Raiders can’t overcome deficit in loss to Blades

Herald file photo.

The road woes continued for the Prince Albert Raiders as they dropped their 10th consecutive game away from the Art Hauser Centre, falling 6-1 to the Saskatoon Blades at the SaskTel Centre on Friday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says the Raiders didn’t make the most of their chances against the Blades.

“Special teams came into it. They had two power play goals and a short-handed goal. You can’t put this team on the power play. You’re gonna pay me and we did, and then we had some offensive chances, especially off the rush, that we just can’t capitalize, we just can’t get shots off on our rush. We got to bear down on those situations and create offense that way.”

It would only take 1:31 for the Blades to open the scoring as Tanner Molendyk would strike for his seventh goal of the year on the power play to put Saskatoon up 1-0. Egor Sidorov and Trevor Wong had the helpers on the play.

A short handed goal by Turner McMillen would bring the Raiders even after the first period. The overage forward would make the most of a breakaway with a backhand shot that would beat Blades netminder Evan Gardner for his sixth of the season. Niall Crocker and Easton Kovacs assisted on the play.

Shots favored Saskatoon 11-4 after the first period.

A redirection in front by Rowan Calvert would lead to his ninth goal of the season to give the Blades a 2-1 lead on the power play at the 3:39 mark of the second period. Fraser Minten and Alexander Suzdalev had assists on the play.

Minten would pick up a goal of his own at the 14:20 mark to extend the Blades lead to 3-1. Brandon Lisowsky and Charlie Wright assisted on the play.

The Blades would pick up a pair of goals within a minute in the third period.

A short handed goal by Tyler Parr at the 10:04 mark would put the Blades up by three. Helpers were assigned to Fraser Minten and Tanner Molendyk.

Molendyk picked up his 100th career WHL point with the assist.

Rhett Melnyk would add his fourth for Saskatoon of the season just fifty five seconds later. Vaughn Watterodt and Lukas Hansen assisted on the play.

Misha Volotovskii would add an insurance marker for Saskatoon.

Max Hildebrand made 31 stops for the Raiders in net, while his counterpart Evan Gardner made 19 saves for the Blades.

The loss was the 10th consecutive road loss for Prince Albert since the holiday break. Three of the losses in that span have come at the SaskTel Centre.

Truitt says the Raiders have not been making the most of their opportunities throughout that stretch,

“At times you’ve got to compete harder, you just can’t rely on stick checks to get the job done and capitalize on opportunities that we do get. Ihat can certainly be a difference and we ask our guys to play hard at home and on the road, there’s no difference, there’s going to be consistency to the game. When you’re not getting a whole lot of offensive chances, you don’t get really a lot of shots off the quality chances that we generate, you know, you’re not putting ourselves in great scoring opportunities.”

The Raiders return to action Saturday when they welcome the Brandon Wheat Kings to the Art Hauser Centre. Brandon and Prince Albert will meet three times at the Art Hauser Centre over the course of the month of February.

Truitt says the Raiders need to play strong against all opponents, especially the Wheat Kings down the stretch.

“We need to win, we’ve got Brandon three times here in the next little, but it comes at a 60 minute effort and comes with everybody pulling in the same way., It’s desperation time and we need desperate play every night from here on.”

Puck drops at 7 p.m. Saturday night.