Raiders narrowly fall 4-3 to top ranked ICE

Mark Peterson

The Prince Albert Raiders held a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but the Winnipeg ICE clawed their way back to take a 4-3 win out of the Art Hauser Centre on Tuesday night.

The Raiders played arguably their best period of the season in the first. Whether it was the crisp passing, physicality, or timely saves, everything seemed to go the PA way in the opening 20 minutes. That was rewarded with two goals, starting with rookie forward Cole Peardon. After Landon Kosior walked in and ripped a shot off the crossbar, the rebound sat right behind ICE netminder Daniel Hauser. Peardon tracked the loose puck and banged home his fifth goal of the season to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead 6:24 into the contest.

In the final minute of the first, Sloan Stanick doubled that lead. Again, another chance was created by a shot from Kosior. After Hauser made an initial stop on the Raider defenceman, the rebound popped out to the left circle for Stanick. The forward blasted a slapshot that trickled through Hauser’s five hole and in. Stanick picked up his 24th goal of the season, while Kosior picked up his second primary assist on the play, as Prince Albert took a 2-0 lead into the second period, while also leading 13-9 in shots.

The second period was not nearly as friendly to the green and gold, who surrendered three goals. The first came with the Raiders on a powerplay. A turnover created a two on one rush for Winnipeg, and it was Conor Geekie and Connor McClennon streaking down the ice. Geekie slipped a nice pass ahead for McClennon, who deked from his forehand to his backhand while skating across the crease, and he roofed a shot over a sprawling Chaika. McClennon’s 43rd goal of the season cut the Raider lead to 2-1 2:45 into the middle frame.

Less than a minute after that, the ICE tied things up. This time it was Geekie setting up Matthew Savoie. The Buffalo Sabres prospect buried his 36th goal of the season from the low slot on an incredible individual effort to make it a 2-2 game. Winnipeg scored two goals in 46 seconds thanks to goals from McClennon and Savoie, knotting things up early at 2-2.

Late in the second, a scrum ensued after Easton Armstrong took a goaltender interference penalty. After all was said and done, the rest of the period was played with four on four action. Winnipeg capitalized with the extra ice, scoring with just two seconds left on the clock. For the third time in the period, Geekie was the set up man on the goal, as the forward sent a perfect pass rink wide to Graham Sward. Sward had open ice to skate in, and the defenceman sniped a shot past Chaika, which gave the ICE a 3-2 lead heading into the third.

3:15 into the third period, the ICE took a two goal lead. It was Savoie who scored to put Winnipeg up 4-2, set up by Owen Pederson and Ben Zloty. The ICE held that two goal edge for a majority of the final frame.

However, with 1:09 left in the third, the Raiders drew back to within one. As Evan Herman was lurking in the neutral zone, Aiden Oiring fed a lead pass ahead to the Raider captain. Herman skated in all alone and sniped a shot blocker side past Hauser, cutting the Winnipeg lead to 4-3.

After a timeout, the Raiders just couldn’t find an equalizer, as the ICE held on in the final minute to come away with a 4-3 win. Tikhon Chaika stopped 31 of 35 shots faced in the loss, as Prince Albert fell to 26-34-3-0 on the season.

The team heads to Manitoba this weekend for three games in three nights. They travel to Brandon on Friday night. They will then head to Winnipeg for games against the ICE on Saturday and Sunday night.

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