Hitmen Can’t Replicate Overtime Magic

Candice Ward/Photo

Two overtime games, with two different results.

The Hitmen fell to the Prince Albert Raiders 4-3 in overtime Saturday night to wrap up the stretch of three games in four nights.

After defeating Saskatoon in the extra session Friday night, the Hitmen couldn’t find overtime magic for the second straight night.

Mark Kastelic found the back of the net twice, to reach the 20 goal mark for the first time in his WHL career. Carson Focht scored for the second game in a row and Matthew Armitage was outstanding all night as he finished with 40 saves.

24 of the goaltender’s 40 saves came in the final frame, as he was a big reason why the Hitmen came away with a point.

For the Raiders, Jordy Stallard, Vojjtech Budik and Curtis Miske scored in regulation time. Defenceman Brayden Pachal scored the overtime winner with just under a minute left to extend the Raiders win streak to nine games. Ian Scott ended with 20 saves for the win.

The Hitmen found themselves in a less frantic start to the contest compared to Friday night, with only one marker put up on the board. Kastelic would provide the goal as he tipped home his first of the night off a feed from Conner Chaulk at 13:46 of the opening 20 minutes.

Prince Albert would even the game a minute into the second stanza, courtesy off Stallard’s 43rd of the year. Late in the frame, Focht would give the Hitmen the lead right back with a quick wrist shot from the high slot that fooled Scott. Tristen Nielsen picked up an assist on the play to extend his point streak (5G, 4A) to six games.

The Hitmen would hold onto the 2-1 lead headed into the third period, but Prince Albert would throw everything and anything at Armitage.

Budik and Miske scored just a minute apart from each other to take a 3-2 lead and thoroughly outshot the Hitmen as they looked to close the game out.

Armitage had other plans, as the rookie goaltender made numerous key saves to keep his club in the contest, including a pair of cross-crease attempts that he kept out.

The Hitmen would reward the play of their goaltender with the game-tying goal on the powerplay, three minutes after the Raiders took a 3-2 lead, as Kastelic would go with the wrap-around for his second of the night.

Overtime would see the Hitmen outshoot the Raiders 3-1 and had possession of the puck for the majority of the extra session. But as the Hitmen would learn, all it took was one shot to give the Raiders the win.

The four-game road swing will now come to an end for the Hitmen Tuesday night when they take on the Medicine Hat Tigers.

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