Raiders hold on, edge Tigers 3-2

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Niall Crocker leads the flyby after scoring a second period goal Saturday at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Prince Albert Raiders bent, but didn’t break as they defeated the Medicine Tigers 3-2 on Saturday night at the Art Hauser Centre.

“I really liked our compete.” Raider head coach Jeff Truitt said in his post-game media availability. “We were heavy everywhere and we made some really good plays to spring ourselves for more puck control through the neutral zone. I thought we did a tremendous job of moving pucks and then when we did have it, we were physical. We got to the front of the net, Dube got a couple at the net front which is great. The penalty kill came up big in the third. The pressure was on, we knew it was going to come. We bent, but we didn’t break.”

Prince Albert would open the scoring at the 17:04 mark of the first period During a delayed penalty, Brayden Dube would bat home a puck out of mid-air that was originally called no goal on the ice.

Following a lengthy video review, the call was overturned giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead after it was found that Dube’s stick was even with the crossbar and not above. Niall Crocker and Harrison Lodewyk assisted on the play.

Just over a minute later, another Tiger delayed penalty would lead to a Raider goal. Brayden Dube would score his second goal of the hockey game and 12th of the season at the 18:31 mark of the first period. Justice Christensen and Jacob Hoffrogge assisted on the play.

Shots favored the Tigers 11-10 after one period of play.

After a slashing call against Medicine Hat captain Tyler MacKenzie, the Raider power play would pad the lead at the 9:32 mark of the second period.

Niall Crocker would tip a Sloan Stanick past Ethan McCallum for his 16th goal of the campaign to extend the Prince Albert lead to 3-0. Aiden Oiring received credit for the secondary assist on the play.

A slashing call against Aiden Oiring would give the Tigers life in the third period.

At the 5:55 mark of the third period, Shane Smith would get Medicine Hat on the board with his 24th goal of the season on the man advantage. Jack Kachkowski and Andrew Basha assisted on the play.

Shane Smith is the younger brother of Raiders skills coach Doan Smith.

Kachkowski would cut the Raider lead to just one at the 9:04 mark with his first WHL goal. Tomas Mrsic and Bogdans Hodass picked up the helpers. 

Medicine Hat would press for the game tying goal, but couldn’t break through against the Raiders. Max Hildebrand earned his 16th win of the campaign between the pipes for the Raiders making 24 saves. Ethan McCallum made 22 stops for the Tigers.

Saturday marked the fifth consecutive game that the Raiders matched up with a top four team in the Eastern Conference. During the five game span, Prince Albert finished with a 3-2-0-0 record.

Truitt says he doesn’t reflect too much on the past, but he is glad the Raiders are handling the strong competition.

“I kind of go day by day, game by game. I don’t look back too far. It’s great you’re on the right side of .500, which we need to be. We know we’ve got tougher tests as much as we’ve had in the last little bit. We’ve got a long way to go in here.  Our compete level and just bringing you up from last night, I thought that we were okay last night. Tonight I thought we took it up another step.”

The Raiders return to action on Wednesday night when Hayden Pakkala and the Lethbridge Hurricanes visit the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.