Trio of power play goals lifts Saskatoon past Raiders in Game 2

Herald file photo.

It’s all tied up at one game apiece heading back to the Art Hauser Centre.

The Saskatoon Blades evened up the best-of-seven first round playoff series with the Prince Albert Raiders skating to a 4-1 win on Friday night at the SaskTel Centre.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says he was happy with the way Prince Albert competed, despite the result on the scoresheet.

“I thought our level of battle increased an awful lot here. I think they forced us into it too. We want to play that way. They lost game one and they obviously want to come back and have a good showing in game two, there’s desperation on their part. Physicality both ways and emotions that way.  We had some opportunities as well. We just didn’t finish, but our compete level was fine.”

John Babcock would open the scoring just 2:02 into the opening frame with his first goal of the postseason. Alexander Suzdalev and Easton Armstrong assisted on the play.

A power play would double the lead for Saskatoon at the 3:15 mark of the second period as Egor Sidoror would strike for his third goal of the series. Trevor Wong assisted on the play.

In the third period, Easton Armstrong would redirect a shot past Hildebrand at the 4:16 to extend the Blade lead to 3-0. Sidorov and Charlie Wright picked up the assists.

Tyler Parr would add another for the Blades at the 14:24 mark with Fraser Minten and Grayden Siepmann picking up the helpers.

Saskatoon would finish the evening three for four on the man advantage.

Niall Crocker would break the shutout bid as he would strike for his second of the series on the mouth of the goal crease on a 5-on-3 power play. Ryder Ritchie and Sloan Stanick assisted on the play.

Truitt says the late goal was a small victory in the fact that it came on the power play.

“To get one isn’t the be all and end all. We lost the game, that was what the biggest thing is. But to get one on him (Gardner) later on in the game, on the power play, that gives us a little bit of confidence that way.  You take every goal you can get. it’s just too bad that it wasn’t one more than them.”

The series shifts back to the Art Hauser Centre with Game 3 on Tuesday night, followed by Game 4 on Wednesday.

Truitt says the Raiders are looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd.

“You play the first two here and there’s certain advantages to go along with that. Now we get to the Art Hauser with our fans, our crowd should be a noisy place.”