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Raiders Drop Close Contest to Wheat Kings

Keith Hershmiller/WHL

Regina, SK – On a night where they deserved a better fate, the Prince Albert Raiders (4-7-1-1) lost a 3-2 game to the Brandon Wheat Kings (10-2-1-0) in the Subway Hub Centre at the Brandt Centre in Regina on Monday.

Justin Nachbaur paced the Raiders with both of his team’s goals on the night. Matthew Culling, Michael Horon, Eric Pearce, and Ozzy Wiesblatt all picked up assists in the game.

The Raiders had the best early chance in the game. After a faceoff in the Raiders’ end, Logan Danis got behind the defence and was sprung on a breakaway. His shot and the eventual rebound attempt were stopped by Ethan Kruger.

The Wheat Kings responded with a great chance of their own a power play. Ridly Greig was able to get around the defence and cut in front of the goal. Max Paddock was up for the challenge and made the save with his glove.

Midway through the period, Nachbaur got the Raiders on the board. After seeing his own chance go off the post, Culling collected the puck in the corner and worked it to Nachbaur at the point. The Cross Lake, MB product passed it to Wiesblatt, who sent it right back and Nachbaur fired a one-timer from the top of the right faceoff circle past Kruger for his fourth of the season.

Brandon nearly tied it later in the period. Braden Schneider was able to skate to the top of the slot and wired a wrist shot on goal. Paddock was able to get a piece of the shot with his glove and the puck hit the post.

Before the end of the first, the Wheat Kings found an equalizer. Schneider found a cutting Jake Chiasson in the slot. Chiasson had trouble controlling the puck and directed it to the net with his backhand. The bouncing puck fooled Paddock and got through to tie the game at 1-1 with 57.9 seconds left in the first.

In the second, the Wheat Kings had the first chance to break the deadlock. Riley Ginnell came down the wing after a Raiders power play expired and put a shot on goal that was stopped by Paddock. He found his own rebound, but Paddock was able to kick the pad out to make the second save.

The Raiders regained their lead 9:05 into the middle frame. Horon won a battle along the boards and got a puck to Pearce, setting up a short two-on-one. Pearce sent it over to Nachbaur who one-timed it on goal. Kruger got a piece, but it wasn’t enough to keep out Nachbaur’s second of the night and fifth of the year.

Five minutes later, the Wheat Kings tied it up with a four-on-three power-play goal. Nolan Ritchie was able to step into the slot and fired a shot that got past a screened Paddock to make it a 2-2 game after two periods.

The Raiders had a chance to take their third lead of the game about six minutes into the third period. Spencer Moe fed Tyson Laventure, who entered the zone for a one-on-one situation. He wired a shot that beat Kruger, but rang it off the cross bar.

Greig put the Wheat Kings ahead with a shorthanded goal with 10:33 to play. He pulled away on a two-on-one rush with Ben McCartney, kept and beat Paddock with a wrister to give the Wheat Kings their first lead at 3-2.

The Raiders pressed for an equalizer, but weren’t able to solve Kruger for a third time. With Paddock on the bench for the extra attacker, Reece Vitelli’s one-timer attempt was turned aside by Kruger. Then in the final seconds, Kruger got his shoulder on a one-timer from the point from Nachbaur to preserve the win.

Kruger stopped 31 shots for the Wheat Kings. Paddock made 22 saves in the loss for the Raiders.

The Raiders are off until Thursday night when they take on the Saskatoon Blades. Puck drop is 6 p.m. Catch the game on WHL Live on CHL TV.

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