Raiders down Blades in second half of home and home

Prince Albert Raider forward Curtis Miske (left) dangles around Saskatoon Blades centreman Josh Paterson (right) during first period action at the Art Hauser Centre. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The Prince Albert Raiders gained a bit of revenge for Friday night’s defeat at the hands of the Saskatoon Blades.

Cavin Leth, Simon Stransky, Kolten Olynek and Curtis Miske all tallied for the Raiders, who downed the Blades 4-2 in front of 2,396 fans at the Art Hauser Centre.

“Our guys, they responded all year after a so-so effort, and we knew they’d respond again tonight,” Raider coach Marc Habscheid said. “It was a gritty effort.”

The Raiders out flying to begin the contest, outshooting the visiting Blades 14-6 in the opening frame. Cavin Leth got the home side on the board roughly halfway through the first, when he converted on a beautiful cross-ice pass from Cole Fonstad.

It was the 19th goal of the year for Leth, and his fifth on the power play.

“As a power play, we’ve kind of been struggling where we’re having a lot of good looks, but we’re not finishing, so it was nice that we finally got that finish,” Leth said.

The Blades came to life in the second period, forcing Raider netminder Ian Scott to make a pair of difficult saves before tying the score up at one. Michael Farren got the Blades on the board after his shot deflected past Scott at the 10:55 mark.

The Raiders had a chance to retake the lead with roughly three minutes left in the period, but Parker Kelly’s shot clanged off the post on a two-on-one.

Prince Albert took the lead for good early in the third, when Simon Stransky netted his 17th of the year on a quick shot that beat Blades goaltender Logan Flodell blocker-side.

Kolten Olynek padded the Raider lead with his 12th of the season less than two minutes later on a frantic goalmouth scramble. It was a sweet moment for the former Blade, who relished beating his old club.

“I played on their team, but I really don’t like those guys that much. I’ll be completely honest with that one,” Olynek said. “Whenever you can beat that team in your own rink here, obviously it’s a good feeling.”

The Raiders looked to be in control heading down the stretch, but ran into penalty trouble with just over five minutes left in the game.

With Cole Fonstad already in the penalty box for checking to the head, Kolten Olynek was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to put the Raiders down two men.

Both Habscheid and Olynek said it was an unfortunate misunderstanding.

“I was saying something to our bench, I wasn’t saying anything to the refs,” Olynek explained. “(The ref), he thought I was saying something to him, and I’ll just leave it at that.”

“(Olynek) basically said, ‘let’s beat those guys,’ and the referee thought he meant the referee,” Habscheid said. “He meant Saskatoon, not the referee. It was an honest mistake.”

The Raiders managed to kill off both penalties, but the Blades through a late scare into the Prince Albert faithful when Barylon Shmyr scored to make it a one goal game.

Saskatoon had good pressure during the final minute, but weren’t able to find the equalizer. Curtis Miske put the game out of reach with an empty netter to make it 4-2.

Ian Scott made 21 saves to earn the victory, while Logan Flodell stopped 23 shots in a losing cause.

The Raiders are back in action on Wednesday, March 1, when they continue their six-game homestand against the Medicine Hat Tigers. Puck drop is 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.

@kerr_jas •


Scoring Summary:

First Period

  1. PA – Leth (Fonstad, Budik) (PP) 10:05

Second Period

  1. SAS – Farren (Dach, Ramsay) 10:55

Third Period

  1. PA – Stransky (Olynek, Heid) 4:58
  2. PA – Olynek (Hayes) 6:52
  3. SAS – Shmyr (Shynkaruk, Paterson) 18:04
  4. PA – Miske (EN) 19:32

Shots: PA – 27, SAS – 23

PP: PA 1/2, SAS 0/7