Saskatoon, SK – The Prince Albert Raiders (53-10-2-2) weren’t able to find the equalizer in the final moments as they fell 3-2 to the Saskatoon Blades (45-14-8-0) on Friday night at SaskTel Centre.
Parker Kelly led the way as the only Raider with a multi-point game. He picked up a goal and an assist in the game.
Kelly’s goal was the opening marker of the contest early in the first. Spencer Moe won an offensive zone faceoff back to the Ottawa Senators draft pick who blasted a shot past Nolan Maier for his 35th goal of the season at the 1:21 mark.
The Blades tied the game four minutes later. Ian Scott turned aside a chance by Chase Wouters, but the puck stayed in the zone. Brandon Schuldhaus’ shot from the point got through traffic and Scott for the overagers eighth goal of the season, levelling the score at 1-1 5:44 into the period.
The goal ended Scott’s shutout streak at 185 minutes and 44 seconds, which is a new franchise record. Craig Hordal held the previous record at 128 minutes and 32 seconds in 1995.
Less than a minute into the second, the Blades took advantage of their five-on-three power-play opportunity. Dawson Davidson found Ryan Hughes with a backdoor pass and Hughes tapped it in to put Saskatoon up 2-1 with his 30th goal 37 seconds into the period.
The Raiders gained some momentum with two power-play opportunities in the period. However, Maier was able to hold his ground and keep the Raiders off the bard in the middle frame.
The momentum carried over to the third period as the Raiders struck early. After drawing a penalty, Noah Gregor’s shot off the ensuing faceoff made it a 2-2 game at the 4:49 mark. It was Gregor’s 41st goal of the year.
Later in the period, the Raiders found themselves in penalty trouble again. Down two players, the Blades took advantage of a scramble around the goal to put Saskatoon up 3-2. Kirby Dach put a shot off the post, but Max Gerlach knocked the rebound past a sprawling Scott at the 7:17 mark for his 41st of the season.
The Raiders pressed for the equalizer in the remaining time. Aliaksei Protas dangled into the slot, but his attempt went off the post.
In the final minutes, the Raiders kept the pressure up Scott on the bench for the extra attacker. However, Maier stopped chances from Gregor and Sean Montgomery to keep the Raiders at bay.
Scott finished the game with 29 saves in the loss. Maier stopped 28 Raider attempts to pick up the win.
On Saturday, the two teams meet again at the Art Hauser Centre in the final game of the regular season. Puck drop is 7 p.m. The Raiders will be wearing Brooks Freeman’s winning jersey design from this season’s Fan Appreciation Night jersey contest.
Tickets are also still available for the Raiders Year-End Banquet Presented by Great Western, which will be held on Monday, March 18. The banquet begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the Raider Office for $40.
Single-game tickets are also available for Games 1 and 2 of the 2019 WHL Playoffs, which will be played on March 22 and 23, respectively. Tickets are available at raiderhockey.com and the Raider Office.