Swift Current, SK – The Prince Albert Raiders (28-25-9-2) erased a three-goal deficit en route to a 5-4 shootout win over the Swift Current Broncos (45-14-4-2) at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex on Friday night.
With the win over the third-ranked team in the CHL and a Saskatoon Blades loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, the Raiders moved into sole possession of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. It was also the Raiders’ fifth-straight win.
The Raiders ran into penalty trouble early in the game paid for it on the scoreboard. Kaden Elder put a saucer pass past Ian Scott to make it 1-0 3:49 into the contest. Late in the period, Giorgio Estephan gave the Broncos a 2-0 lead with his 29th of the year.
In the second, the Raiders cut the Broncos’ lead in half. Sergei Sapego’s shot was deflected by Parker Kelly past Stuart Skinner at the 4:07 mark of the period.
The Broncos responded quickly with two goals. Ninety seconds later, Matteo Gennaro chipped a puck through Scott to make it a 3-1 game. The goal ended Scott’s night with 10 saves. Another ninety seconds later, Estephan tallied his second of the game with a wrister that beat Curtis Meger.
The Raiders started the comeback later in the second. Brayden Pachal was hit with a drop pass on a three-on-two rush and snapped a shot past Skinner to bring the Raiders back within two.
That Broncos’ lead held until the final five minutes of the third period. With Andrew Fyten in the penalty box, Vojtech Budik wired a shot through Skinner to cut Swift’s lead to 4-3 with 3:31 to play.
Then with Meger on the bench for the extra attacker, Jordy Stallard tied the game with 1:06 to play in regulation.
After a back-and-forth overtime period, the game headed to a shootout.
Down 1-0 after the first round, Regan Nagy knotted it up with a shot under Skinner’s glove. Meger then stopped WHL-leading scoring Glenn Gawdin to end the round. In the final round, Parker Kelly snapped it past Skinner to put the Raiders ahead. Meger then turned aside Aleksi Heponiemi to win the game for the Raiders.
In relief, Meger made 22 saves to pick up the win. Skinner stopped 34 shots in a losing effort for the Broncos.
The Raiders return to the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday night for Wall Of Honour Night against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Prior to the game, Raiders alum Chris Phillips and builder Roger Mayert will be inducted into the Wall Of Honour. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets are available at tickets.raiderhockey.com or at the Art Hauser Centre box office, which opens at 10 a.m.