Moose Jaw, SK – The Prince Albert Raiders (4-0-0-0) were relentless on Saturday night, erasing a three-goal third-period deficit for a 5-4 overtime win over the Moose Jaw Warriors (0-2-1-0) at Mosaic Place.
The Raiders have now won four consecutive games to start the season. Parker Kelly had a pair of goals, including the overtime winner, while Sergei Sapego and Aliaksei Protas each had a goal and an assist.
In the first, the Raiders peppered Adam Evanoff with shots, putting 10 towards the Warriors netminder. Eventually, Sapego broke through with a blast from the point on the power play with 4:06 to go in the opening frame.
The Warriors took the lead with two quick goals to start the second period. Justin Almeida beat Donovan Buskey 19 seconds into the frame. Then, Brayden Tracey potted a rebound at the side of the net at the 1:41 mark to make it a 2-1 game.
The Raiders had their chances for the equalizer in the second period. Kelly pivoted in front of the net and sent a shot off the post. Later, Justin Nachbaur’s shot off an offensive zone faceoff went off the crossbar. Then, Spencer Moe was sprung on a breakaway, but was stopped by Evanoff.
Shortly after Moe’s breakaway attempt, Tracey tallied his second of the game when his centering pass from the side of the goal went off the skates of a Raiders defenceman and past Buskey.
Early in the third, Moose Jaw extended the lead when Yegor Buyalski’s shot from the top of the shot was deflected by a Raiders defenceman, changing the angle to fool Buskey. That put the Warriors up 4-1 at the 2:07 mark.
The Raiders’ comeback was spared by Protas, who scored his first WHL goal off the rush on the left wing with 6:12 to play. Four minutes later, the Belarusian rookie forced a turnover at the half boards and hit Nachbaur with a cross-ice pass, who snapped it over a sprawling Evanoff to bring the Raiders back within one.
With 1:29 to play, Kelly tied it up. The Ottawa Senators prospect deked around a defender at the Warriors’ blue line and beat Evanoff with a quick wrist shot to force overtime.
In the extra frame, Sergei Sapego sprung Spencer Moe and Kelly on a two-on-one rush. Moe dished over to Kelly, who tucked his shot under the cross bar to end the game.
Buskey, making his first start with the Raiders, stopped 11 shots for the win. Evanoff turned aside 34 Raider attempts in a losing effort.
The Raiders are back in action on Sunday evening to face off against the Saskatoon Blades (3-0-0-0) in the first regular season edition of the Hwy 11 Rivalry. Make note of the special Sunday start time of 6 p.m. Tickets are available at raiderhockey.com. The Raider Box Office will open at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning.