The Prince Albert Raiders were able to keep Jake Elmer from lighting the lamp for nearly 58 minutes at the Art Hauser Centre Wednesday night.
That’s when the hottest goal scorer in the Western Hockey League finally struck.
The Lethbridge Hurricanes overage forward tied the game with 2:17 to go to extend his goal scoring streak to 10 games and would then find the back of the net just 20 seconds into overtime to give his team a dramatic 5-4 victory.
“In all honesty, I’ve just been trying to keep things simple,” said Elmer, who is also on an 11-game point streak. “I’ve been sticking to the same routine and have tried to do my part in helping the team win.
“Everyone in the lineup has been doing their part here lately and that has led to our success. That mindset was huge for us tonight as we just stuck to what we do best, even when we fell behind.”
Elmer’s two goals came on completely different plays as he converted a feed from Dylan Cozens and would then race up the ice on a breakaway in the extra frame after Sean Montgomery lost the puck in the Hurricanes end.
“Dylan made an incredible pass into the slot and I was lucky enough to have time to get a shot on net to tie it up,” Elmer said.
“In the overtime, we were backing up and playing good defence, which allowed us to take advantage of a mistake on their part. I had a couple of options with Dylan alongside me, but I decided to take the shot on Ian (Scott) and it ended up going in.”
Although it was a tough ending to the Raiders three-game win streak, head coach Marc Habscheid was fairly pleased with how the team performed for most of the night.
“I thought it was a well played game and we were able to take a late lead after we had fallen behind a couple of times,” Habscheid said.
“We were able to shut them down for the most part, but we had a couple of turnovers late, which is something that shouldn’t happen when your playing playoff hockey.”
Cole Fonstad led the way for the 49-8-2-2 Raiders as the Montreal Canadiens draft pick had a goal and two assists.
“Both of our teams are pretty similar,” Fonstad said. “We have some good depth and a lot of speed up front, which made for a pretty fast game.
“We played quick tonight and I thought we played well for the most part, but we just made a couple of mistakes that cost us and we’ll need to work on that going forward.”
Kaiden Guhle and Spencer Moe had a goal and an assist each for the Raiders, while Brett Leason dished out a pair of helpers.
Justin Nachbaur had the other goal for the hosts, who received a 23 save performance from Ian Scott.
Elmer and Cozens had two goals and an assist each for the 33-18-5-5 Hurricanes, who are two points back of the Edmonton Oil Kings for first place in the Central Division ahead of a trip to Moose Jaw on Friday night.
Former Prince Albert Mintos forward Logan Barlage also scored for the visitors and goaltender Carl Tetachuk turned aside 25 shots.
The Raiders will conclude a five-game home stand Friday as they welcome the Red Deer Rebels to town for a 7 p.m. affair.
Elmer’s overtime heroics prevented the Hurricanes from being swept in the season series by the Raiders, who went 3-1 against their Central Division foes this year.
In addition to ending a three-game losing streak at the Art Hauser Centre, the Hurricanes also picked up their first extra time win over the Raiders since Georgio Estephan helped the team to a 3-2 triumph in Lethbridge on Jan. 16, 2016.
Cozens increased his point streak to nine games with his three-point night, while Nick Henry had an assist during the contest to record a point for the fifth straight game.
With defenceman Max Martin out of the lineup for a fourth straight game and forward Parker Kelly serving the first of a three-game suspension, 16-year-old forward Evan Herman made his debut for the Raiders after signing with the team on Tuesday.
The Hurricanes did not dress forwards Adam Hall and Scott Mahovlich, along with defenceman Rylan Thiessen.
- Calgary 9 Swift Current 3 (Carson Focht – Four Goals – First Career Hat Trick – James Malm – Three Goals – First Career Hat Trick)
- Red Deer 5 Regina 2 (Ethan Sakowich – Two Goals)
- Kamloops 2 Tri-City 1 (Orrin Centazzo – Two Goals)
- Spokane 7 Prince George 1 (Jaret Anderson-Dolan – Two Goals and Three Assists – Spokane Clinches Second Straight Playoff Berth)
Friday’s matchup is the final one of the season between the Raiders and the Rebels, with the East Division champions currently holding a 2-1 advantage in the season series.
After a 5-2 victory over the Regina Pats on Wednesday, the 31-24-4-1 Rebels are on a two-game win streak and are tied for fourth place in the Central Division with the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Both teams hold a two-point advantage over the Brandon Wheat Kings in the race for the two wild card spots in the Eastern Conference.
Rookie forward Dallon Mellin is the only injured player on the Rebels roster as he’s listed as day-to-day with a lower body aliment.
- Lethbridge vs. Moose Jaw – 7 p.m.
- Red Deer vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.
- Regina vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Calgary – 8 p.m.
- Swift Current vs. Kootenay – 8 p.m.
- Medicine Hat vs. Edmonton – 8 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Kamloops – 9 p.m.
- Spokane vs. Portland – 9 p.m.
- Prince George vs. Victoria – 9 p.m.
- Kelowna vs. Vancouver – 9:30 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Everett – 9:30 p.m.