After not scoring in the first seven games of the season, Spencer Moe flung the monkey off of his back in a big way Friday night.
The Prince Albert Raiders forward potted home two goals, including the game-winner with 4:51 to go in the third period, as he helped his team pick up a 4-2 triumph over the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Art Hauser Centre.
“It was a pretty big relief to get those goals as I could feel the stress starting to build up inside me,” Moe said. “I feel like I’m back on track to how I wanted to start this season.”
“Spencer had been a little snake-bitten lately so I was happy to see him score tonight,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid added. “He’ll be skating a little lighter tomorrow that’s for sure.”
Moe’s second goal of the night came just 48 seconds after Koltetrane Wilson had tied the game up for the visitors.
“We were just doing a normal neutral-zone transition,” Moe said. “I cut up to the middle and gave it to Cole (Fonstad) and I was able to beat the guys that were checking me as I went up the ice.
“Cole made a great pass to me in the middle and I just happened to find the back of the net.”
Not only did the Raiders pick up their third straight win and improve to 6-0-2-0 in the process, but they also became the first team in the Western Hockey League to keep Hurricanes forward and Buffalo Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens from recording a point this season.
“He’s a good player,” Habscheid said of Cozens, who had nine points in four games heading into Friday’s contest. “He’s strong on the puck and he has a great shot.
“We got two big oak trees back there on defence (Zack Hayes and Jeremy Masella) which helps out a lot, and then Boston (Bilous) made some big saves when Cozens was able to get some chances.”
Fonstad dished out three helpers for the hosts, while Ilya Usau had a goal and an assist.
Hayes also found the back of the net in the triumph, which saw Bilous turn aside 32 shots.
Ty Nash scored his first career WHL goal for the 3-3-0-1 Hurricanes, who received a 21-save performance from rookie netminder Bryan Thomson.
“Bryan’s a big guy and he controls the puck really well,” Hurricanes forward D-Jay Jerome said. “He’s been off to a great start for us.
“I thought both teams came out pretty hard tonight, but the game slowly went their way after the first period. The ice was definitely tilted in their favour in this one.”
The Raiders will conclude a six-game homestand Saturday when they host the Moose Jaw Warriors at 7 p.m.
They will then embark on a five-game road trip through the US Division before returning home for a Friday, Nov. 1 meeting with the Regina Pats.
Friday marked the first time that D-Jay Jerome was back at the Art Hauser Centre since he was traded by the Prince Albert Raiders to the Victoria Royals for blueliner Jeremy Masella on Jan. 4, 2018.
“It was pretty cool to be back here and to be on the other side of the bench as a visitor,” Jerome said.
“I had a little bit extra energy out there tonight and it would have been nice to come away with a win, but it just didn’t go our way.”
Jerome, who had nine points in 63 games for the Raiders after being acquired from the Red Deer Rebels in exchange for Austin Glover in Dec. 2016, put up a career high 42 points in 68 games for the Royals last season.
The 19-year-old Lethbridge product was dealt to his hometown team during the summer and has four points in seven games this year.
Moe, who last scored a goal in an 8-0 home win over the Swift Current Broncos on March 8, previously had a multi-goal night in his rookie campaign as he lit the lamp twice and dished out a helper in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors on Dec. 10, 2016.
Raiders forwards Ozzy Wiesblatt and Brayden Watts were both held off the scoresheet on Friday, which brought an end to their five-game point streaks.
Off the ice, the Raiders announced on Thursday that they had reassigned 18-year-old netminder Brett Balas to the Drumheller Dragons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
A third round pick by the Raiders in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft, Balas made three appearances for the club last season but was beat out by Carter Serhyenko for the backup job behind Boston Bilous.
Braydon Clark and Evan Herman did not dress for the Raiders, while the Hurricanes scratched Joe Arntsen and Nick Dorrington.
- Saskatoon 2 Brandon 1 (Nolan Maier – 36 Saves)
- Kamloops 3 Everett 1 (Dylan Garand – 33 Saves)
- Medicine Hat 5 Winnipeg 2 (Tyler Preziuso – Two Goals)
- Vancouver 4 Moose Jaw 1 (Justin Sourdif – One Goal and One Assist)
- Portland 5 Red Deer 0 (Seth Jarvis – One Goal and Two Assists – Joel Hofer – 16 Saves – Fifth Career Shutout)
- Kelowna 8 Seattle 3 (Kyle Topping – Four Assists)
- Prince George 3 Spokane 1 (Taylor Gauthier – 44 Saves)
- Tri-City 4 Victoria 3 (Kyle Olson Overtime Winner – Two Goals)
- Moose Jaw 4 Edmonton 3 (Jadon Joseph Overtime Winner – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Saskatoon 2 Vancouver 1 (Nolan Kneen – One Goal and One Assist)
- Portland 8 Swift Current 2 (Reece Newkirk – One Goal and Three Assists)
- Everett 3 Victoria 2 (Dustin Wolf – 31 Saves)
Saturday will make the first meeting of the campaign between the Raiders and the Warriors, with Prince Albert holding a 4-2 advantage in the season series last year.
The Warriors, who are third in the East Division with a 5-2 mark, made some big news Friday by adding Olivia Howe to their coaching staff.
Howe, who is believed to be the first female coach in WHL history, won an Esso Cup with the Notre Dame Hounds in 2011 and a NCAA title with the Clarkson Golden Knights in 2014 before starting her coaching career in 2016.
On the health front, blueliner Cole Jordan is day-to-day with an upper body injury and goaltender Adam Evanoff is week-to-week after undergoing hip surgery in the off-season.
- Calgary vs. Edmonton – 7 p.m.
- Moose Jaw vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.
- Lethbridge vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Regina – 7 p.m.
- Winnipeg vs. Swift Current – 7 p.m.
- Red Deer vs. Medicine Hat – 7:30 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Everett – 8 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Kelowna – 8 p.m.
- Victoria vs. Spokane – 8 p.m.
- Prince George vs. Tri-City – 8 p.m.