Prince Albert, SK – The Saskatoon Blades and Prince Albert Raiders inaugurated the 2017-18 Highway 11 rivalry the only way they knew how on Saturday night: a combined 77 penalty minutes across both teams and a nail biting finish featuring an entertaining overtime period. However, despite earning a point, it was Saskatoon who fell on the wrong side of the result as the Bridge City Bunch went down 3 goals to 4 in Prince Albert’s barn.
On the power play, Fantillo’s goal was scored with 2:10 left on the clock and with 6 Blades skaters on the ice with Kubic pulled from his net. Fantillo rifled in his third goal of the season assisted by Wouters and Cameron Hebig.
49 seconds later, again with Kubic pulled for an extra attacker, Wouters himself found the back of the net. His goal came with in a more unconventional styling, throwing the puck on the net before it ping-ponged and rebounded off several players in front of the net and finally in.
Midway through the game, the Raiders had managed to hold onto a one goal lead scored by Jordy Stallard at the 4:45 mark of the first period. They doubled their lead on the power play at the 13:22 mark of the second period, with Curtis Miske capitalizing on the Blades’ penalty kill making a poor line change and gifting the Raiders an odd man rush.
Just over a minute later, Josh Paterson halved the Raiders’ lead with the Blades’ first goal of the night. Paterson was attempting to receive a pass which instead simply deflected off him and in. He was assisted by Brandon Machado who recorded his first ever WHL point on the play.
The Raiders scored the first goal of the third period short-handed as a Blades’ turnover forced Kubic into action several times despite his team having the extra man advantage. After making a brilliant save on one of Prince Albert’s short-handed breakaway opportunities, Kubic was not so fortunate the next time, as Parker Kelly successfully dangled the Raiders’ third goal of the night through the 5-hole.
The overtime period that ensued after the Blades heroically tied the game late in the third was entertaining as Saskatoon came close to closing out a win on several occasion. However, Ian Scott was solid in net in his first game back in nearly a month for Prince Albert.
Prince Albert’s game winner came when a tired Blades’ unit gave up an odd man rush on which the Raiders made no mistake, executing a one-two pass across the crease as Kelly shot in his second of the night past Kubic who desperately tried to make the save.
The Blades will now travel home with a road record of 2-2-1-0 and hope to improve their home record when they take on the visiting Victoria Royals on Tuesday night at Sasktel Centre.