The Saskatoon Blades had an opportunity to punch their ticket to the 2023 WHL Postseason with a win on home ice on Friday night, but the Prince Albert Raiders had other plans as a four goal outburst in the third period propelled the Raiders to a come-from-behind 6-5 overtime victory at the SaskTel Centre.
Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says that puck control was something that Prince Albert had to improve on early on in the contest.
“We didn’t control the puck as well as I would have liked us to. They are a veteran team with a lot of speed. They make plays, when you bobble pucks and stall breakouts they are going to pounce right on you. I thought particularly in our defensive zone, we had to control pucks a little bit better.”
Saskatoon would open the scoring at the 9:43 mark of the first period as Edmonton Oilers prospect Jake Chiasson would rip home his 16th goal of the season on the power play to give the Blades a 1-0 lead. Jordan Keller and Blade netminder Austin Elliott would receive assists on the play.
Brandon Lisowsky would continue to be a thorn in the side of the Prince Albert Raiders as the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect would bury his 28th goal of the season at the 14:10 mark of the first period. Egor Sidorov and Spencer Shugrue would record assists on the play.
Lisowsky has recorded 11 points in just 7 games against Prince Albert this season.
THe Raiders would cut the Blade in half courtesy of a power play goal off the tape of Ryder Ritchie. Ritchie would receive a clean pass from Landon Kosior and the rookie forward would make no mistake blasting his 16th goal of the campaign past Blade netminder Austin Elliott to make it a 2-1 hockey game after forty minutes of play. Landon Kosior and Keaton Sorenson would assist on the play.
The first intermission was unusually long due to aspects outside of either team’s control. A loss of power saw the first intermission last nearly twice as long as usual.
The lone goal of the second period would come off the tape of Jake Chiasson at the 10:03 mark. His second goal of the game and 17th of the season restored the two goal Saskatoon lead at 3-1. Conner Roulette and Tanner Molendyk assisted on the play.
Early in the third period, Vaughn Watterodt would make a shot from a sharp angle that would beat Max Hildebrand to give the Blades a 4-1 advantage just 1:44 into the third period. Chiasson and Jayden Wiens assisted on the play.
Hayden Pakkala would trim the Blade lead to two with a short handed goal at the 10:25 mark of the third period. The goal was unassisted.
The Saskatoon Blades wouldn’t stay down for long as Blade captain Aiden De La Gorgendiere would fire a point shot through traffic and past Hildebrand to give Saskatoon a seemingly safe 5-3 advantage. Egor Sidorov and Trevor Wong assisted on the play.
But it would take a grand total of 2:45 for the Raiders to complete the three goal comeback in the final half of the third period.
Landon Kosior would start the Raider barrage with his 17th goal of the season at the 12:37 mark. Aiden Oiring and Keaton Sorenson would assist on the play.
Kosior was playing in his 200th career game in the WHL Friday and picked up three points in the contest.
Truitt says he was impressed by Kosior’s play and wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a chance at the professional level.
“That’s next level stuff. Not only the offense, but the defending. I thought in the third period, he was skating extremely well. He was carrying the puck, making good decisions, getting shots through. He’s going to get some looks here. There’s no doubt about it. The proof is in the pudding with how hard he competes in the third period, he leads for us, he is getting better as a 20 year old as things start to wind down here.”
Niall Crocker would continue to have the hot hand for the Raiders as the 18-year-old forward would extend his point streak to five in a row with his 13th goal of the season at the 14:23 mark. Oiring picked up the lone assist on the play.
Already with two assists in the hockey game, Aiden Oiring picked up his 11th goal of the season to knot the score up at 5-5 at the 15:22 mark of the third period. Ritchie picked up the lone assist.
Truitt says the Raiders don’t give in late in games.
“This team, they don’t quit. They feel momentum and they normally don’t let momentum go in the third period. They kept building on it and getting pucks in deep and at the net. I thought that we got to some hard, small areas that perhaps we couldn’t get to in the first two. You take a look at the comeback wins we’ve had in the third period and how we’ve played in third periods, you can’t say anything bad about our longevity or our energy going into a third period. We’re proving that we can come from behind.”
Sixty minutes would solve nothing between the Raiders and Blades as overtime would be needed.
For the second time this week, Sloan Stanick would pick up the overtime winner just 0:49 in to give the Raiders the comeback victory. Landon Kosior assisted on the play.
Max Hildebrand earned the win in net for Prince Albert making 24 saves. Austin Elliott made 22 saves in net for Saskatoon.
The Raiders and Blades both return to action Saturday night when Saskatoon travels to the Art Hauser Centre for the second half of a weekend home-and-home series. Puck drops at 7 p.m.