Raiders fall 4-2 to Blades for first loss of the season
The Prince Albert Raiders fell behind early and couldn’t quite mount a comeback, falling 4-2 on Sunday afternoon to the Saskatoon Blades at the SaskTel Centre. Three Blades goals in the first period proved to be enough, as the Raiders suffered their first loss of the 2023-24 season.
The Blades got off to a quick start in the first period, scoring the first goal of the game just 28 seconds in. After Easton Kovacs mishandled a puck in the defensive zone, the puck rolled in on Chase Coward. Miscommunication between Kovacs and Coward left the puck lying right in front of the net for Vaughn Watterodt, and he banged a shot home past Coward, giving the Blades an early 1-0 lead.
Just over five minutes later, the Blades extended their lead. From the corner, Tyler Parr fed a pass to the high slot for Ben Saunderson, and the defenceman did the rest of the work. Saunderson stepped into a shot that beat Coward high glove side, which gave Saskatoon a 2-0 lead just 5:43 into the game.
That lead became 3-0 with 5:59 left in the first period, as Lukas Hansen found his way onto the goal sheet. From the right circle again, Parr sent a pass into the slot for Hansen, and he picked the top corner past Coward’s glove to put Saskatoon up by a three spot.
The Raiders were only able to register three shots on goal in the first period to Saskatoon’s 11, and they went into the second period trailing 3-0.
A pile of penalties called against Prince Albert midway through the second period stopped any kind of traction the Raiders had in terms of scoring chances earlier in the period. Already shorthanded 5 on 3 12:59 into the frame, the Raiders took another penalty to extend the Blades’ powerplay time. Newly appointed Blades captain Trevor Wong took advantage of the powerplay time, scoring Saskatoon’s fourth goal of the night with 4:52 left in the middle frame.
The Raiders got on the board with 1:37 left in the second, as Matej Kubiesa scored his first goal in the Western Hockey League. Grady Martin fed a pass for Oli Chenier, who fired a one timer that was stopped, but Kubiesa buried the second chance opportunity. His first goal cut into the lead, making it a 4-1 Blades lead. With an assist on the goal, Chenier also picked up his first WHL point.
9:01 into the third period, the Raiders scored again to trim Saskatoon’s lead. Owen Boucher came into the Blades zone on a partial breakaway, and snuck a shot five hole past Evan Gardner. His first goal of the season gave the Raiders a little more life, as it became a 4-2 game halfway through the final frame.
Prince Albert pulled the goalie with 2:30 left in the third, but a late penalty negated any chance at a comeback, as the green and gold fell by a 4-2 final.
The Raiders will have Monday and Tuesday off before heading to Brandon for a meeting with the Wheat Kings on Wednesday night.