Raiders hammer visiting Blades
By Cory Wolfe, The StarPhoenix
March 31, 2011 8:53 AM
Prior to Wednesday’s WHL playoff game, Prince Albert hockey fans used a sledgehammer to smash the stuffing out of a car emblazoned with the Saskatoon Blades’ logo. Their Raiders went on to supply a beating of their own, downing the Blades 6-3 in Game 3.
Photograph by: Prince Albert Daily Herald, ,
Raiders 6, Blades 3
PRINCE ALBERT — Prior to Wednesday’s WHL playoff game, Prince Albert hockey fans used a sledgehammer to smash the stuffing out of a car emblazoned with the Saskatoon Blades’ logo.
Their Raiders subsequently put a few dents in the Blades’ psyche.
Riding a dominant first period that saw them outshoot Saskatoon 22-6 and build a 2-0 lead, the Raiders persevered to win 6-3 at an energy-charged Art Hauser Centre.
Prince Albert now trails the best-of-seven, first-round series 2-1, with Game 4 at the same venue tonight.
“Prince Albert simply outworked us tonight and deserved to win the hockey game,” said Blades coach-GM Lorne Molleken. “We were flat in a lot of areas and we need to be a lot better in Game 4.”
The Raiders would have been hard-pressed to have a better first period than they did Wednesday. They rode the energy of a sellout crowd — that’s 2,868 fans including standing room — and led 2-0 after 20 minutes.
“We’ve had good starts, especially that second game in Saskatoon when we outshot the opposition 16-5and were down one,” said Raiders coach-GM Bruno Campese. “That’s demoralizing. But tonight we got rewarded. We scored that first goal and I thought we had a real good first period.”
Even so, the Blades remained within range and less than four minutes into the second period, they pulled even.
Josh Nicholls struck first for Saskatoon, beating Jamie Tucker with a wraparound 41 seconds in. Then Chris Collins buried a rebound to tie the game at 3:47.
If the Raiders were ruffled, they didn’t show it. In fact, they showed they could strike quickly, too. Just 59 seconds after Collins’ goal, Prince Albert defenceman Jordan Rowley wired a shot past Steven Stanford to restore the hosts’ lead.
“We knew they were going to come out hard in the second, but we just kind of had to weather the storm, I guess,” said Raiders winger Justin Maylan, whose goal 6:44 into the third proved to be the game-winner.
“To a man, we said to ourselves, ‘We’re not going to let it happen again here.’ In Saskatoon, we got off to a pretty good start and they scored, so we let them get (the momentum) back. Tonight, we just said, ‘Forget about it and let’s just get going.’ ”
Brandon Herrod and Igor Revenko were the offensive catalysts for the Raiders, producing two goals and an assist each. Prince Albert also got a bounce-back performance from Tucker, who was pulled in Game 1 and then watched Eric Williams start Game 2.
Although Tucker looked uncomfortable at times Wednesday, he foiled two Saskatoon breakaways — one by Jake Trask in the first period and one by Josh Nicholls 12 minutes into the second.
At the other end, Stanford lost to his old team for the first time in nine meetings this season. He was the busier netminder, facing 49 shots to Tucker’s 40.
“Prince Albert demonstrated tonight that they weren’t just going to lie down,” said Molleken. “They exposed us in certain areas where we have to be a lot better. Our one-on-ones in our zone were horrendous and as a result there’s breakdowns. We overhandled the puck and they put the pressure on us and created opportunity that way.”
Rookie Matej Stransky scored Saskatoon’s other goal and earned third-period playing time with Brayden Schenn and Curtis Hamilton. With the Blades trailing 4-3 late, Stransky threatened to bury the equalizer, but he rang the puck off the outside of the post.
BLADE BITS: Proceeds from the Raiders’ whack-a-car promotion — three swings cost $5 — are going to a local animal shelter. The smashed-up Cutlass was towed out to centre ice during the first intermission. . . The Blades’ lone scratch due to injury was rookie C Ryan Olsen (upper body).
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