The Prince Albert Raiders nearly completed a third period comeback but camp up just a little bit short at the Art Hauser Centre on Friday.
After falling behind 3-0, the Raiders rallied for two third period goals but couldn’t catch the Regina Pats, falling 3-2 in Western Hockey League preseason action.
The Raiders outshot the Pats 18-8 in the first period, but it was Regina who held the lead heading into the first intermission. Raider goaltender Tikhon Chaika mishandled a puck behind his own net and turned the puck over to Regina’s Tye Spencer who made no mistake putting the Pats up 1-0 at the 10:50 mark of the first period.
Throughout the game, referees were constantly breaking up scrums between the Raiders and Pats as both teams brought intense physicality to the contest. Prince Albert head coach Jeff Truitt says the Raiders played that side of the game well.
“Both teams were physical here tonight. You expect that, the competition is ramping up every game that we are playing here. You have to win your battles and I thought we did some good things that way.”
Early in the second period, the Pats penalty kill capitalized on Raider mistakes as Cole Dubinsky sprung a breakaway and beat Chaika to double the Regina lead to 2-0 at the 6:08 mark. Regina would continue to outplay the Raiders in the middle frame as the Pats outshot Prince Albert 9-5 in the second period.
A quick strike for Regina began the third as Alexander Suzdalev scored barely a minute in, at 0:56 to extend the Pat lead to 3-0. Less than 4 minutes later, the Raiders finally broke through on the scoreboard. Cole Peardon redirected a point shot from Evan Herman that got through Regina goaltender Kolten Pyne to cut the Pats lead to 3-1.
“It was pretty awesome to get that first one out of the way,” Peardon said. “I tipped the puck and I was pretty surprised it went in the net but I was filled with joy after that. It was an awesome experience.”
Peardon is in his first training camp with the Raiders. The 16-year-old forward was drafted with the 13th overall selection in the 2021 WHL Prospects by Prince Albert. The draft pick used to select Peardon was acquired by the Raiders as part of the trade that sent team captain Kaiden Guhle to the eventual WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings last season. Peardon says he isn’t putting any additional pressure on himself because of who he was traded for.
“It’s at the back of my mind, but I don’t think about it too much and I don’t let it affect me in any way.”
Prince Albert would creep within one with a power play goal from defenseman Seth Tansem at the 12:41 mark of the third period. Regina outshot Prince Albert 7-6 in the third period.
With the loss, the Raiders fall to 1-1-0-0 in the WHL preseason. The next game for the Raiders is on Friday, Sept. 16 against the Saskatoon Blades. The regular season opener for the Prince Albert Raiders is Sept. 23 against the Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre.