PRINCE ALBERT-6 SASKATOON-3
Prince Albert wins series 4-2
A “killers’ mentality” is how Saskatoon head coach Mitch Love saw the Raiders effort in Game 6. A team that had a chance to close out the series and they were successful on Sunday afternoon in Saskatoon. Meanwhile for the Blades, a Game 4 victory to tie the series was followed up with disappointing play in Games 5 and 6 which ended their season.
“For about 22 minutes in Game 5 we were ok and then took an undisciplined penalty and they scored on the power play to give them life and they came in here with a killer’s mentality to end the series, they understood, they’re a veteran team, the fourth one is the hardest one to get. Our guys looked just really tentative today, we weren’t crisp offensively, the most juice we had was in the third period when they sat back and tried to protect their lead,” said Love on the final two games.
A strong start by the Raiders saw them jump out to a 1-0 lead and Chase Wouters was unable to get the puck past Parker Kelly who intercepted it along the boards. Kelly then went in and fired a shot over the blocker of Saskatoon goalie Nolan Maier to give the Raiders the lead. The Raiders led the shot clock 11 to two at one point in the first period.
Saskatoon was able to respond six minutes later on the power play which was struggling in the series. Ryan Hughes got the puck on the wall and fired a shot through a screened Ian Scott as the Blades captain Chase Wouters made it difficult for Scott to see and Hughes tied the game. Shots at the end of the first were 14-4 for Prince Albert.
In the second period the Raiders continued to pour it on. Dante Hannoun put the Raiders up 2-1 just over five minutes into the period. Dawson Davidson was tripped up behind the net and Noah Gregor got the puck and came around the net. The shot sneaked through Nolan Maier and went off of both posts before Hannoun put it home.
The Raiders extended their lead to two on the power play as Kirby Dach was called for checking to the head on Brayden Pachal. On the ensuing man advantage the Raiders worked the puck back door to Aliaksei Protas and he beat Maier to the low blocker.
Saskatoon got the lead within one on a power play of their own. Hughes scored a goal very similar to his first as he came around the top and fired one that beat Ian Scott. The Raiders led 3-2 after the second and held the edge in shots 22-11.
The third period started out with some hope for the Blades but that quickly evaporated as the Blades failed to clear the puck and Hannoun scored over three minutes in to make it 4-2 for the Raiders.
Just a few minutes later, Max Gerlach was called for cross-checking and 17 seconds into the power play, Sean Montgomery sneaked one through Maier. Tristen Robins got the Blades back within two as the Raiders sat back.
Hannoun scored an empty-netter with one second to go for the hat-trick and seal a Raiders victory. The loss ends the Blades’ season and wraps up the first for rookie Head Coach Mitch Love.
“The initial reaction is disappointment but at the end of the day that’s a good hockey team over there and they were built that way and we’re going to have to lick our wounds a little bit but also I’m extremely proud of our guys and they season they had.”
Game 6 was the last for 20 year olds Dawson Davidson, Gerlach and Brandon Schuldhaus. Davidson and Gerlach were acquired at last year’s deadline while Schuldhaus were traded for early this season. All three have aspirations to play professional hockey next season.