The Prince Albert Raiders watched a third period lead disappear as the Moose Jaw Warriors struck four times in the final nine minutes of Thursday night’s game, beating the Raiders 5-2 at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.
Brett Leason and Devon Skoleski scored for the Raiders, while Curtis Meger made 37 saves in the loss.
With the Raiders carrying a 2-1 lead with less than ten minutes remaining, the Warriors converted their second power play goal of the game to pull even as Brayden Burke one-timed a Brett Howden pass, beating Meger to make it 2-2.
As the final buzzer drew nearer, Moose Jaw took a 3-2 lead with less than four minutes to play on a tic-tac-toe passing play finished by Jayden Halbgewachs, before depositing two more goals in the next 35 seconds to make it a 5-2 contest, which is how the game would end.
Leason got things started for the Raiders in the first period, walking into Warriors territory and snapping a wrist shot over the shoulder of goaltender Brody Willms for his first goal as a Raider just over five minutes into the game. Leason was acquired last week from the Tri-City Americans, and was appearing in his second game with his new team Thursday night.
Moose Jaw drew even on a late power play goal in the first as Luka Burzan sent the game into the intermission at 1-1. Shots on goal after the first period favoured the Warriors 20-10.
In the second, Prince Albert regained the lead as Devon Skoleski pounced on a turnover at the Moose Jaw net, lifting the puck over Brody Willms for his sixth goal of the season. The Raiders outshot the Warriors 11-6 in the second and took a 2-1 lead into the third before Moose Jaw wrestled the lead back and took over late in the contest.
The Warriors came out with a strong push in the third period, outshooting the Raiders 15-5 on their way to a four-goal frame, ultimately winning the overall shot battle 42-26.
Moose Jaw converted twice on five power play opportunities, while Prince Albert failed to strike on three.
1-0, Raiders, Brett Leason unassisted, 5:31
1-1, Warriors, Luka Burzan from Brayden Burke and Chase Hartje (PPG), 19:42
2-1, Raiders, Devon Skoleski unassisted, 8:01
2-2, Warriors, Brayden Burke from Brett Howden (PPG), 11:14
3-2, Warriors, Jayden Halbgewachs from Noah Gregor and Brett Howden, 16:06
4-2, Warriors, Tanner Jeannot from Justin Almeida and Brayden Burke, 16:22
5-2, Warriors, Jayden Halbgewachs from Chase Hartje and Brett Howden, 16:41
The Raiders will be without defenceman Rhett Rhinehart for the next three games as he takes part in the World Under-17 Challenge beginning this weekend in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek, BC. Rhinehart is representing Team Canada Red in the tournament that pits some of the top under-17 talent in the world head-to-hea.
No rest ahead
After Thursday's matchup, the Raiders head home for the first meeting of the season with the Swift Current Broncos , currently ranked second in the CHL’s Top 10 Weekly Ranking.
On Saturday, the weekend concludes with a rematch with the Warriors back in Prince Albert. Later in the week, the Raiders load the bus and head off on a six-game road swing beginning in Cranbrook and ultimately leading through the U.S. Division.
On Twitter: @Trevor_Redden
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