Raiders snap road losing streak with shootout victory over Tigers

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Prince Albert Raider forward Sloan Stanick attempts a pass during WHL action at Co-op Place on Friday night in Medicine Hat.

The Prince Albert Raiders road losing streak came to an end at 10 games as they defeated the Medicine Hat Tigers 2-1 in a shootout at Co-op Place on Friday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says Prince Albert played desperate and earned the two points.

“We’re getting the wins when we need to get the wins. At this point in time, we want to continue to get the wins. But (it was) just a determined effort. Down one nothing in the first period and we come back to the one one. We lock it down halfway through the second and the third. We did a pretty good job. We gave up some turnovers on the inside of the ice, which I really didn’t like. But special teams, penalty kill did good against a very good Medicine Hat power play.” 

Andrew Basha would open the scoring just 1:20 into the first period as he would find a loose rebound and put it past Max Hildebrand for his 24th goal of the season. Reid Andresen and Hayden Harsanyi assisted on the play.

Prince Albert would respond at the 3:33 mark of the second period. Tigers goaltender Zach Zahara would go behind the net to play a puck along the far boards. Oli Chenier would collect the puck and fire a quick shot that would beat Zahara five hole for his 11th goal of the season to even up the score at 1-1. 

Regulation would solve nothing between the two teams as the Raiders would only allow a single goal to a Tigers team that has scored the second most goals in the WHL this season.

Truitt says the Raiders did a good job at limiting opportunity for Medicine Hat’s top talent along with some timely stops from Max Hildebrand.

“You try to take as much time and space, know, with guys like Wiesblatt, McKenna, Mrsic, Basha, these guys know they can out stick-handle a lot of people. Our guys closed in on them and we blocked some shots. Hilty was outstanding, which was a big key to this tonight. So we found this way to win on the road. We needed it and we wanted it.”

Despite the Tigers having several chances to win the game in overtime, they couldn’t put the puck across the goal line to send the home fans home happy and the game would be forced into a shootout.

Sloan Stanick and Aiden Oiring would score for the Raiders in the shootout with Zahara making a stop on Krzysztof Macias. Max Hildebrand would stop Oasiz Wiesblatt and Andrew Basha with Gavin McKenna recording the lone shootout tally for the Tigers.

The Raiders are no strangers to the shootout with all five Raider home games in the month of January heading past overtime.

Truitt says the experience in the format will help the team down the stretch.

“I think it’s going to help us out the rest of the year if we get into them. You have the guys shooting that should be shooting and should be scoring and we’re finding a way. You can score all you want, but if they’re scoring too, you’re in trouble. Hilty’s come up big for us.”

In the playoffs race, the Raiders received help on the out of town scoreboard with the Saskatoon Blades defeating the Lethbridge Hurricanes 1-0 and the Calgary Hitmen falling 5-3 in Brandon.

Truitt says it was nice to see the Raiders receive some help, but the team ultimately wants to take care of their own destiny.

“It is important and you take a look at it between periods and find out what’s going on, but ultimately it’s what you’re going to do. We got some help here tonight. We’ve had some help here over the last little while, but we have to make hay when we can and that’s what the theme is going to be continued as.”

The Raiders continue their Alberta road swing on Saturday night in Lethbridge. Puck drops at 7 p.m. Saskatchewan time.