The Prince Albert Raiders continued their three game road trip with a scrappy effort on Friday, but it wasn’t enough to best the red-hot Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Goaltender Ian Scott turned in a solid performance, stopping 30 of the 33 shots he faced, while Curtis Miske and captain Tim Vanstone tallied for the visitors. Although they outshot the flu-ravaged Hurricanes 39-34, the Raiders ultimately fell 4-2 in front of 4,177 fans at the Enmax Centre.
Raider coach Marc Habscheid said his team played a strong game, but couldn’t finish when it counted.
“We pressured them. We played smart. We played disciplined. We played structured. We created a lot of chances, but we didn’t bury our chances and that’s what it came down to.”
After a flurry of icing and offside calls to begin the game, Lethbridge struck first following a Prince Albert neutral zone turnover. Winger Alex Baer beat Scott blocker side with a quick wrist shot to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders answered early in the second when Vanstone broke free for a shorthanded marker five minutes into the frame. The Raiders had Lethbridge netminder Stuart Skinner under siege for most of the period, outshooting the Hurricanes 17-8, but were unable to notch the go-ahead goal.
“When you get a chance, you’ve got to bury them,” Habscheid said. “We had point blank chances and we just didn’t score.”
Prince Albert’s best opportunity to pull ahead came early in the third period when defenceman Vojtech Budik was awarded a penalty shot. Budik’s shot clanged off the post, and a few minutes later Lethbridge’s Matt Alfaro fired a quick wrister past Scott to give the Hurricanes the advantage.
Zak Zborosky padded the lead with a power play marker a few minutes later to make it 3-1.
The Raiders fought back to make it a one-goal game when Miske converted a beautiful pass from Simon Stransky for his 10th goal of the year. The tally briefly energized the Raiders, but the Hurricanes put the final nail in the coffin when Baer scored an empty-netter for his second goal of the night.
The loss drops the Raiders to regular season mark to 13-37-5. The Hurricanes improve to 33-15-7. Prince Albert returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Cranbrook to take on the Kootenay Ice. Game time is 8 p.m.
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