Brett Leason’s remarkable start to the 2018-19 Western Hockey League season now includes a career first.
The 19-year-old from Calgary scored three goals Tuesday night at the Art Hauser Centre to send the hats flying to the ice for the first time in his career as the Prince Albert Raiders improved their league-best record to 21-1 with a 5-1 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
“It feels pretty good,” said Leason, who had seven career two-goal games prior to lighting the lamp three times Tuesday.
“This is something I’ve been striving to achieve for awhile now. I’ve been held back a few times (from scoring three goals) so it feels great to finally get that hat trick.”
Leason opened up the scoring 4:30 into the first period to extend his point streak to 22 straight games, fired a home shorthanded marker near the midway point of the third and completed his three-goal night with 8:25 left in regulation.
For the second game in a row, Ottawa Senators prospect Parker Kelly joined Leason and Sean Montgomery on a line and ended up recording three assists during the contest, as the Raiders won their 14th straight game.
“Brett’s a pretty fun guy to play with,” Kelly said. “He creates a lot of space out there and he tends to bury every puck that I pass to him.
“I’ve been with ‘Monty’ since I was 16. He doesn’t say a lot, but when he does speak everyone listens. He’s been great to me since I came into the league and he’s a brother I’ll have forever.”
Although he was held off the scoresheet Tuesday, Montgomery was honoured prior to the game as he suited up for the 300th time as a member of the Raiders.
Captain Brayden Pachal had a strong showing with a goal and two assists, but his night ended late in the third period with a five minute major and a game misconduct for interference after a hit on Hurricanes captain Jordy Bellerive.
“Him and (Zack) Hayes get matched against the other team’s top players and they make things pretty difficult for them,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said.
“I didn’t see the hit as I was looking away from the play, but from what I understand we don’t think it’s a suspendible hit. We’ll see what happens though.”
Kody McDonald had a shorthanded marker, the 14th of the year for the Raiders, to round out the scoring.
Ian Scott, who received the Canadian Hockey League’s goaltender of the week award prior to the game, made 29 saves to help the Raiders improve their home record to 13-0.
His only blemish of the night came on a bizarre play in the opening minute of the second frame, as Taylor Ross’ rebound attempt bounced off the side of the net, went off the back of Scott’s right pad and slid across the goal line.
Reece Klassen turned aside 33 shots for the 9-8-2-2 Hurricanes, who have lost two straight games ahead of a road matchup with the Saskatoon Blades Wednesday.
The Raiders are now gearing up for a season-long seven game road trip, which begins in Medicine Hat Friday against the Tigers.
Leason is the second Raider to score three goals in a game this year, as Carson Miller notched his first career hat trick in a 7-2 win during the season opener on Sept. 21 against the Regina Pats.
This was the second hat trick that the Hurricanes have allowed this season as Brandon Wheat Kings forward Luka Burzan scored five times in a 8-4 game on Sept. 29.
The last Raiders to scored three goals in a game against the Hurricanes was Dakota Conroy in an 8-2 win on Nov. 23, 2013.
Leason’s 22-game point streak matches Evander Kane’s run to start the 2008-09 campaign with the Vancouver Giants.
The longest run to open up the campaign in the league’s Internet Era was a 23-game streak set by Jeremy Reich of the Swift Current Broncos in 1999-00.
Leason had regained the WHL points lead with 47 (one ahead of Edmonton’s Trey Fix-Wolansky) and once again has the most goals in the league with 22 (two ahead of Portland’s Joachim Blichfeld).
Raiders overage forward Noah Gregor saw his six-game point streak end Tuesday, while Hurricanes forward Taylor Ross increased his points streak to 10 games with his second period goal.
Defenceman Lane Kirk and forward Ozzy Wiesblatt did not dress for the Raiders, while the Hurricanes scratched blueliner Alex Cotton and forward Adam Hall.
Around the CHL
A blockbuster trade took place in the Ontario Hockey League Tuesday between the Niagara IceDogs and the Kingston Frontenacs.
The Frontenacs dealt signed Dallas Stars prospect Jason Robertson and Nashville Predators prospect Jacob Paquette to the IceDogs for two players (2019 NHL Draft prospect Billy Constantinou and Ian Martin) and 11 draft picks.
Robertson, a 19-year-old American forward, is the key piece in the trade as he’s scored 23 goals and recorded 15 assists in 24 games for a Frontenacs side (7-16-1-0) that has the second worst record in the OHL.
- Regina 3 Kamloops 2 (Nick Henry – One Goal and One Assist)
- Everett 4 Calgary 0 (Dustin Wolf – 26 Saves – Second Shutout of the Season and Fourth of his Career)
- Edmonton vs. Brandon – 7 p.m.
- Lethbridge vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
- Calgary vs. Portland – 9 p.m.
- Regina vs. Kelowna – 9 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Seattle – 9 p.m.