Roulette hat-trick leads Blades past Raiders

Photo by Nathan Reiter. The Prince Albert Raiders bench during a home game earlier this season.

The Prince Albert Raiders couldn’t get the offense going past the first period and it cost them in a 6-2 loss to the Saskatoon Blades on Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says the team wasn’t sharp in the loss.

“We lost battles, we weren’t strong on pucks. We didn’t make plays either. It seemed like we had to break the puck out two or three times from our own zone to get the puck going north. We didn’t have many quality opportunities. It was one of those  games where we didn’t get anything done defensive wise or offense wise.”

Just 1:32 into the game, Connor Roulette got the visiting Blades off to a hot start. The Dallas Stars prospect would fire a wrist shot bar down and past Hildebrand for his 22nd goal of the season to give Saskatoon an early 1-0 lead. The goal was unassisted.

The Raiders wouldn’t trail for long as just over three minutes later Sloan Stanick would match his jersey number with his 23rd goal of the campaign with a redirection off a Hayden Pakkala point shot.

After a tripping minor against Saskatoon’s Spencer Shugrue, the Prince Albert power play would go to work.  Raider rookie Ryder Ritchie would pick up his 19th goal of the season at the 8:50 mark of the first period with a sharp wrist shot from between the face off circles. Landon Kosior picked up the lone assist on the play.

Roulette would pick up his second goal of the period with 4:25 to go in the period. The 19-year-old would receive a clean feed in front of the net from Jake Chiasson and lift a backhand shot over the shoulder of Max Hildebrand to even the score at 2-2. Charlie Wright also had an assist on the play.

Before the end of the period, Jake Chiasson would fire a wrist shot from the right circle past the blocker of Hildebrand to give Saskatoon a 3-2 lead after one period of play. 

Shots favored the Raiders 11-10 after the first period.

The Blades would take control with three unanswered goals in the second period coming on only five shots.

Truitt says the Raiders gave up a lot of quality chances in the frame.

“We had a couple misreads and blown coverages. Guys that are surprised because guys are behind us. They are hitting seams with speed and we just didn’t pick these guys up quick enough. That’s a sign of being puck focused and not surveying the rest of the ice. That’s an awareness situation you get better with when you are older. We gave up quality opportunities.”

Charlie Wright would strike for his seventh goal of the season just 1:18 into the second period to extend the Saskatoon lead to 4-2. Egor Sidorov picked up his 36th assist of the season on the play.

Connor Roulette would complete the hat trick with his 24th goal of the season at the 16:31 mark. Jake Chiasson and Aidan De La Gorgendiere picked up helpers on the play.

Less than a minute later, Misha Volotovskii would strike for his fourth goal of the season to give Saskatoon a commanding 6-2 lead after forty minutes of play.

Prince Albert outshot Saskatoon 8-5 in the second period.

In the third period, neither team would find the back of the net. Saskatoon outshot the Raiders 9-7 in the final period.

Tikhon Chaika relieved starter Max Hildebrand in the third period, stopping all 9 Blade shots he faced.

The Blades and Raiders conclude the season series with a Sunday afternoon matinee at the SaskTel Centre. Puck drops at 4 p.m.