The Hitmen got back to winning ways with a 4-2 victory over the Prince Albert Raiders Wednesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, toppling the second-ranked team in the country.
They’ve had their fair share of late game heartbreaks, this time it was different.
“Close games either up or down are going to be competitive during the course of the season,” head coach Steve Hamilton said. “It’s all about how you close out or fight back and we needed to develop that as a team identity.
“We are working towards more accountability through 60 minutes. We didn’t have a full game effort but I liked our third period, it wasn’t without its moments but its all about progress rather than perfection.”
In what was the first brother battle of Orca Wiesblatt versus Ozzy, the Hitmen forward led the charge with two goals scoring both the tying and game winner with 1:22 left to play in the contest. Jonas Peterek and Egor Zamula, into an empty net, provided the other Hitmen markers while Brayden Peters stopped 26 shots for his third win of the season.
Spencer Moe and Evan Herman scored the goals for Prince Albert with Boston Bilous making 28 saves in the loss.
“It was special playing against my little brother,” Wiesblatt said. “I thought he played well and this game is something I’ll never forget and one I’ve been looking forward to for awhile.
“It was nice to get the win, we stuck with it and pushed hard in the third period to get the job done.”
The Hitmen came out of the gates strong when Peterek deflected a Luke Prokop point shot past the Raiders goaltender for his fourth of the year just over two minutes into the contest before the Raiders would answer back 11 minutes later as Moe out waited Peters before sliding the puck into the net.
After a back-forth stalemate, the Raiders would strike again in the second period, on the power play as Herman broke in on a breakaway to snap it into the cage and give the visitors the 2-1 lead headed into the final frame.
Down but not out, Wiesblatt corralled a lose puck and broke in alone scoring high glove side to tie the game up five minutes into the third. The older Wiesblatt wasn’t done there as he crashed the net and found the puck kicked right to his stick for the easy rebound goal and play the role of hero.
“We’re in every game with anytime in this league,” Peters said. “Every game expect for one that we lost was a one-goal game and we’ve competed right to the end. Even the ones we don’t win we know we are right there and just have to fine tune some things to be on the winning side of these close games more.
“We were ready to battle through in the final 20 minutes and were pretty pumped to see Orca score that one late against his brother’s team.”
After losing three one-goal games and sunken by a game winner with under a minute in the last game, this one felt pretty good.
They’re back to winning ways and they want to keep it that way headed into Friday night when the home stand wraps up against Tri-City.