Raiders mount third period comeback to beat Blades 4-3
The Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatoon Blades squared off for the second time in four days on Saturday night. After the Raiders won their first pre-season game 2-1 over the Blades in Big River First Nation, the scene switched from the Jim Neilson Sports Complex to the Art Hauser Centre, with the Raiders attempting pick up their second straight win. It took a third period comeback, but the green and gold were able to come out on top 4-3, thanks in part to Niall Crocker’s two goal performance.
The Blades dominated most of the first period, outshooting the Raiders 15-5. Newly acquired goaltender Chase Coward got the start in goal for Prince Albert and stopped all 15 shots faced in the opening 20 minutes. Both teams exchanged powerplays, with neither team able to score in the first period, heading into the second knotted at 0-0.
Prince Albert’s only powerplay in the first period carried over into the second period, and they wasted no time capitalizing. A quick play in the Blades’ end led to Sloan Stanick sending a pass near the goal mouth for Niall Crocker, who redirected home his first goal of the pre-season. Just 19 seconds into the middle frame, the Raiders found the first goal of the game.
The Blades responded with a powerplay goal of their own eight minutes later. Just six seconds after Crocker was sent to the box for tripping, Tyler Parr tied things up for the Blades right after the offensive zone draw. Tanner Molendyk let go of a shot that was stopped by Coward, but the rebound was left sitting in front and Parr was able to bang home the rebound. The goal made it a 1-1 game, with both sides exchanging powerplay markers.
Just over four minutes later, the Raiders were able to get their lead back. Aiden Oiring connected on a faceoff win to Ryder Ritchie near the left wing, and Ritchie was able to do the rest of the work. Circling around and stepping into a shot, Ritchie picked the top corner over Austin Ellliott’s glove, giving the Raiders a 2-1 lead, collecting his second point of the night in the process.
The Raiders’ lead lasted 3:30, as the Blades tied things up once again. This time it was Egor Sidorov finding his way onto the scoresheet, after he was set up by Tyler Parr. For the second time in the period, the Blades found the equalizing goal, as they made it a 2-2 game with 4:26 left in the second period.
Saskatoon wasn’t done there, as they found another goal in the final minute of the middle frame. Charlie Wright stepped into a shot that fooled Coward up high, giving the Blades a 3-2 lead with 50 seconds to go in the period. That lead would stay intact for Saskatoon, as they went into the third with a one goal edge, while also leading 21-15 in shots.
Similar to what he did in the second period, Niall Crocker scored early in the third. This time, with 2:19 expired on the clock, he banged home a shot after a front door feed from Harrison Lodewyk. His second goal of the contest tied things up at 3-3.
From there, it was back and forth action in both ends of the ice, with both teams exchanging a variety of scoring chances. With overtime looming in a deadlock, the Raiders found the separation marker they needed with 4:10 left in regulation. After assisting on Crocker’s third period goal, it was Lodewyk’s turn to find the goal column, converting with a shot top shelf after on a feed from Carter Anderson. The go-ahead goal was Lodewyk’s second of the pre-season.
Desperate for an equalizer, the Blades pulled the netminder in hopes of finding a goal with a 6 on 5 man advantage. They came close to tying the game, wringing a shot off the crossbar, but the Raiders were able to hang on to win by a 4-3 final, improving to 2-0-0-0 in the pre-season, with both wins coming against Saskatoo.
The exhibition schedule continues on Friday night when the Regina Pats come to town. Puck drop is 7pm.