A lack of discipline cost the Prince Albert Raiders dearly on Friday.
With the Raiders leading 2-0 after a solid opening period, the Moose Jaw Warriors took advantage of a couple of power-play opportunities in the middle frame and then completed the comeback with a late tally in the third to register a 3-2 Western Hockey League victory before 2,634 fans at the Art Hauser Centre.
“We came out strong in the first period, but the most disappointing point tonight was the penalties we took,” said Raiders’ head coach Steve Young. “We have to be prepared to get hit and those penalties gave them momentum to get back in the game.”
Mark McNeill and Dakota Conroy staked the Raiders to the first-period lead with Conroy’s team-leading eighth marker coming with two seconds left on a two-man power play.
Then the tables turned as Brayden Point capitalized on consecutive man-advantage situations in the second period and Sam Fioretti gave the Warriors their first lead of the game with just over six minutes remaining in regulation time.
The Raiders certainly had their chances in the final moments as Josh Morrisey and Conroy each hit a post and Shane Danyluk missed a wide-open cage as the Raiders were playing six skaters to four with Prince Albert’s goal vacated in favour of an extra attacker and Moose Jaw down a man after Jordan Wyton was called for putting his hand on the puck.
Andy Desautels got a rare start in the Prince Albert goal and he turned in a strong performance blocking 29 shots. Justin Paulic faced 36 Raider shots, but there were many more that were blocked or deflected including a trio of close-range shots that Wyton got in front of during the Prince Albert two-man advantage in the first period.
The Raiders and Warriors don’t have long to wait to renew acquaintances as the two meet again tonight in a rare doubleheader in the same building. Young says the message is clear to his team: be prepared.
“This is the way Moose Jaw plays,” says Young. “They are a hard-working team so we know what to prepare for.”
RAIDER NOTES: It is parents weekend for the Raiders and during the first intermission four of the player’s fathers were selected to participate in a Subway contest out on the ice…Friday’s loss was Prince Albert’s fourth in their last five games played on home ice. The Raiders have just three wins in eight starts at home with two of the losses coming in shootouts…Prince Albert was without Anthony Bardaro, Tim Vanstone and Reid Gardiner on Friday as Bardaro is at home in Alberta attending a family funeral while Vanstone completed a four-game suspension he picked up after being assessed a checking-from-behind major in a 9-0 loss to the Warriors when the teams last met in Moose Jaw two weeks ago. Gardiner is on the injured list with an upper-body injury and is two to three weeks away from returning to the line-up…Defenseman Zach Hodder returned to the line-up after missing 11 games with a shoulder injury and with the shortage of forwards, the Raiders moved defensemen Shayne Gwinner and Riley Guenther up front for the game.