It couldn't have been the start that coach Steve Young was looking for.
Or the ending.
The Prince Albert Raiders gave up a goal to Brady Brassart as the Calgary Hitmen scored 10 seconds into the game en route to a shootout 6-5 victory in a wild one at the Saddledome in Calgary on Friday.
It looked like the Hitmen added to their lead midway through the period but it was ruled that former Regina Pat and Red Deer Rebel Colton Mayor directed the puck into the net with his skate when the play was reviewed.
Just seconds later, Jesse Zgraggen took advantage of a turnover and put a long wrister off starter Luke Siemens' shoulder into the net.
A double minor by the Rebels that straddled the first and second periods paid off two minutes into the second when Mike Winther converted a blocked shot past Calgary netminder Chris Driedger to draw his team to 2-1. Anthony Bardaro and Sawyer Lange drew assists.
Calgary restored the two-goal lead four minutes later when Pavlo Padakin knocked in a loose puck.
Leon Draisaitl scored a beautiful end-to-end unassisted goal at 7:44 to keep his team close.
Dylan Busenius scored his first as a Raider and seventh of the season to even the teams at 3-3. Austin Daae and Chance Braid drew assists.
It didn't last. Mayor put the Hitmen up 4-3 just 24 seconds later, which prompted Young to pull Siemens for Andy Desautels. It was the fourth goal by the two teams in just over three minutes.
Bardaro tied the game at 4-4 nine minutes into the third on a wild scramble. Reid Gardener and Lange drew assists.
A Draisaitl one-timer at 10:09 of the third gave the Raiders their first lead. Carson Perreaux and Dakota Conroy earned assists.
The Hitmen rallied to tie on a late goal by Jaynen Rissling at 17:39.
After no shots were registered in overtime, the game went to a shootout. Calgary's Brooks Macek scored the only goal.
The final shots on net were 35-31 for the Hitmen. Both teams went scoreless on the powerplay; Calgary on five chances, Prince Albert on four.
The win was Calgary's eighth home victory in a row.
ICINGS: The Raiders won the first two games of their season series, 5-4 in a shootout on Oct. 5 and 2-0 on Feb. 20 when Luke Siemens stopped 40 shots. A statistic that makes the number is more impressive is that Calgary is 14-5-0-1 against the East Division this season ... The Raiders last won back-to-back games on the road when they beat Brandon and Prince George on Jan. 18 and 23 ... The Hitmen are a lock to make the playoffs. It will be the 15th time in 18 years they've done it ... Attendance at the game was 12,571 ... The Hitmen's Brassart leads the WHL with nine game-winning goals. Josh Morrissey leads the Raiders with four ... The Raiders' leader in penalty minutes is Harrison Ruopp with 105 minutes, good for 23rd in the league ... Mark McNeill turned 20 on Friday. Ruopp turns 20 on March 17 ... The Raider scratches were Joey Santucci, Tim Vanstone and Evan Morden as Austin Daae and Riley Guenther returned to the lineup ... Guenther and Morrissey are both Calgary natives ... The Raiders play in Red Deer on Saturday and Moose Jaw on Tuesday before returning to the Art Hauser Centre on Wednesday when they host the Regina Pats ...