On Wednesday night the Calgary Hitmen snapped the Prince Albert Raiders five-game win streak while ending a three-game losing streak of their own.
With the win, Calgary also snapped a five-game losing streak against the Raiders dating back to March 10th, 2018. Both Wiesblatt brothers were top performers receiving first and second stars, however, it was Orca who had two goals including the game-winner who was a key player in the Calgary victory,
The first period of this contest was a relatively low action, 20 minutes of hockey. Both teams struggled to put a shot on net early on, however, it was the first one that found the back of the net.
Luke Prokop gathered the puck at the right point on a pass from Adam Kydd and sent a very innocent shot on net that was redirected by Jonas Peterek. Peterek’s fourth of the year marks the third game this season that the Hitmen have opened the scoring under five minutes into the first. Midway through the period, play began to speed up and Ozzy Wiesblatt put his skillset on showcase. The 17-year-old and draft-eligible forward displayed terrific puck control fending off some of the larger Hitmen defenders in the offensive zone and delivered two beautiful cross-crease passes which resulted in some of the Raiders better scoring chances. Just over 13 minutes into the frame Prince Albert was rewarded after several good chances. Seconds after Landon Kosior rang a bullet off the left post, Spencer Moe received a crisp pass from captain Zack Hayes and ripped a shot through Brayden Peters’ five-hole to tie the score at one. Both teams continued with back and forth play until the end of the period recording 10 shots per side.
Right out of the gate in the second, Prince Albert began to dictate play within the Calgary zone causing multiple Calgary turnovers. One of which resulted in a wide-open lane for Daniil Stepanov to wire a wrist shot past Peters but deflecting off the crossbar. Prince Albert was soon after given the man advantage off a Jackson Van De Leest slash which they were able to capitalize on. With just tens seconds remaining in the slashing call to Van De Leest, Justin Nachbaur slipped a pass to a streaking Evan Herman who quickly wristed the puck past Brayden Peters. Soon after, a puck that looked to be a sure interception by Dakota Krebs, bounced off Krebs stick directly to Evan Herman. Herman went down alone but was stopped by Peters who provided a timely save for his club who were struggling to challenge opposing netminder Boston Bilous. With a minute left in the frame after a Dakota Krebs slapshot, a massive skirmish of nearly all players on the ice toppled over Boston Bilous. Despite the puck being freed to Calgary, a blocked shot by Prince Albert managed to secure the 2-1 Raider lead heading into the second intermission.
The Hitmen entered the third with much better energy and enhanced speed to their game. Unfortunately for Calgary, this momentum was matched by a tightly structured Prince Albert defense. It wasn’t until past the five-minute mark that Orca Wiesblatt jumped on a loose puck for the breakaway and made no mistake going backhand forehand to beat Boston Bilous glove side. This momentum did not soon fade away as soon after James Malm caused a potentially game-changing offensive zone turnover which was abruptly stopped by Bilous. As the third progressed and the back and forth action intensified with both clubs exchanging odd-man rushes. After killing off a late interference call which sent Jett Woo to the box, the Hitmen gained the momentum needed to gain the lead. With just 1:22 remaining in the third a juicy Josh Prokop rebound was sent on to the stick of Orca Wiesblatt who potted it for his second of the night and sixth of the year. Egor Zamula later sent a long shot from his own end which made its way into the vacant net to ensure the victory for Calgary.
Postgame Orca Wiesblatt spoke about the unique experience in playing his brother and the Raiders in saying “It’s special, especially versus my little brother. It is something I’ll never forget and it was nice that we won.” Wiesblatt was also asked about his slightly less traditional route to the WHL and the success he has experienced this season. Wiesblatt was quick to credit his offseason work by stating “It was a lot of hard work in the summer and I had to prove myself to be a top-six guy here. Wiesblatt and the Hitmen will be back in action on Friday when they close out the homestand against Tri-City.
- During the 2018/19 series between the Raiders and Hitmen, Prince Albert won all four games in regulation while outscoring Calgary 27-9.
- The Hitmen are currently sitting 9 points above what the team was after 15 games last season and sit just four points back of Medicine Hat for third in the Central with two games in hand.
- Orca Wiesblatt(2g,1a) and Josh Prokop(2a) both currently riding two-game point streaks while Luke Prokop picked up his second multi-point game of the season with two helpers.