Raiders fall short against Wheat Kings

Brandon Wheat Kings goalie Carson Bjarnason (64) watches the puck bounce past his mask as Prince Albert Raiders forward Brayden Dube (15) looks for a rebound during Western Hockey League action at Westoba Place on Saturday. The puck bounced behind Bjarnason but a replay showed the netminder swept the puck off the goal-line with his stick before it went in. (Perry Bergson/The Brandon Sun)

In an important game in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Prince Albert Raiders came up short as they fell 3-2 to the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says the Raiders did not play up to their ability.

“It was sloppy and I didn’t think that we were physical enough for most of the game. We had some bad turnovers in bad spots. We went through this a couple months ago and actually was getting better. It popped up here again tonight.  I thought that we let them off the hook physically a little bit and gave them easy possession coming into our zone.”

For the second consecutive game, Justice Christensen would score for the Prince Albert Raiders as the 18-year-old Red Deer product would open the scoring at the 9:54 mark of the first period. Niall Crocker received credit for the lone helper.

During a 5-on-3 power play later in the period, Jayden Wiens would draw the Wheat Kings even at the 12:21 mark with his 24th goal of the season. Brett Hyland and Andrei Maliavin assisted on the tally.

A turnover in the defensive zone would lead to the Wheat Kings taking the lead as Dominik Petr would take full advantage at the 15:03 mark as the Czechia product would rip home his 17th goal of the season. Carter Klippenstein had the lone assist.

Nolan Flamand would double the Wheat King lead at the 17:11 mark of the second period as the former Kelowna Rocket would bury his 19th goal of the season on a loose puck just outside the Raider crease. Rylen Roersma assisted on the play.

Aiden Oiring would bring the Raiders within one at the 11:57 mark of the third period. A nifty feed from Ryder Ritchie combined with Oiring’s quick release would be good enough for his 18th goal of the season. Jacob Hoffrogge was credited with the secondary assist.

The Raiders would have a golden opportunity to tie the game later on in the frame as Turner McMillen would make a good pass to Krzysztof Macias in the slot,but Carson Bjarnason made the most impressive of his 24 saves to keep the one goal Brandon lead intact.

Max Hildebrand made 23 stops for Prince Albert in net.

The Raiders return to action on Wednesday night when they welcome Tanner Howe and the Regina Pats to the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.