The Prince Albert Raiders had three different leads Friday night against Brandon, but couldn’t find a way to hold onto them.
The Raiders led 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3 before eventually falling 5-4 in a shootout against the Wheat Kings at the Art Hauser Centre.
“We made a couple of glaring errors, and the pucks ended up in our net,” head coach Marc Habscheid said after the game. “We had some good looks on the powerplay, some open nets that we missed, and that’s the way it goes.”
Remy Aquilon opened the scoring for the Raiders 6:51 into the first period with a wrist shot that got through the traffic in front of the Wheat Kings net and past Brandon goalie Ethan Kruger to make it 1-0. Six minutes later, Reece Vitelli scored on a scramble in front of the Brandon goal, and the Raiders were off to a quick 2-0 lead.
However, the Wheat Kings would respond in a big way. First, it was Tyson Zimmer beating Tikhon Chaika, who started his second game of the season for the Raiders, to make it 2-1. Then, 19 seconds later, forward Brett Hyland started a rush up the ice, and sent a cross crease pass to Zakhar Polshakov. Polshakov beat a desperate Chaika, who went full splits mode to try and make the save, and that made it a 2-2 tie with six minutes left in the opening frame.
The two teams would exchange chances back and forth for the remainder of the first period, but no more shots found the back of the net, sending both teams into the first intermission tied at two.
The Raiders commanded much of the first half of the second period, and they were rewarded with 9 minutes left in the middle frame. Cale Sanders banged home a loose puck in front of the net to score his second of the season, putting the home team in front by a 3-2 margin. Sanders fought off two Brandon players to get his stick free and was able to beat Kruger, who dove across the crease in an attempt to keep it a tie game.
A scary moment occurred with 8 minutes left in the second, as a play behind the Raider net led to Remy Aquilon checking Ottawa Senators prospect Ridly Greig from behind. Aquilon was fortunate just to get a four minute double minor penalty on the play, but the Western Hockey League might look into the play and dish out additional punishment for the Raiders overage defenceman.
The Raiders would kill off the double minor, but right after that, Cale Sanders made a the trip to the sin bin thanks to a slashing penalty. The Raiders would kill that one off too, and Sanders was even sprung on a breakaway out of the penalty box, but he sent a snap shot wide, over the glove side of Kruger.
The Raiders led 3-2 on the scoreboard and 22-12 in shots after the second, but it didn’t take long for the Wheat Kings to tie it up.
Brett Hyland made a power move with the puck, moving post to post, and slipped a shot through the five hole of Chaika, making it a 3-3 game
Then, with just over 8 minutes to go, Remy Aquilon scored his second of the night, from the exact same spot where he scored his first of the game. His point shot beat Kruger, giving the Raiders a 4-3 lead.
“I just had the idea of throwing the puck on net,” Aquiline said. “There were a lot of bodies there, and it went in.”
With 4 minutes left in regulation, a controversial non call could have sent the Raiders to a powerplay, but instead, it was Vlad Shilo that was sent to the box, giving the Wheat Kings the man advantage. It did not take long for Brandon to capitalize, as Nolan Ritchie potted his sixth goal of the season, once again tying the game 4-4, much to the chagrin of Raider fans in attendance.
The Raiders would have multiple looks near the end of the game, as they went on the powerplay. Tyson Laventure had a chance to put the Raiders in front in the last minute, as the puck found his stick near the left hash, but he bobbled it and couldn’t generate a shot on goal. The game remained tied at four after 60, and overtime would be needed.
The extra frame saw it’s fair share of chances, but both Chaika and Kruger stood on their heads, making outstanding saves for both teams, and sending the game to a shooutout.
In the penalty shot round, it came down to the final shot for the Wheat Kings. With Ritchie and Guhle scoring for each team, Tyson Zimmer had the game on his stick, and he made no mistake, beating Chaika, and giving Brandon the win, and the extra point.
Tyson Lavenutre, who had his share of opportunities for the Raiders on Friday, spoke about his play in the loss.
“My teammates did a good job of finding me,” Laventure said. “They found me open in front of the net a couple times there, but I can’t be missing those. We’ve just got to move on from the loss. I thought we played hard, and we got an unlucky call at the end, and gave up a tough goal, but we have to put that in the past and move on to tomorrow.”
The Raiders will finish up their home and home with the Wheat Kings on Saturday in Brandon. Prince Albert has made the trip to Brandon once this season, dropping a 5-2 contest at Westoba Place.
Puck drop is at 7pm.