The Prince Albert Raiders needed a win to stay afloat in the Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference playoff race, and they weren't about to let the Saskatoon Blades steal one from them.
Ryan McDonald scored the lone goal of the shootout to counter Saskatoon's third-period rally as the Raiders downed the Blades 5-4 on Friday night.
A loss to Saskatoon would have all but eliminated Prince Albert from the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Raiders (31-35-4-1) are tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings, who have a game in hand and finish the season with a home-and-home series against the Red Deer Rebels on Saturday and Sunday.
Saskatoon (48-18-3-2) trailed 4-2 after Ryan Harrison scored for Prince Albert on a power play at 11:44 of the third period. But the East Division leading Blades fought back with a goal from Charles Inglis and a tying marker from Stefan Elliott with just seven seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.
The shootout loss gives Saskatoon a two-point lead on the Brandon Wheat Kings for the division title with one game remaining for both teams.
Elsewhere in the WHL, it was: Brandon 8, Moose Jaw 0; Everett 5, Vancouver 3; Spokane 5, Tri-City 2; Portland 9, Seattle 1; Chilliwack 3, Prince George 2 (SO); Kelowna 6, Kamloops 4; Lethbridge 4, Kootenay 1; and Swift Current 6, Regina 3.
At Prince Albert, Sask., McDonald had a goal and an assist in regulation, while Harrison also added an assist and Ryan Button scored twice for the Raiders, who close out their season against the Blades in Saskatoon on Saturday.
Jyri Niemi and Darian Dziurzynski added goals for the Blades.
Wheat Kings 8, Warriors 0
At Moose Jaw, Sask., Andrew Clark scored three goals and added an assist as Brandon destroyed the Warriors.
Jeff Bosch stopped 11 of 15 shots for Moose Jaw (19-49-1-2) before being pulled after the Wheat Kings' fourth goal. Deven Dubyk stopped 21 of 25 shots in relief.
Silvertips 5, Giants 3
At Vancouver, Kellan Tochkin had a goal and two assists to help Everett upset the Giants.
Chiefs 5, Americans 2
Ondrej Roman also scored for Spokane (45-22-0-3).
The Americans (48-19-0-3) got goals from Brooks Macek and Brendan Shinnimin.
Winter Hawks 9, Thunderbirds 1
At Kent, Wash., Brad Ross had a goal and three assists as Portland took out a season's worth of frustration on the Thunderbirds.
Luke Walker had two goals for Portland (19-47-2-2), which won for only the third time in 11 games this season against the Thunderbirds. Stefan Schneider, Colin Reddin, Chris Francis, Joel Ridgeway, Oliver Gabriel and Sawyer Mick all scored.
Chris Wells counted the lone goal for Seattle (33-32-1-4) at 18:48 of the second period.
Bruins 3, Cougars 2 (SO)
At Chilliwack, B.C., Ryan Howse tied the game in the third period and won it with the lone goal of the shootout as the Bruins beat Prince George.
Howse scored on a power play with under seven minutes remaining in the third to knot the score at 2-2. Kevin Sundher also scored for Chilliwack (17-46-2-5) on a shorthanded penalty shot in the first period.
Rockets 6, Blazers 4
At Kamloops, B.C., Colin Long scored twice as Kelowna used a strong first period to defeat the Blazers.
Hurricanes 4, Ice 1
At Lethbridge, Alta., the race for sixth place in the Eastern Conference heated up as the Hurricanes defeated Kootenay.
Tylan Stephens had the lone goal for Kootenay (34-29-2-6).
Broncos 6, Pats 3
At Swift Current, Sask., Brad Hoban scored the eventual game-winner during a wild seven-goal third period, helping the Broncos double up on Regina.
The Pats (27-38-1-5) replied with goals from Andrew Rieder and Dominick Favreau, both with their first of the season, and Matt Strueby with his 24th of the year.