Raiders fall to Saskatoon in shootout to end three-in-three weekend

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Terrell Goldsmith of the Prince Albert Raiders battles with Saskatoon Blades forward Vaughn Watterodt during WHL action at the Art Hauser Centre

The Prince Albert Raiders finished off a three-in-three weekend with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre on Sunday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says the team’s play improved as the night went on, but he wasn’t impressed with how the Raiders started.

“I thought that we played real hard in the third period. We dominated at times when we were jumping. We should have done that in the first period, but they did that to us in the first. Coming back into the third and playing as hard as we did in the third saved our bacon.  We keep coming back and we take this thing to a shootout. Anything can happen there, but disappointed that we didn’t get it.”

Neither team would score in the first period as Saskatoon held a 17-3 advantage in shots

The Raiders would have the best scoring opportunity of the period as Harrison Lodewyk would have a 2-on-1 opportunity with Matej Kubiesa, but Lodewyk’s shot would beat Austin Elliott, but would strike the goal post to keep the game tied.

Egor Sidorov would open the scoring just 2:34 into the third period with his 6th of the season on the power play. Trevor Wong and Tanner Molendyk assisted on the play.

The Raiders would knot things up at the 17:00 as Ryder Ritchie would rifle home his 7th of the season through traffic and past Elliott. Jacob Hoffrogge and Sloan Stanick.

The Blades would head to the power play late in the second period. Sloan Stanick laid a big hit on Saskatoon import defenceman Samuel Barcik, but would be called for a charging minor on the play.

On the resulting power play. Blade captain Trevor Wong would give Saskatoon a 2-1 lead with an unassisted goal at the 19:35 mark of the period.

A scary moment occurred in the third period as Aiden Oiring lost his footing skating behind the Saskatoon net and crashed hard into the boards, causing the play to be blown dead.

Oiring would be looked at by Raider trainer Duane “Puff” Bartley, but returned to the bench immediately after.

Truitt says Oiring persevered after going down.

“He’s as competitive as they come. He’s not the loudest guy on the ice or on the bench, but it just goes to show that internal drive that he’s got and battles through everything.” 

After a mad scramble in front of the Saskatoon net where it appeared on a couple occasions, the Raiders would finally break through at the 7:46 mark. Sloan Stanick would put a backhand shot past Elliott to tie the game at 2-2. Aiden Oiring and Jacob Hoffrogge assisted on the play.

60 minutes would not be enough to decide a winner between Saskatoon and Prince Albert, overtime would be necessary.

The Raiders would enter their first shootout since the 2021-22 season when Ozzy Wiesblatt and Landon Kosior scored in a win over the Calgary Hitmen at the Art Hauser Centre on December 11, 2021.

The shootout would go five rounds, with overager Easton Armstrong scoring the winner to give the Blades a 3-2 victory.

The Raiders finished with five out of a possible six points in the three game weekend.

Truitt says although he would’ve liked a win Sunday, he is still happy with the overall results.

“You got to be excited for it. Coming out five out of six, it just keeps us moving up a little bit, little by little in here. Going into it, you want all of them, you want all six, there’s no doubt about that. But to get the five, it’s pretty darn good on a weekend like this with travel during a three in three.”

The Raiders return to action on Friday. October 20 when PA product Tanner Howe and the Regina Pats visit the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m. Sask. time.