Brandon, MB – The Prince Albert Raiders (46-8-1-2) dropped their second game a row for the first time this season in a 6-3 loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings (26-22-3-4) on Saturday night at Westoba Place.
In the loss, the Raiders surrendered three power-play goals to the Wheat Kings on 10 attempts. Justin Nachbaur had a pair of goals in the loss for the Raiders.
Brandon got the game’s first goal 2:20 into the contest. Cole Reinhardt’s shot from the wing beat Boston Bilous to give the home team a 1-0 lead on their first power-play goal of the game.
Five minutes later, the Raiders responded. Ozzy Wiesblatt sent Cole Fonstad down the wing with a great pass. The Montreal Canadiens prospect held Jiri Patera’s attention then fed Dante Hannoun with a backdoor pass for a tap-in goal at the 7:28 mark. It was Hannoun’s 27th goal of the season.
Less than three minutes later, the Wheat Kings pulled ahead. Streaking down the wing, Stelio Mattheos looked to pass but through a shot on goal that fooled Bilous and beat him five-hole. The goal ended Bilous’s night 10:12 into the contest. Bilous turned aside five of the seven shots he faced.
With one second to play in the period, Brandon made it a two-goal game. After winning an offensive zone faceoff following a penalty that gave the home team a two-man advantage, Mattheos tapped home is second of the game on a cross-crease pass just before the buzzer sounded.
Early in the second, the Wheat Kings scored on the power play again. Luka Burzan solved Brett Balas at the 3:37 mark of the period to make it 4-1.
Mattheos completed his hat trick at the 11:46 mark of the period to put the Wheat Kings up 5-1.
Seventeen seconds later, the Raiders cut into the lead. Justin Nachbaur’s shot from the blueline tricked Patera and ended up in the Wheat Kings’ goal for his 14th goal of the season.
The Raiders came out flying in the third period in an attempt to get back into the game. The hard work paid off on the power play. Nachbaur tallied his second of the game, this time from the top of the crease as he banged home a rebound for his 15th of the year.
Prince Albert kept the pressure coming but Patera answered in goal for the Wheat Kings. The Vegas Golden Knights prospect made 19 saves on 20 attempts in the final period to close the door on any Raider comeback attempts.
Ben McCartney sealed the game for Brandon with an empty-net goal with 2:26 to play.
Balas was credited with the loss after making 15 saves in relief. Patera finished the game with 34 saves.
The Raiders return to the Art Hauser Centre on Monday afternoon for a Family Day Game against the Moose Jaw Warriors. Puck drop is 4 p.m. Following the game, kids are invited onto the ice for a post-game skate with the team presented by Real Canadian Superstore. Tickets are available at raiderhockey.com and the Art Hauser Centre box office at 10 a.m. on Monday morning.