Following a pair of hard-fought games on home ice over the last three days, the Prince Albert Raiders had a tough time getting anything going away from home Saturday.
A three-goal third period outburst by the Moose Jaw Warriors proved too much to overcome at Mosaic Place as the Raiders fell 4-2 to their East Division rivals.
“I’m not disappointed with how the guys played at all, especially as we’ve played a lot of hockey lately and every game that we play is a major deal for the other team,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said.
“We just came off a tough game against Red Deer to get to 50 wins and we pretty much have home ice advantage through the playoffs now. It was one of those nights where the guys tried to get things going but it just wasn’t working.”
Saturday’s contest was tied at one after the first period following goals by Justin Almeida and Dante Hannoun, but the Warriors would build a three-goal cushion in the final frame after Tristin Langan scored twice and Brayden Tracey lit the lamp to end Ian Scott’s night with 6:24 left on the clock.
“It was one of those games where nothing was happening for us,” Habscheid said. “The harder we tried out there, the worse it got.
“It just wasn’t meant to be for us tonight. You put a game like that behind you and you don’t even try to dissect it. We’ll probably burn the tape.”
Justin Nachbaur rounded out the scoring for the Raiders with 10.4 seconds to go as they saw their record drop to 50-9-2-2.
Aliaksei Protas led the way for the visitors with two helpers, while Scott made 25 saves before he was pulled.
Boston Bilous finished out the game and stopped the only shot he faced.
Almeida paced the offence for the 35-18-6-2 Warriors with a goal and three assists, while Langan reached the 100-point mark with two goals and an assist.
Tracey had a goal and an assist for the hosts, who received a 27-save performance from Brodan Salmond.
Needing just a point to win the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy and earn home ice advantage through the WHL playoffs, the Raiders will look to accomplish that feat Tuesday when they welcome the Swift Current Broncos to town for a 7 p.m. matchup.
They can also clinch the regular season title if the Vancouver Giants lose to the Kamloops Blazers in Langley on Sunday.
Clark Passes Away
A day after he was inducted into the Prince Albert Raiders Wall of Honour, former player, coach and general manager Donn Clark passed away Saturday at the age of 56 following a battle with cancer.
“Donn Clark was very well respected as a player in the Western Hockey League before later becoming the general manager of the Prince Albert Raiders,” WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said in a statement.
“Donn was a very passionate individual who worked hard to ensure small-market teams remained viable in the WHL.”
After playing three seasons in the league with the Saskatoon Blades, Nanaimo Islanders and the Raiders, Clark would move behind the bench as an assistant with the Tacoma Rockets from 1991-93.
He would then spend two years behind the bench for the Raiders from 1993-95 before a three year stint with the Blades from 1995-98.
Clark returned to the Raiders as a coach from 2000-02 and also served as the team’s general manager and director of hockey operations from 2001-08.
Despite their loss on Saturday, the Raiders took four out of six meetings with the Warriors this season and won the season series for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign.
Parker Kelly served the final game in his three-game suspension for a boarding major on Brandon’s Marcus Sekundiak last weekend, while Max Martin remained sidelined with an upper body injury.
The Warriors scratched defencemen Drae Gardiner and Matthew Benson, along with forwards Yegor Buyalski and Kale Clouston.
- Lethbridge 4 Regina 1 (Jake Elmer – One Goal and One Assist – Has Now Scored In 12 Straight Games)
- Edmonton 7 Brandon 1 (Parker Gavlas – Three Assists – Edmonton Clinches First Playoff Berth Since 2016)
- Calgary 5 Kootenay 2 (James Malm – Three Goals – Second Hat Trick This Season and Third Career)
- Medicine Hat 3 Swift Current 2 (Ryan Chyzowski Overtime Winner – One Goal and One Assist – Riley Lamb – 46 Saves)
- Vancouver 5 Kamloops 4 (Justin Sourdif – Three Assists)
- Spokane 5 Tri-City 4 (Jaret Anderson-Dolan Overtime Winner – One Goal and One Assist – Tri-City Clinches Third Straight Playoff Berth)
- Portland 2 Kelowna 1 (Jaydon Dureau Overtime Winner – Shane Farkas – 28 Saves)
- Victoria 5 Prince George 2 (Carson Miller – One Goal and Two Assists – Victoria Clinches Eighth Straight Playoff Berth)
- Everett 1 Seattle 0 (Bryce Kindopp Overtime Winner – Dustin Wolf – 32 Saves – Seventh Shutout This Season and 11th Career)
Tuesday marks the start of a three games in six days stretch between the Raiders and the Broncos, with a rematch taking place in Prince Albert Friday before a matchup in Swift Current next Sunday.
The Raiders hold a 4-1 advantage in the season series over the 10-45-4-2 Broncos, who have lost 14 straight games.
Prince Albert’s Alex Moar will not be in the Broncos lineup for the games as the rookie blueliner suffered a season ending injury on Feb. 18 against the Brandon Wheat Kings.
He had 16 points in 39 games for the Broncos after being traded by the Everett Silvertips earlier in the season.
Fellow Prince Albert product Ethan Reginer has 30 points in 61 games to sit in a tie with Connor Horning for the team’s scoring lead.
- Red Deer vs. Saskatoon – 2 p.m.
- Kootenay vs. Calgary – 5 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Vancouver – 6 p.m.
- Portland vs. Kelowna – 7 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Seattle – 7 p.m.
- Saskatoon vs. Moose Jaw – 7 p.m.
- Swift Current vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Kootenay – 8 p.m.
- Everett vs. Spokane – 9 p.m.