The Prince Albert Raiders pushed, but couldn’t pick up two points as they fell 5-4 in overtime to the Calgary Hitmen on Sunday afternoon.
Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says Prince Albert improved as the game went on.
“I thought that we were sloppy a little early. We had puck turnovers. We kind of looked fatigued in the first period. We made some mistakes. But as the game went on, I thought we started to control the play a little bit better. Power play got us going. We seemed to dictate to play a little bit more on pucks, but then we turned pucks over needlessly in our own zone, not making the right decisions. And when you turn pucks over like that, then they’re coming back at you.”
Rookie Ben Kindel would open the scoring for the Calgary Hitmen at the 11:51 mark of the first period with his seventh goal of the season. Keets Fawcett and Oliver Tulk assisted on the play.
The Raider power play would go to work later in the frame as Sloan Stanick would pick up his 19th goal of the season at the 14:28 mark of the opening frame. Jacob Hofrogge and Krzysztof Macias provided the helpers.
Calgary led the shots by a 12-11 margin after the first period.
The second period saw a total of five goals between the two clubs.
Ethan Moore would give Calgary the lead at the 7:52 mark with his 12th goal of the season. David Adazynski and Maxim Muranov assisted on the play.
Three minutes later, Matej Kubiesa would pull the Raiders even with his sixth goal of the campaign. Justice Christensen and Harrison Lodewyk assisted on the goal.
Just nine seconds later, Calgary would regain the lead with David Adazynski picking up his eighth goal of the season. Maxim Muranov and Dax Williams assisted on the play.
After a 2-on-1, Harrison Lodewyk would deposit a loose puck into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season at the 13:47 mark. The goal was unassisted.
THe Raiders would take advantage of a double minor against the Hitmen to take their first lead of the contest late in the second period.
Aiden Oiring would bury his ninth goal of the season in his hometown on the power play at the 17:27 mark of the second period. Niall Crocker and Sloan Stanick assisted on the play.
Shots after two periods favored Calgary 25-20.
Truitt says both teams were making the most of their opportunities in the second period.
“It just seemed to be like the mistakes that were going on led to goals. it seemed like they had a little bit more room (due) to the mistakes that we made. Our goals are hardworking goals, not many of them are easy goals. We have to work hard for our goals, but it just seemed like the tap opened up for both teams.”
Keets Fawcett tied the game at the 10:50 mark of the third period with his 12th goal of the season. Fraser Leonard picked up the lone helper.
Sixty minutes would solve nothing as the two teams would head into overtime.
Just twenty nine seconds in, Maxim Muranov would be the overtime hero for the Hitmen with his ninth goal of the season to give Calgary a come from behind victory. Adazynski had the lone assist.
Sunday was the first game the Raiders have lost when leading after forty minutes of play this season. They were 17-0-0-0 when holding a lead after two periods entering play.
Max Hildebrand made 33 saves for the Raiders in the win. Alex Garrett stopped 29 shots for the Hitmen.
Sunday marked the fifth consecutive loss for the Raiders, who currently sit tied with the Hitmen for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Truitt says the stretch has provided a stern lesson to the young Raiders lineup.
“Going through this, it can be important for a team. Nothing comes easy and you’ve got to work everything you get and it’s going to be a slug fest and we’re going to be prepared. To go through this, for the younger guys, it’s really important. But as I said before, this team is in the here and the now that wants to make the playoffs. We have to find that little extra push, to get us over the top, get some rest here this week.”
The Raiders return to action on Friday night when they welcome the Saskatoon Blades to the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.