Raider power play unit stalls, fall to Blades in overtime

Prince Albert Raiders forward Vladislav Shilo handles the puck in the offensive zone during Western Hockey League play at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon on Saturday, Sept. 24

The Prince Albert Raiders couldn’t convert on some key power plays, and it cost them as they fell 2-1 to the Saskatoon Blades in overtime at the SaskTel Centre on Saturday night.

Prince Albert outshot the Blades 25-16 in the contest.

Head coach Jeff Truitt says he thought the team executed well in the defensive zone.

“I thought we did a real good job. You look at the shots on goal, we held them to basically three shots in the third period and overtime. So, they did an excellent job keeping them to the outside. But when you don’t capitalize on special teams, it can bite you and it did.”

Lukas Hansen opened the scoring for Saskatoon with his first career WHL goal at the 13:48 mark of the first period. Hansen beat Max Hildebrand after Tanner Molendyk point shot ricocheted off the boards and straight to Hansen’s stick.

Prince Albert would strike five minutes later as Hayden Pakkala tipped a point shot from Trevor Thurston past Blades netminder Austin Elliott on the power play to tie the game at one.

That would be the end of scoring in regulation, but far from the only opportunities for the Raiders in the hockey game. Saskatoon served 20 minutes of penalty time compared to only 8 for Prince Albert.

Saskatoon would commit two five-minute majors in the game. The first came at the 6:40 mark of the second period when Evan Herman got tangled up with Tanner Molendyk. Molendyk was charged with a slew footing penalty and was given a game misconduct. Prince Albert did not score on the power play.

The second major penalty committed by Saskatoon came at the 17:07 mark in the third period as Justin Lies hit Vladislav Shilo hard from behind, leaving the Belarusian forward shaken up on the play. Lies would be charged with a five-minute major for charging and was given a game misconduct.

Prince Albert would have a power play for the remainder of regulation and for a 1:53 of the five-minute overtime frame but could not solve Blade netminder Austin Elliott.

Truitt says the Raider power play wasn’t up to to the task, going 1 for 6 in the hockey game.

“It wasn’t good enough. When you get two five-minute power plays, you need to capitalize. The 5-on-3s, you got to make sure you’re getting quality shots on net. We turned some things into one on ones. That was the difference tonight, we had opportunities to win, and we didn’t [capitalize]”

After the major penalty to Justin Lies expired in overtime, it appeared the game would be headed to a shootout as both teams were playing lockdown defense in the extra frame.

Saskatoon would get a chance in the dying seconds of the frame, and they would convert. Brandon Lisowsky took a sharp angle shot against Max Hildebrand and the rebound went straight to Tyler Parr in front of the net and the 17-year-old forward made no mistake finding the back of the net with 0.6 seconds left and giving the Blades a 2-1 win.

The Prince Albert Raiders are back in action on Wednesday, Sept. 28 when they host the Winnipeg ICE in a rematch of last season’s first round playoff matchup, which Winnipeg won in five games. Puck drops at 7pm.