Saskatoon, SK – The Prince Albert Raiders (32-2-0-1) started the second half of the season with a 4-3 overtime win over the Saskatoon Blades (21-10-5-1) at SaskTel Centre on Thursday night.
Brayden Pachal was the overtime hero when he scored his second goal of the game 33 seconds into the extra frame. Noah Gregor had a three-point night with two goals and an assist. Cole Fonstad chipped in three assists, while Kaiden Guhle and Ozzy Wiesblatt both had a pair of helpers.
After a choppy opening 10 minutes, the Blades got on the board with a power-play goal. Kyle Crnkovic snapped a shot past Donovan Buskey with 7:01 left in the first period to make it 1-0.
Less than a minute later, the Raiders tied it. Gregor’s wrister from the top of the slot beat Nolan Maier for his 20th goal of the season, levelling the score at 1-1.
Early in the second, Gregor struck again to give the Raiders the lead. Wiesblatt recovered the puck in the corner and sent a cross-ice pass to the San Jose Sharks prospect for the tap in at the 2:52 mark of the middle frame.
The Blades retied the game at the 4:28 mark. Off of a defensive zone faceoff, Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen slid a pass to Eric Florchuk who roofed it over a sprawling Buskey to make it 2-2.
Two minutes later, the Raiders ran into penalty trouble. With Guhle in the box, Parker Kelly took a roughing penalty to put the Raiders down two men. Eighteen seconds into the five-on-three, Max Gerlach finished a one-timer to put the Blades ahead 3-2 at the 6:22 mark.
That lead held until the 6:28 mark of the third. Pachal drove to the net from the corner and jammed the puck through Maier to tie the game at 3-3.
The Raiders controlled the play for the rest of regulation, outshooting the Blades 9-3 in the final period.
Prince Albert carried that momentum into the overtime period. Fonstad carried the puck into the zone, deked around a defender, and put a shot on goal that was stopped by Maier. However, Pachal was beside the net and slid the rebound through Maier’s five-hole to give the Raiders the win on his ninth goal of the year and fifth game winner.
Buskey made 23 saves to earn his eighth win of the season. Maier stopped 27 shots in a losing effort.
The two teams meet again on Friday night as the home-and-home series shifts to the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drop is 7 p.m. Tickets are available at raiderhockey.com and the Raider Office.
Half-season tickets are now available for a limited time. Stop by the Raider Office for more information. The packages are only available until Sunday, December 30.