Ian Scott and his Prince Albert Raiders teammates certainly don’t believe in the shutout jinx.
While others may be nervous about putting a hex on their netminder’s attempt at a clean sheet, that certainly hasn’t been the case for the top team in the Western Hockey League during the 2018-19 season.
“There were a few instances early in the year where we’d be close to getting a shutout but the other team would score late,” Scott said.
“I think we were in Calgary for a game in October and I got Parker (Kelly) to talk about the shutout in the dressing room. It ended up working that night and we just stuck with that approach for the rest of the year.”
After tying Rejean Beauchemin (2003-04) and Luke Siemens (2012-13) for the single-season record Tuesday, the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect took sole possession of the mark with his seventh clean sheet of the season Friday as he stopped all 14 shots he faced in an 8-0 win over the Swift Current Broncos.
“It’s an incredible accomplishment and I have to give a lot of thanks to my teammates as they were able to shut things down in front of me the last two nights,” Scott said.
“It’s pretty crazy to think about much I’ve grown as a player since I came to Prince Albert a few years ago. My play hasn’t been the strongest the last couple of years, but I’ve been able to work on a lot of things personally and that’s really helped to improve the way that I’ve played this season.”
Among the first to greet Scott after the game was Raiders captain Brayden Pachal, who has been on the blueline to help out his netminder since he was traded by the Victoria Royals in January 2017.
“Ian’s been our backbone all year long and it felt like it was a matter of time before he would set the record,” Pachal said.
“Our defensive game is something that we’ve been committed to all season. Defence is what wins championships and we need to keep up those performances if we want to go far.”
Friday’s victory, which was the third straight for the 52-9-2-2 Raiders, was a dominant showing from start to finish as they scored four times in the opening period and never looked back.
“Obviously Swift Current’s in a rebuild and it’s a difficult time of the year for them as they finish things off, so it was a bit of a tough game in that aspect,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid.
“With that said, I thought our structure was really good tonight. Our tempo was good and we did a lot of the little things right as we get ready for the playoffs.”
Cole Fonstad led the way for the hosts with a goal and two assists, while Parker Kelly and Brett Leason both scored twice.
Spencer Moe, Noah Gregor and Pachal had a goal and an assist each in the triumph.
Isaac Poulter made 40 saves for the 10-47-4-2 Broncos, who are mired in a 16-game losing streak ahead of a trip to Saskatoon Saturday.
The Raiders will conclude their three games in six days series with the Broncos in Swift Current Sunday before they wrap up the regular season slate with a home-and-home set against the Saskatoon Blades.
The East Division rivals will square off at the SaskTel Centre next Friday before coming to the Art Hauser Centre for Fan Appreciation Night the following evening.
Barring something unforeseen over the final three games of the regular season, Scott will also set the single-season records for the best goals against average (1.86) and save percentage (.932) by a Raiders netminder.
Beauchemin posted a 2.32 mark during the 2003-04 season, while Siemens had a .912 save percentage during the 2012-13 campaign.
Due to their losing streak, the Broncos are now just one regulation loss away from finishing at the bottom of the WHL standings, which would give them the best chance of earning the first overall pick and the chance to select hyped prospect Matthew Savoie in May’s bantam draft.
However, the Prince George Cougars own the rights to the Broncos first rounder after Swift Current acquired blueliner Josh Anderson last January on their run to the league title.
Loeden Schaufler was the lone scratch for the Raiders, while the Broncos did not dress Alex Moar, Devin Aubin, Roope Pynnonen and Owen Blocker.
- Moose Jaw 3 Regina 1 (Josh Brook – Two Assists – Moose Jaw clinches fourth straight playoff berth and will play Saskatoon in the first round)
- Lethbridge 5 Medicine Hat 1 (Jordy Bellerive – One Goal and One Assist)
- Red Deer 5 Brandon 3 (Oleg Zaytsev – One Goal and One Assist)
- Edmonton 5 Calgary 1 (Trey Fix-Wolansky – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Kamloops 2 Kelowna 1 (Orrin Centazzo Shootout Winner – Dylan Garand – 26 Saves)
- Portland 3 Prince George 2 (Joachim Blichfeld – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Seattle 2 Victoria 1 (Noah Philp – Two Goals)
- Spokane 4 Vancouver 1 (Jake McGrew – Two Goals)
- Everett 3 Tri-City 0 (Max Palaga and Dustin Wolf – Combined 26 Save Shutout)
- Lethbridge 4 Brandon 1 (Jake Leschyshyn – Two Goals – Lethbridge clinches fourth straight playoff berth)
- Calgary 6 Medicine Hat 5 (Vladislav Yeryomenko Overtime Winner – Carson Focht – Three Goals and Two Assists – Third Hat Trick This Season – Calgary clinches first playoff berth since 2017)
- Vancouver 5 Kamloops 0 (Milos Roman – Three Assists – Trent Miner – 16 Saves – Third Shutout This Season)
- Tri-City 6 Victoria 3 (Riley Sawchuk – Two Goals and One Assist)
Eastern Conference Wild Card Race
- Red Deer – 70 points (Five Games Left – Kootenay, Edmonton, at Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and at Kootenay)
- Medicine Hat – 70 points (Four Games Left – Brandon, Red Deer, at Kootenay and Lethbridge)
- Brandon – 68 points (Four Games Left – at Medicine Hat, Moose Jaw, at Regina and Regina)
Around the CHL
The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies saw their 25-game win streak come to an end on Friday night as the top ranked team in the CHL dropped a 3-1 road contest to the Drummondville Voltigeurs.
The Huskies were looking to pass the 1973-74 Sorel Epeviers and the 1983-84 Kitchener Rangers for the longest run of form in CHL history.
Meanwhile, the Ontario Hockey Federation announced on Friday that 15-year-old forward Shane Wright has been granted exceptional status to enter the Ontario Hockey League a year early.
Wright, who joins John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day and Joseph Veleno as players to receive exceptional status from Hockey Canada, had 150 points in 72 games for the Don Mills Minor Midget Flyers this season and had 12 points in six games for Ontario at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer last month.
The Kingston Frontenacs and the Flint Firebirds are currently battling it out for the rights to the first overall pick in the OHL Draft, which will take place in April.
Meanwhile, the Dub Network reported on Friday night that forward prospect Matthew Savoie had not been granted exceptional status to join the WHL a year early.
Savoie, who is considered the top prospect for May’s Bantam Draft, had 71 points in 31 games for the Northern Alberta Xtreme prep program this year and has 13 points in six games for Alberta at the Canada Winter Games.
- Regina vs. Moose Jaw – 7 p.m.
- Swift Current vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
- Calgary vs. Lethbridge – 8 p.m.
- Kootenay vs. Red Deer – 8 p.m.
- Everett vs. Seattle – 8 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Medicine Hat – 8:30 p.m.
- Portland vs. Prince George – 9 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Kelowna – 9 p.m.
- Victoria vs. Spokane – 9 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Tri-City – 9 p.m.
- Prince Albert vs. Swift Current – 4 p.m.
- Moose Jaw vs. Saskatoon – 4 p.m.
- Kootenay vs. Edmonton – 4 p.m.