Raiders blank Hitmen to wrap up road swing

Photo Courtesy of Robert Murray/WHL Calgary product Brett Leason has a three-point afternoon in his hometown as the Prince Albert Raiders picked up a 4-0 win over the Calgary Hitmen on Oct. 8, 2018.

On four occasions this season, Ian Scott’s chances of a shutout came to an end when the opposition scored in the third period.

The Prince Albert Raiders made sure that didn’t happen again in his hometown Monday.

With a 23-save performance, Scott picked up the fourth clean sheet of his Western Hockey League career as the Raiders improved to 8-1 with a 4-0 win over the winless Calgary Hitmen.

“We played a complete game from the goaltender out today,” Raiders coach Marc Habscheid said. “It wasn’t a perfect performance, but we played fast and I felt like we controlled things from start to finish.”

Scott’s Thanksgiving Day performance at the Scotiabank Saddledome marked the first time that he had stymied a team that wasn’t the Kootenay Ice.

The last shutout for any Raiders netminder was by the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect in an 8-0 win over the Ice on March 4, 2017.

“I think he was the most upset player on our team about how things went Saturday (in a 4-3 loss) against Red Deer,” Habscheid said.

“You could tell that he wasn’t happy and that he wanted a chance to bounce back. He rebounded well today and was excellent in net.”

Calgary product Brett Leason led the way on offence with two goals and an assist, as he moved into a tie with Portland’s Joachim Blichfeld for the WHL scoring lead with 17 points.

“He’s been good right from the first day of training camp, but he’s also been a little snakebitten at times,” Habscheid said. “If he had any luck today, he could have had five goals.”

Parker Kelly and Aliaksei Protas also found the back of the net in the triumph.

Carl Stankowski got the start in between the pipes for the Hitmen but was pulled just past the midway point of the second period after allowing four goals on 19 shots.

Rookie Jack McNaughton finished out the contest and made 12 saves in his WHL debut.

After picking up three wins on their four game swing through Alberta, the Raiders will return to the Art Hauser Centre Saturday at 7 p.m. to take on the Red Deer Rebels.

“We have some great leadership in the room and they did a great job of putting our loss to the Rebels behind us ahead of our game with the Hitmen,” Habscheid said.

“It was a total team effort to finish off the road trip and the character of this bunch is something you like to see as a coach.”

Post-Game Notes

The last time that the Raiders shutout the Hitmen was on Feb. 2, 2013, when Luke Siemens made 40 saves in a 2-0 victory.

Calgary was last held off the scoresheet in a 4-0 loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers on Feb. 9, which saw Michael Bullion stop all 16 shots he faced.

Although Sergei Sapego’s eight-game point streak came to an end Monday, Leason now has a team and league best nine-game point streak in progress after he was given an assist on Sapego’s power play goal in a 5-4 overtime win over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Sept. 29.

That run matches Seth Leonard’s start to the 2003-04 campaign for the longest point streak by a Raiders player to open a season since 1996-97, which is as far back as such stats go on the WHL’s website.

Milan Kraft had a 12-game point streak to start the 1999-00 campaign, while Simon Stransky had points in the first 10 contests of the 2015-16 season.

The Hitmen, who are mired in their worst start in team history at 0-5-1, join the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds (0-6) and the Swift Current Broncos (0-6) as the only clubs in the Canadian Hockey League without a win.

Forwards Jakob Brook and Eric Pearce did not dress for the Raiders Monday, in addition to blueliner Lane Kirk.

Hitmen forwards Tristen Nielsen, Bryce Bader and Tye Carriere weren’t in the lineup, along with defenceman Devan Klassen.

Monday’s Scores

  • Kootenay 5 Medicine Hat 0 (Duncan McGovern – 45 Save Shutout – Third Shutout of his Career)

WHL Transactions

Prior to their meeting with Medicine Hat, the Kootenay Ice traded blueliner Loeden Schaufler, a ninth round pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft and conditional compensation to the Seattle Thunderbirds for the rights to forward Eric Fawkes.

Schaufler, an 18-year-old from DeWinton, Alta., had played just once for the Ice this season.

A third round pick in the 2015 WHL Bantam Draft, the former Notre Dame Hounds player had six assists in 37 games for the team over the last three years.

Fawkes, a 17-year-old from Winnipeg, was a second round pick by the Thunderbirds in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft but never signed a contract with the club.

After putting up 115 points in 87 games for the Winnipeg Wild in the midget ranks over the last two seasons, he’s made the jump to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League this year and has three assists in eight games with the Winkler Flyers.

Tuesday’s Schedule

  • Edmonton vs. Tri-City – 8 p.m.

Wednesday’s Schedule

  • Regina vs. Lethbridge – 7 p.m.
  • Edmonton vs. Portland – 8 p.m.
  • Seattle vs. Kelowna – 8 p.m.