Regina, SK – Aliaksei Protas, Ozzy Wiesblatt, and newcomer Brayden Watts each had three points in the third period to lift the Prince Albert Raiders (2-0-1-0) to a 5-2 win over the Regina Pats (1-2-0-0) on Friday night at the Brandt Centre.
The Raiders scored five unanswered goals for the come-from-behind win. Watts had two goals and an assist, Protas scored once and added two helpers, and Wiesblatt picked up three assists. Evan Herman and Cole Nagy also tallied the first goals of their WHL careers in the victory.
The Raiders had two chances to open the scoring in the contest. Protas put an Wiesblatt pass just wide, and Fonstad had a shot trickle through Pats goaltender Danton Belluk and off the post.
Riley Krane got the game’s first goal 5:49 into the contest. He forced a turnover in the Raiders’ end and put a shot on goal that went off a defender in front and past goaltender Boston Bilous.
With 3:10 left to play in the period, Krane struck again. Pratt found Krane with a pass from behind the net and the Dawson Creek, BC product one-timed his second goal of the night to give the Pats a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Late in the second, the Raiders cut into the lead with their first power-play goal of the season. Fonstad found Nagy with a cross-ice pass and the Saskatoon product picked the corner for his first WHL goal with 3:54 to play in middle frame.
Just 24 seconds later, the Raiders levelled the score. Jakob Brook, seeing his first action of the season, put a backhand pass to Herman’s tape. Herman snapped a shot past Belluk for his first career WHL game, making it a 2-2 game heading into the second intermission.
At the 4:23 mark of the third, the Raiders took the lead for good. Protas’ shot at the side of the goal was stopped, but the rebound fell in front of the net. Watts jumped on the loose puck and banged home his first as a Raider to put his new team up 3-2.
The Raiders doubled their lead with 7:20 to play. Wiesblatt took a hit to spring Watts into the attacking zone. The former Vancouver Giant dropped a pass to Protas and the Washington Capitals prospect beat Belluk blocker side to make it a 4-2 game with his second of the season.
With 1:27 to play, the Raiders wrapped it up. Watts found the empty net for his second of the game to give the Raiders the 5-2 win.
In his third consecutive start to open the year, Bilous made 23 saves to pick up the win. Belluk stopped 24 Raider attempts in the loss.
The Raiders wrap up the weekend with a game against the Winnipeg ICE (2-1-0-0) at the Art Hauser Centre tomorrow night. Puck drop is 7 p.m. The Raiders will be raising money for The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund at Saturday’s game with merchandise and a jersey raffle. Tickets are available at the Raiders Office and online here.