the crease.

“It definitely feels good to get that under my belt,” he said.

“It would’ve been better to get the win.”

From one new Raider to another, Miske displayed his vision stopping up at the right half-wall before a cross crease pass found Leth for his 11th — sending the game to overtime.

Calgary had yet to allow a Raiders’ lead in the contest, and would keep it that way in the extra frame. Vladislav Yeryomenko potted a backhand shot through the armour of Scott, cueing the Calgary celebrations.

On deck for the (8-31-2-2) Raiders is a tilt against the (19-17-4-2) Red Deer Rebels this Friday as Austin Glover makes his way back to town.

The puck drops at 7 p.m.

Daily Herald THREE STARS

Jordy Stallard (1 G)

Kolten Olynek (1 G, 1 A)

Vladislav Yeryomenko (GWG, +3)