The big guns for the Prince Albert Raiders were the key performers at the Art Hauser Centre Tuesday night.
Brett Leason scored a pair of goals and Ian Scott stopped all 24 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season as the Raiders improved to 13-1 and won their sixth straight game with a 3-0 triumph over the Everett Silvertips.
“It was a pretty close game and Everett tested us for the full 60 minutes,” Scott said.
“Once we got that first goal (from Leason during the second period) that really put the weight off of our shoulders and we started to fly out there a little bit more.”
After scoring eight goals in back-to-back contests, Tuesday’s affair saw chances being harder to come by for both teams.
“The game wasn’t a Picasso that’s for sure,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said. “I’ve coached against Everett a lot over the years and that’s how they play. They take away space, they are on you quick and you need to make the right plays and outwork them, otherwise it will be a long night.
“It wasn’t a wide open game by any means and we were prepared to win by a 1-0 score”
Leason prevented that one-goal margin by lighting the lamp for the second time with a third period snipe for his 13th goal of the season, while Justin Nachbaur rounded out the scoring with an empty netter.
At the other end of the ice, Scott stopped one more shot than he did on Oct. 8 in Calgary against the Hitmen on his way to his fifth career clean sheet.
“I think both games were similar but I just needed to make sure that I was staying mentally sharp out there, especially since I had only faced one shot in the first period,” Scott said.
“Everyone did their job out there tonight. We have some key guys out right now, but our younger players really stepped up and helped us out.”
With Max Martin serving the second of a three-game suspension and Sergei Sapego sidelined due to an illness, rookie Kaiden Guhle turned in his best performance of the season.
He helped to set up Leason’s second period power play marker and made a bevy of hits on Silvertip forwards throughout the night.
“With Sergei and ‘Marty’ both out, I knew that I had to try and fill their shoes as best as I could,” Guhle said.
“I wanted to bring some more intensity into my game tonight and I was able to make the hits when I had the chance to. I was also focussed on making sure that I wasn’t chasing them (Everett) around a whole lot and making the easy plays.”
Although the Silvertips weren’t able to solve Scott, netminder Dustin Wolf turned in a strong showing of his own Tuesday as he made 27 saves.
“I think going to the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August with the United States really helped Dustin out, as he’s been playing great for us since the season began,” Silvertips defenceman and assistant captain Jake Christiansen said.
“We could have done a better job of helping him out in the first period (when the Silvertips were outshot 10-1), but we were able to weather the storm and we showed that we could skate with Prince Albert and adjust to their speed over the last two periods.”
The defending Western Conference champions have a 7-5 record following Tuesday’s loss as they travel to face the Saskatoon Blades Wednesday.
Next up for the Raiders, who are now 7-0 at the Art Hauser Centre, is a trip to Moose Jaw Wednesday night to take on the Warriors at Mosaic Place.
They will return home Saturday for a meeting with the Regina Pats.
Allan makes WHL debut
It was shaping up to be a typical Monday for Nolan Allan until he got a phone call during science class.
“I was told I needed to come to Prince Albert and I was like ‘Okay,” Allan joked.
With the Raiders currently without the services of three blueliners, they called up the 15-year-old from Davidson for Tuesday’s contest as the third overall pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft lined up beside Konrad Belcourt for his regular season debut.
“I thought the game went well,” Allan said. “There were some nerves early on but that went away quickly after the first shift.”
“He’s only 15 but he’s got some real moxie to his game,” Habscheid added. “Nolan’s got a good presence about him. He doesn’t get rattled out there and he made good plays for us.”
Allan, who is expected to join the Raiders in Moose Jaw Wednesday, has six goals and five assists in 12 games this season for the Saskatoon Blazers of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
“I’ve been able to make adjustments as I’ve gotten used to playing against bigger and stronger guys in that league,” Allan said.
“It’s been a good start for us as a team but we know that we have a long journey ahead.”
The Blazers currently lead the SMAAAHL standings with a 10-1-1 record and are seven points ahead of the Swift Current Legionnaires and the Tisdale Trojans.
Defenceman Carson Lambos of the Kootenay Ice and forward Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers are the only other members of May’s draft class to play in the WHL this season.
Tuesday’s triumph for the Raiders ended a six-game losing streak against the Silvertips, with their last win coming in a 3-2 contest in Everett on Oct. 11, 2011.
Leason, who has recorded a point in the first 14 games of the campaign, now has the outright league lead in goals (13), assists (17), points (30) and plus/minus (23).
He’s also tied with Saskatoon’s Kirby Dach and Victoria’s Dante Hannoun for the most game winning goals so far this year with three.
His 17 assists matches his career high, which he set last season in 66 games with the Raiders and the Tri-City Americans.
With an assist on Leason’s second period power play marker, rookie Aliaksei Protas has now recorded points in nine straight games and has tied Stellio Mattheos (Brandon), Dawson Davidson (Saskatoon), Ty Smith (Spokane) and Kyle Topping (Kelowna) for the second longest point streak this season.
Davidson’s and Topping’s streaks are still active, while Dach is currently enjoying an eight-game scoring run.
Scott is the first goaltender in the WHL to record multiple shutouts this year and has stopped 133 of the last 138 shots he’s faced during his current five game win streak.
In addition to the aforementioned Martin and Sapego, defenceman Lane Kirk and forward Kody McDonald were not in the lineup for the Raiders, who welcomed back forward Spencer Moe to their lineup after he missed two games with an injury.
Prince Albert product Alex Moar made his third career WHL appearance Tuesday as the 17-year-old blueliner was in the Silvertips starting lineup for his return to his hometown rink.
Goaltender Blake Lyda, defenceman Ronan Seeley and forwards Connor Dewar, Peter Melcher, Conrad Mitchell and Bronson Sharp did not dress for the Silvertips.
- Lethbridge 2 Brandon 1 (Carl Tetachuk – 34 Saves)
- Red Deer 3 Calgary 1 (Alexander Alexeyev – Two Goals)
- Tri-City 5 Prince George 1 (Blake Stevenson – One Goal and One Assist)
- Kelowna 3 Swift Current 2 (Kaedan Korczak – Two Assist)
Around the WHL
Tuesday’s contest against the Broncos marked the debut of Adam Foote behind the Rockets bench as the former NHL blueliner was announced as the team’s new head coach a day after bench boss Jason Smith was fired.
Foote, who played in 1154 games for the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche and the Columbus Blue Jackets, had never served as a head coach prior to Tuesday’s announcement.
He was a development consultant with the Avalanche for four years before being the director of player development for Team Canada at last year’s Spengler Cup.
Spokane Chiefs defenceman Bobby Russell will not be in his team’s lineup Friday against the Portland Winterhawks as he will serve a one-game suspension for a cross checking major penalty and a game misconduct penalty he was given for a hit on Raiders forward Cohner Saleski last Saturday night.
Wednesday’s meeting in Moose Jaw is the second of the season between the provincial rivals, as the Raiders erased a late three-goal deficit to set up a Parker Kelly overtime winner and a 5-4 triumph at Mosaic Place on Sept. 29.
After a 3-2 road win over the Regina Pats Sunday, the Warriors have a 5-3-2-0 record to sit fourth in the East Division standings and have a two point cushion over the Calgary Hitmen for the second wild card spot.
Montreal Canadiens defensive prospect Josh Brook has recorded 11 points in his first seven games this year, but is listed as day-to-day with an illness according to the WHL’s weekly report.
Defenceman Brenden Kwiatkowski and forward Kale Clouston are both sidelined at the moment due to injuries, though Kwiatkowski is listed as day-to-day.
Twin brothers Kaeden and Keenan Taphorn are both expected to make their debuts for the Warriors Wednesday after being acquired in a trade with the Kootenay Ice Monday.
- Everett vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Kootenay – 7 p.m.
- Red Deer vs. Medicine Hat – 7 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Prince George – 8 p.m.