Rivalry renewed: Raiders fall short in Saskatoon

Herald file photo.

The Prince Albert Raiders couldn’t complete a weekend sweep as they fell 3-2 to the Saskatoon Blades at the SaskTel Centre on Saturday night.

“We didn’t sustain any pressure in the offensive zone. We didn’t make plays.” Raider head coach Jeff Truitt said. “We were slow to make plays. They pressured us. And then in our zone, they had puck control. We didn’t, once we got into their zone, then we just simply didn’t have time and space to make plays or have a lot of time. 

The Raiders would open the scoring just 0:29 into the first period.

After the Blades would turn the puck over in their own end, Niall Crocker would put home his 14th goal of the season from the mouth of the crease. Aiden Oiring would pick up the lone helper.

Saskatoon peppered Max Hildebrand with shots throughout the first period, but they would finally break through at the 18:12 mark as Easton Armstrong would tip his 23rd goal of the season past Hildebrand to knot the score at 1-1 after twenty minutes of play. Charlie Wright and Alexander Suzdalev provided the helpers.

Shots favored the Blades 15-3 after twenty minutes.

After a holding call against Aiden Oiring, the Blades would take the lead at the 18:30 mark of the second period.

Nashville Predators prospect Tanner Molendyk would unload a slap shot that would beat Hildebrand through traffic for his sixth goal of the season to give the Blades the lead. Brandon Lisowsky picked up his 200th career WHL point with an assist on the play, Egor Sidorov also had a helper on the play.

Shots favored Saskatoon 30-5 after forty minutes of play.

“He’s our best player by far.” Truitt said about his starting goaltender Max Hildebrand. “He was last night as well. Consistency and he’s risen to the occasion here. I can’t say any more adjectives about him as I just said, he’s our best player right now.”

Egor Sidorov would double the Saskatoon lead with his 36th goal of the season just 1:41 into the third period. Nicholas Andrusiak and Ben Saunderson assisted on the play.

Following the goal, Sidorov would make a wing flap motion and stare towards Hildebrand. After the win in the shootout Friday night against the Blades, Hildebrand made a similar celebration.

Truitt says the Raiders were not appreciative of the celebration by the Blades leading goal scorer.

“Emotions get high. Nobody likes to be shown up and that’s what he did. He shows us up in his building, he probably thinks that is okay but we didn’t appreciate it.”

The Raiders would pull within one thanks to their first shorthanded goal of the season courtesy of Sloan Stanick at the 16:42 mark of the third period. It was Stanick’s 21st goal of the season.

Prince Albert was the lone WHL team without a short handed goal entering play Saturday.

“It took a long time, but we finally got one in.” Truitt said. “But we needed a lot more than just a short handed goal for sure. But it was a positive that we got one.”

Prince Albert would press for the equalizer, but time would expire. Austin Elliott made seven saves for Saskatoon. Max Hildebrand made 30 stops in net for the Raiders in the loss.

Prince Albert returns to action on Wednesday night when they welcome Carson Latimer and the Red Deer Rebels to the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.