‘We don’t give up, nobody gives up’: Cobra Chickens down Blades in shootout thriller

Photo by Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. The Lake Country Cobra Chickens swarm goaltender Max Hildebrand in celebration after downing the Saskatoon Blades 6-5 in a shootout on Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre

The Lake Country Cobra Chickens were down, but never out as they erased a two goal third period deficit to down the Saskatoon Blades 5-4 in a shootout on Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Cobra Chickens, a one night rebrand for the Prince Albert Raiders, snapped a five game losing skid with the victory.

“It was unreal.” Raider head coach Jeff Truitt said about the team’s third period comeback. “Coming off the second period where we got dominated, and then come back into third and chip away, to come back to tie it up against that team, it’s a feat for sure, but we don’t give up. We got inside a couple times, we got some good looks, and controlled the puck. That was a big thing against a team that can fly and make great plays and things like that. I thought that we answered the bell.”

Just 1:19 into the first period, Blades defenceman Tanner Molendyk would be called for a holding minor and the Raider power play would go to work.

Oli Chenier, celebrating his 17th birthday on Friday. would tip home his ninth goal of the campaign from the mouth of the crease to open up the scoring just 2:41 into the opening frame. Brayden Dube and Turner McMillen assisted on the play.

“It’s awesome” Chenier said with a grin about his goal in the post game conference. “Couldn’t have asked for a better gift right there, so that was a really good start off the night like that.”

The Blades would respond with a power play marker of their own at the 11:56 of the first period as Tyler Parr would score his ninth goal of the season to knot up the score at 1-1. Fraser Minten and Grayden Siepmann picked up the helpers on the play.

Sloan Stanick would give the Raiders the lead with his 20th goal of the season at the 16:24 mark with a point shot from between the circles through traffic and past Blade netminder Evan Gardner. Matej Kubiesa and Liuke Moroz assisted on the play.

Shots favored the visiting Saskatoon Blades 12-5 after the first period.

Brandon Lisowsky would knot up the score with his 27th goal of the campaign coming just 4:08 into the second period. Trevor Wong and Alexander Suzdalev would pick up the helpers on the play.

Overager Easton Armstrong would give Saskatoon their first lead of the hockey game at the 8:43 mark of the second period with his 23rd goal of the season. Vaughn Watterodt and Tanner Molendyk provided the assists on the play.

The Blade power play would double the Saskatoon lead to 4-2 at the 14:23 mark as Brandon Lisowsky would bury his second goal of the period and 28th goal of the season. Wong and Molendyk picked up the helpers on the play. 

With the Blades looking to be in firm control of the game after forty minutes, Truitt says the Raiders were not ready to back down.

“We just said ‘we don’t give up. Nobody gives up’ and I think the team was the one (that said it) when we first came into the dressing room. They were saying this isn’t over.  That’s a character builder, it’s a lesson. Our guys just seem to rise to the occasion at times against a very good team.”

At the 6:31 mark of the third period, Aiden Oiring would bring Prince Albert within just one with his 11th goal of the season.

After a late roughing penalty against Blades rearguard John Babcock, Prince Albert would take advantage to knot the score.

Turner McMillen would notch his fifth goal of the season that tied the game and sent the announced crowd of 2,709 at the Art Hauser Centre into an absolute frenzy. Krzysztof Macias and Sloan Stanick provided the helpers on the play.

The overage forward says he was lost in the moment after he tied the game.

“It was kind of a blur, loud. Don’t really remember much of it.”

After a tripping minor against Prince Albert’s Aiden Oiring, it appeared the Blades had a prime chance to end the game in overtime but the Raider penalty kill would come up big and kill off the infraction to send the game into a shootout.

It was the third time the Blades and Raiders have played a game that has gone to a shootout at the Art Hauser Centre this season, splitting the first two.

Trevor Wong and Aiden Oiring would be stopped in the opening round of the shootout. Sloan Stanick and Egor Sidorov would trade goals in the second round. Krzysztof Macias would give the Raiders the edge to start the third round and Max Hildebrand would stop Brandon Lisowsky to secure the win for Prince Albert.

Hildebrand made 41 saves in the victory for Prince Albert, while his counterpart Evan Gardner made 21 stops for the Saskatoon Blades.

The Raiders and Blades complete the second half of a home-and-home series tomorrow night at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon. Puck drops at 7 p.m.

Around The WHL

Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Denton Mateychuk recorded a hat trick as Moose Jaw topped Medicine Hat 6-5 in a shootout.

Sean Tschigerl scored twice as the Lethbridge Hurricanes downed the Regina Pats 6-1 on a night where they inducted Brent Seabrook into the team’s wall of honour.

Red Deer exploded for six goals in the second period as the Rebels downed the Oil Kings 6-3.