Raiders beat Hit­men in OT

Meger re­places San­ders in Raiders’ net to sal­vage win

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - SPORTS - EVAN RAD­FORD

Early in the week Prince Al­bert Raiders de­fence­man Vo­jtech Budik preached as­sertive, sta­ble de­fence and smart passes out of his zone.

He emerged as the hero Fri­day night af­ter he buried the game-win­ning goal in over­time against the Cal­gary Hit­men, lift­ing his side to a 6-5 win, the Raiders’ first win of the sea­son.

Budik was rush­ing into Cal­gary’s zone with cen­tre Jordy Stal­lard car­ry­ing the puck on his left side, just af­ter three minutes into 4-on-4 play. The pair man­aged to cre­ate an odd-man rush against the lone Cal­gary de­fender.

Stal­lard snapped the puck at goalie Nick Sch­nei­der, who turned it aside to his left, in front of a wait­ing Budik. The 19-year-old Czech cor­ralled the rebound and banged it home at 3:07 into the ex­tra frame.

“He shot and I went to the rebound and I scored. I’m so happy for it,” Budik, ex­u­ber­ant, said af­ter the game.

It’s the first time in his ca­reer he scored a game-win­ning over­time goal, he said.

“He’s just a qual­ity kid – open to learn, works hard and when he has those char­ac­ter­is­tics, he’s gonna be a good player. He is a good player,” Raiders head coach Marc Hab­scheid said of Budik. “He’s gonna be real im­por­tant for us this year.”

Af­ter the game, Budik was still res­o­lute in his de­fen­sive mind­set: “First thing is play de­fence for sure; (then) make the passes, play sim­pler, shoot the puck,” he said.

“He knows what he needs to be, and that’s a first-pass, stay-at-home de­fence­man. But ev­ery­body likes scor­ing goals, and he scored the win­ner so we’re happy for him,” Hab­scheid said.

The Raiders had to dig them­selves out of a sec­ond-pe­riod hole to come away with the win.

The team started the game on the right foot: It dom­i­nated the first pe­riod, thanks to ef­fec­tive puck cy­cling and sev­eral chances in Cal­gary’s slot in front of Sch­nei­der.

The Raiders were up 2-1 af­ter 20 minutes, with goals from Parker Kelly and De­von Skoleski.

Kelly was in­stru­men­tal in setting up plays from be­hind the Hit­men’s net and in an­tag­o­niz­ing Cal­gary’s defencemen, of­ten right next to Sch­nei­der.

But in the sec­ond pe­riod, the Raiders seemed to slow down and back off the pres­sure they had cre­ated in the first pe­riod.

Cal­gary net­ted three goals in the frame, in­clud­ing a short-handed back­hand shot from Mat­teo Gen­naro.

Along with Gen­naro, An­drei Gr­ishakov and Jakob Stukel scored for their side. The group notched all three goals in a quick two-and-a-half minute flurry.

“Our chances were heav­ily in our favour through­out the game, so we started to cheat in the sec­ond pe­riod a lit­tle bit – it cost us. And then (goalie DA-A07-03102017-Raider­sOT-ER1 Ni­cholas San­ders) had a tough night,” Hab­scheid said.

Cal­gary was up 4-2 at 15:52 of the pe­riod af­ter the Stukel goal, ef­fec­tively chasing San­ders from the game and forc­ing Hab­scheid to sub­sti­tute in Cur­tis Meger for San­ders.

By that point, San­ders had al­lowed four goals on the 19 shots he faced. Thir­teen of those shots came in the sec­ond pe­riod, thanks in part to the Raiders’ slower tempo.

De­fence­man Max Martin pulled his team within one point at 17:01 of the pe­riod. His slap shot banged off the goal post, then off of Sch­nei­der, trick­ling into the Hit­men’s net.

Once the third pe­riod started, Prince Al­bert picked up where it had left off in the first – cre­at­ing rushes into Cal­gary’s zone, setting up give-and-go plays and shoot­ing on Sch­nei­der fre­quently.

The chances proved ef­fec­tive: Stal­lard tied the game at 10:35, and Spencer Moe scored the go-ahead goal at 17:01.

But the lead was short-lived, af­ter Gen­naro tipped in his sec­ond goal of the game a lit­tle over a minute later.

The teams ended reg­u­la­tion time tied at 5-5, forc­ing the ex­tra pe­riod of play.

That even­tu­ally led to Budik’s win­ner.

Af­ter a quick cel­e­bra­tion and an all­team salute at cen­tre ice to the 1,822 peo­ple in at­ten­dance, Budik was fo­cused on Satur­day’s game.

“We have to keep go­ing to­mor­row against Medicine Hat,” he said.

EVAN RAD­FORD/DAILY HER­ALD

Prince Al­bert Raiders cen­tre D-Jay Jerome car­ries the puck into the Cal­gary Hit­men’s zone in WHL ac­tion at the Art Hauser Cen­tre Fri­day night.

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