The Prince Albert Raiders’ unbeaten run to start the 2018-19 Western Hockey League season came to an end Saturday night.
Despite outshooting the Red Deer Rebels 52-21, it was the hosts who would have the final say as Reese Johnson scored a highlight reel goal with 2:16 left in the third period to give his team a 4-3 win and drop the Raiders record to 7-1.
“We’ve been on a good run here lately but the bounces just didn’t get our way tonight,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said.
“We outshot them and outplayed them for most of the night, but their goaltender played well.”
Ethan Anders was outstanding for the Rebels, who have now won five straight games and have a 5-2 record, as he made 49 saves to earn the game’s first star honours.
He was especially busy in the third period, as the Raiders pushed the envelope to erase a 3-1 deficit.
Sergei Sapego and Brett Leason scored in rapid succession near the midway part of the frame, but Anders was able to keep the game tied up with a number of big stops.
That set that stage for Johnson’s game winning goal as he undressed Raiders defender Max Martin and outwaited Ian Scott to put the Rebels out in front for good.
“We generated an awful lot of shots, but you have to tip your hat to their goalie,” Habscheid said. “He was the difference in this one.”
The Raiders thought they had forced overtime on a late shot by Parker Kelly, but the clock had already struck zero by the time the puck crossed the goal line.
Aliaksei Protas had the other goal for the visitors, who received a 17 save performance from Scott.
Chris Douglas paced the Rebels offence with a goal and an assist, while Austin Schellenberg had a pair of helpers.
Brandon Hagel and Arshdeep Bains also scored for the hosts.
The Raiders will look to get back on track Monday at 2 p.m. as they wrap up a four-game road swing through Alberta against the Calgary Hitmen.
Their next home game will be Saturday, Oct. 13 against the Rebels.
With the Raiders loss, the Victoria Royals became the last unbeaten team in the Canadian Hockey League Saturday night, as they improved to 6-0 with a 2-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers.
Thanks to his third period goal, Sergei Sapego extended his league best point streak to eight games and has scored four goals and put up five assists during his run.
Only one power play took place during the contest, as the Rebels were called for too many men on the ice in the second period.
Forward Jakob Brook was not in the Raiders lineup Saturday, along with blueliners Konrad Belcourt and Lane Kirk.
The Rebels did not dress defencemen Carson Sass and Ryan Gottfreid, in addition to forward Dallon Melin.
- Moose Jaw 5 Swift Current 4 (Tristin Langan – Three Goals and One Assist – Second Career WHL Hat Trick)
- Brandon 7 Regina 3 (Jiri Patera – 37 Saves)
- Saskatoon 3 Lethbridge 2 (Kirby Dach Shootout Winner – Dawson Davidson – Two Assists)
- Seattle 4 Kelowna 1 (Andrej Kukuca – One Goal and One Assist)
- Victoria 2 Kamloops 1 (Griffen Outhouse – 26 Saves)
- Vancouver 3 Prince George 2 (Bowen Byram – One Goal and One Assist)
- Spokane 3 Edmonton 2 (Eli Zummack – One Goal and One Assist)
- Medicine Hat 2 Tri-City 0 (Jordan Hollett – 26 Save Shutout – First of the Season and Third of WHL Career)
- Portland 4 Everett 1 (Joachim Blichfeld – Two Goals and Two Assists)
With an 0-4-1 record to start the season, the Hitmen join the Swift Current Broncos (0-6) and the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds (0-6) as the only teams in the CHL that have yet to record a victory.
The Raiders won three out of four meetings last season against the Hitmen, with their only loss coming in a 4-3 overtime affair at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Jan. 21.
Forward Tristen Nielsen will not be in Calgary’s lineup Monday as he serves the second game in a three game suspension for a boarding major he received for a hit on Red Deer’s Carson Sass last Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Hitmen made a trade Saturday as they dealt blueliner Dominic Schmiemann to the Tri-City Americans for a fourth round pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft and a conditional fifth round pick in 2020.
A first round pick by the Swift Current Broncos in in 2014, the 19-year-old had one assist in four games this season for the Hitmen, who acquired him from the Broncos last November.
- Medicine Hat vs. Kootenay – 4 p.m.