Raiders use three goal third period to beat Tigers 4-1

The Prince Albert Raiders took on the Medicine Hat Tigers in this photo from Jan. 22. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald.

After a tightly contested first and second period, the Prince Albert Raiders dominated the third, taking down the Tigers 4-1 on a Monday matinee in Medicine Hat. Tempers flared in a scoreless second period, but Prince Albert settled into the third period, scoring three times to come away with a chippy win.

“A win is a win,” head coach Marc Habscheid said. “It wasn’t easy but give the guys credit, they had good resiliency, great attitude, and it was a good game”

Just 13 seconds into a powerplay after Ozzy Wiesblatt served a charging penalty, the Tigers opened the scoring with 12:52 left in the first period. A slapshot from Daniel Baker from the top of the right circle was blocked in front by Trevor Thurston, but the rebound came right in front of the crease. Owen MacNeil was able to track the loose puck and tuck a shot five hole past Tikhon Chaika, opening the scoring for Medicine Hat.

The Raiders were a bit fortunate on their game tying goal on a man advantage of their own in the first period, as Sloan Stanick tied things up with 6:54 left in the frame. After Landon Kosior’s shot was stopped by Garin Bjorklund, Stanick tried to glove the rebound to his stick. The forward was able to do just that, but got a little help from Baker, who ended up kicking the puck into his own net. Stanick, credited with the goal, picked up his 15th of the season, as the Raiders went into the first intermission with a 1-1 tie.

There were no goals scored in the second period, but the lack of pucks entering the net was replaced by tempers flaring all over the ice. One of the more noticeable occasions was when Ozzy Wiesblatt dropped the gloves with Brayden Boehm. Wiesblatt was one of the Raiders who took exception to a non interference call on Reece Vitelli, who was dusted onto the ice when he was nowhere near the puck, which went undetected by the officials.

The Prince Albert centreman was able to land a couple of good shots in on Boehm, who was forced to head to the dressing room after suffering a cut to the face after the bout. Wiesblatt received an extra two minutes on the play for unsportsmanlike conduct, but the Raiders were able to kill off the ensuing Tigers powerplay.

In contrast to the first period, both teams went scoreless on the powerplay, as they went into the third period still tied at 1-1.

Just over four minutes into the third period, Raider captain Reece Vitelli took matters into his own hands, scoring a goal of the week candidate to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead. From the right circle, Vitelli toe dragged around Rhett Parsons, and then made a move to bring the puck back to his forehand, avoiding the poke check try from Bjorklund. From there, all the forward had to do was slip the puck into the open net, and he did just that, as Prince Albert jumped out to their first lead of the contest.

Vitelli wasn’t satisfied with scoring one goal in the third period, so the captain went out and scored another with 7:28 to go. Vitelli took a pass from Wiesblatt near the point and sniped a shot low blocker past Bjorklund for his second goal of the game and of the period, as the Raiders took a commanding 3-1 lead on his 18th goal of the year.

“You always rely on your older guys, and (Vitelli) is one of those older guys. Those guys want those situations and they want to be the guy, and he was the guy tonight.”

Medicine Hat pulled their goalie to bring out the extra attacker late in the third period, but the Raiders were able to snuff out any chances, as Keaton Sorenson sealed the win with an empty net marker with three minutes to go.

Chaika turned aside 23 of 24 shots as the Raiders improved to 18-26-2-1 with the win, keeping pace in the Eastern Conference wild card chase.

“We’re just trying to win every game,” Habscheid added. “It’s the Raider way, try to win every game.”

Prince Albert is back in action on the road in Calgary on Wednesday, as they take on the Hitmen. Puck drop is at 8pm.