Second period sinks Raiders in loss to Brandon

Photo by Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Prince Albert Raiders forward Hayden Pakkala takes a faceoff against Brandon Wheat Kings forward Nate Danielson during WHL action at the Art Hauser Centre on Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2023.

A four goal barrage by the Brandon Wheat Kings turned out to be too much to overcome for the Prince Albert Raiders in a 4-3 loss at the Art Hauser Centre on Tuesday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says that Prince Albert didn’t play up to standard in the second period.

“We did everything right in the first period, we gained momentum and offensive zone time. We kept it simple and got pucks behind them. Second period, we got away from everything. We started getting selfish with plays and we didn’t get pucks in deep. We turned over pucks on the half walls in our own zone. A complete turnaround from what we did in the first period and that was the story.”

At the 15:48 mark of the first period, Keaton Sorenson would be granted a penalty shot after being tripped up on a partial breakaway. 

Heading in against Wheat King netminder Ethan Eskit, making his first WHL start. It would be the Raider overager who would win the battle against the Wheat King rookie with his 23rd goal of the season giving Prince Albert a 1-0 lead.

Sorenson, playing in his 200th career WHL game, says he had been working on moves in practice.

“I’ve been working on some moves in practice with [Max] Hildebrand and he said that one was working. I did a pump fake and he stumbled and I took it to the other side.”

At the outset of the season, Prince Albert had four 20-year-old players and had to make a roster decision in October.

Truitt says Sorenson has made the most of his final season in the WHL. 

“I’m really happy for him. He came in here and there was a battle for the 20-year-old spot, he won it.. He’s taken full advantage of the opportunity he has been given. He has contributed offensively and been a solid player for us consistently. I’m happy for him and his performance this year.”

Prince Albert would lead the shots 17-8 after twenty minutes of play.

The Wheat Kings would take a second period lead with a trio of goals all coming in a span of  just 2:24.

The first would come off the tape of Dawson Pasternak, who would tap home a rebound for his 12th goal of the season. Zakhar Polshakov and Andrei Malyavin would assist on the play.

Just 0:16 later, Ben Thornton would rifle home his 3rd goal of the season with a wrist shot that would beat Tikhon Chaika. Rylen Roersma and Luke Shipley assisted on the play.

After a flurry of Wheat King activity in the Raider end, Calder Anderson would double the Brandon lead with his 15th goal of the season at the 11:34 mark.  Anthony Wilson had the lone assist on the goal.

Before the period came to the end, Brandon would take a three goal lead as Nolan Ritchie would sneak a wraparound attempt through the pads of Chaika at the 15:33 mark. Calder Anderson and Logan Hammett assisted on the play.

Brandon would outshoot Prince Albert 15-6 in the second period.

It would take until nearly the halfway point of the third period for Prince Albert to cut into the Wheat King lead. Ryder Ritchie would do the work himself taking the puck from the point and skating it down before completing a wraparound through the pad of Eskit for his 18th goal of the season at the 9:42 mark. Eric Johnston and Carter Anderson would assist on the play.

With the Raider net empty, Prince Albert would block several shots to keep the score at 4-2. That set the stage for Sloan Stanick to bring the Raiders within one with his 21st goal of the season with just 22.2 seconds left in the game. Ryder Ritchie would pick up the lone assist on the play.

Ethan Eskit, making his first career WHL start for the Wheat Kings, earned the victory making 30 saves.

Tikhon Chaika made 22 saves in the loss for the Raiders.

With eight games remaining in the regular season, the Raiders have five matchups remaining against the top two teams in the Eastern division with three games against Winnipeg and two against Saskatoon.

Truitt says the Raiders are taking things one game at a time

“It’s one at a time, you can’t look at anything further than Friday night [right now]. Then we will move onto Sunday and next week. There’s no use looking too far down the line, it’s day by day now.” 

The Raiders return to action on Friday night when the Saskatoon Blades visit the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.