Third period sinks Raiders against Saskatoon

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Terrell Goldsmith of the Prince Albert Raiders battles with Saskatoon Blades forward Vaughn Watterodt during WHL action at the Art Hauser Centre

A slow third period cost the Prince Albert Raiders as they fell 7-2 to the Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre on Thursday night.

Raider assistant coach Keaton Ellerby says Saskatoon capitalized on Raider mistakes in the third.

“I thought the first couple periods were alright, we were right there with them. We got away from our game plan and some poor decisions and poor plays. Against a team like that, they’ll jump on it and capitalize and they did that.”

Saskatoon would open the scoring at the 6:41 mark of the first period. A shot from Rowan Calvert would deflect off the body of Hudson Kibblewhite, up into the air and behind Max Hildebrand in the back of the Raider net. It was Kibblewhite’s second goal of the season. 

Saskatoon entered play Thursday with the second ranked penalty kill unit in the WHL, killing 87.2% of the opponent’s power play chances. 

The Blade penalty kill couldn’t hold off the Raider power play at the 12:20 mark of the first period. Ryder Ritchie would break into the double digits with his 10th goal of the season. Jacob Hoffrogge and Aiden Oiring received credit for assists.

The shot on the Ritchie goal was also the Raiders first shot on goal of the hockey game.

Shots at the end of the first period favored the Blades 8-5.

Saskatoon would regain the lead at the 4:39 mark of the second period as Easton Armstrong would score his ninth goal of the season. Tanner Molendyk and Ben Saunderson assisted on the play.

The 2-1 lead for Saskatoon wouldn’t last long however as less then a minute later, Brayden Dube would fire a wrist shot that would beat Austin Elliott clean blocker side to even the score at 2-2. Ryder Ritchie and Aiden Oiring assisted on the goal.

The goal was Dube’s sixth goal of the season, setting a new career high. He scored five goals between Seattle and Prince Albert last season.

At the 15:38 mark, Saskatoon’s power play would strike to give the Blades a 3-2 lead. Lukas Hansen would receive credit for the goal. The puck was deflected up into the air and landed between Max Hildebrand’s shoulder blades and trickled into the back of the net. Jordan Keller and Charlie Wright assisted on the play.

Anaheim Ducks prospect Egor Sidorov would extend the Blade lead to 4-2 just 1:15 into the third period. The Belarusian product would beat Hildebrand with a wrist shot from between the circles. Trevor Wong and Charlie Wright received credit for the assists.

Tanner Molendyk would extend the Blade lead to three with his fourth of the season at the 5:41 mark of the third period. Sidorov and Lisowsky assisted on the play.

Ben Saunderson and Brandon Lisowsky also added goals for Saskatoon in the final minutes of the game.

The Raiders return to action on Saturday night when they welcome the Prince George Cougars to the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.