The Prince Albert Raiders brought a halt to a three-game losing streak in dramatic fashion in Kennewick, Wash. Friday night.
Aliaksei Protas tied things up with 54.8 seconds to go and Ilya Usau had the lone goal in a shootout as the Raiders improved to 8-2-3-0 in a 3-2 affair with the Tri-City Americans.
“We were resilient tonight,” Raiders assistant coach Jeff Truitt said on the 900 CKBI post-game show. “I thought we had a good first period and had a lot of shots on net, which is what we wanted to do here tonight.
“We had to kill some penalties in the second and the momentum swung in their favour, but we were a lot better in the third. It ended up taking a shootout to win this one, but you’ll take the two points in any way that you can on the road.”
Despite dominating the Americans in shots in the final frame, which saw Landon Kosior and Brayden Watts both hit the goal post, the Raiders were down by a goal entering the last minute of regulation after Sasha Mutala had moved the hosts out in front with 6:51 to go.
With an extra attacker out on the ice, the Raiders’ top line took advantage as Watts fed the puck out in front to Protas and the Washington Capitals prospect beat Beck Warm for his seventh goal of the campaign.
“We had the puck in their end for the majority of the third so there was no panic from the guys when Tri-City took the lead,” Truitt said. “The veterans on our team have been in these situations before and they stood up when they needed to.”
After a five-minute overtime period, where the Raiders killed off a two-minute hooking penalty that Watts took for hauling down Samuel Huo, Usau gave his team the lead in the second round of the skills competition by sliding a shot through the five-hole of Warm.
Connor Bouchard then made a nifty move on Boston Bilous in an attempt to keep his team alive in the shootout, but his attempt went wide of the net.
Bilous made 25 saves for the visitors, while Tyson Laventure lit the lamp for the second time in as many games.
Mutala had a goal and an assist for the 6-5-0-1 Americans, who have lost two straight contests and will host the Prince George Cougars Saturday night.
Kyle Olson also scored for the hosts, who received a 45-save showing from Warm.
The Raiders will wrap up their five-game trip through the United States at 8 p.m. Saturday when they’ll go up against the Spokane Chiefs.
Friday’s win brought an end to six-game losing streak that the Raiders had in the United States, as their last road triumph over a US Division side came in a 6-4 contest with the Seattle Thunderbirds on Nov. 14, 2017.
Americans forward Tyson Greenway recorded the first point of his WHL career in the third period as he had an assist on a goal by Sasha Mutala.
The Raiders did not dress Brayden Clark and Daniil Stepanov on Friday, while the Americans scratched Mason Dunsford, Jarod Newell, Tom Cadieux, Parker Bell, Landon Roberts and former Prince Albert forward Nikita Krivokrasov.
- Edmonton 4 Medicine Hat 2 (Josh Williams – Three Assists)
- Lethbridge 5 Brandon 2 (Jett Jones – One Goal and One Assist)
- Calgary 4 Moose Jaw 2 (Jett Woo – Two Assists)
- Seattle 5 Red Deer 4 (Simon Kubicek Shootout Winner – Matthew Wedman – Three Assists)
- Saskatoon 8 Winnipeg 3 (Chase Wouters – Three Goals – First Career Hat Trick)
- Portland 6 Spokane 3 (Jake Gricius – Two Goals and Three Assists)
- Everett 3 Vancouver 2 (Dustin Wolf – 34 Saves)
- Kamloops 2 Victoria 1 (Ryan Hughes – One Goal and One Assist)
The semifinals are set at the 2019 WHL Cup in Calgary after round-robin play concluded Friday.
British Columbia (2-1) will face Manitoba (1-2) at 1 p.m. Saturday, while the second game will feature Alberta (3-0) and Saskatchewan (0-3) at 4:30 p.m.
Niall Crocker, who was the Raiders first round choice in May, has two goals so far for British Columbia, while draft pick Bryce Warkentine has lit the lamp once for Manitoba.
Defensive prospects Graydon Gottas (Alberta) and Tre Fouquette (Saskatchewan) have yet to record a point at the tournament, which wraps up Sunday.
Following a 6-3 home loss to the Portland Winterhawks on Friday, the 6-5-1 Chiefs find themselves in a tie for third place in the US Division with the Tri-City Americans.
Saskatoon product and Minnesota Wild draft pick Adam Beckman is showing no signs of a sophomore slump for the Chiefs as he’s second in the entire league in assists (15) and points (20).
Former Raiders netminder Brett Balas is currently on the Chiefs roster but yet has to make an appearance with the club.
Forward Jake McGrew and goaltender Lukas Parik are both unable to suit up for Spokane at the moment due to injuries.
- Seattle vs. Edmonton – 7 p.m.
- Medicine Hat vs. Lethbridge – 7 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Swift Current – 7 p.m.
- Prince George vs. Tri-City – 8 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Victoria – 8 p.m.