The Prince Albert Raiders are heading back to Canada with another win under their belts.
In the final contest of a season-high five-game road swing through the United States, The Raiders picked up their second win in as many nights on Saturday as they defeated the Spokane Chiefs in a 4-1 affair at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
“That was our best game by far on this road trip,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said.
“We had great energy and solid structure all night long. We played like a team tonight and it was awesome to see.”
The turning point of the contest came early in the third period as Aliaksei Protas and Ilya Usau both scored in a 19-second span to give the Raiders a three-goal cushion after the Chiefs outshot them in the middle stanza.
“You could tell that there was a lot of cohesion with the offence tonight and the guys wanted to do things right,” Habscheid said.
“We’re still a really young team here and they were able to work through a little bit of adversity in this one. They found a way to get through it and finish the game a positive note.”
Protas had a pair of goals for the 9-2-3-0 Raiders, who now have a three-point lead over the Saskatoon Blades in the East Division.
Landon Kosior also found the back of the net and Boston Bilous made 21 saves.
Bear Hughes had the lone marker for the 6-6-1-0 Chiefs, who have lost two straight games.
Campbell Arnold stopped 15 shots before he was pulled early in the third period after the Raiders made it a 4-1 game.
Brett Balas came in for the final 13 minutes for the Chiefs and stopped all seven shots he faced from his old team.
Thanks to Saturday’s triumph, the Raiders posted a 2-2-1 record against the US Division on their bi-annual trip through Washington and Oregon and are on a two-game win streak ahead of their return to the Art Hauser Centre next Friday against the Regina Pats.
“This is always a tough division to go up against,” Habscheid said.
“We’re off to a great start here and I don’t think anyone expected us to have this record, but our guys are getting better as the year goes along.”
Thanks to his two-goal showing, Aliaksei Protas has found the back of the net on nine occasions this year and is tied for third in the Western Hockey League with Ryan Chyzowski of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Riley Sawchuk of the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Brett Balas’ relief appearance marked his first in-game action for Spokane since he was acquired from Prince Albert in a trade on Oct. 15.
Braydon Clark and Evan Herman did not dress for the Raiders on Saturday, while the Chiefs scratched Jordan Chudley, Jake McGrew, Reed Jacobson, Raegan Wiles and Lukas Parik.
- Edmonton 6 Seattle 2 (Dylan Guenther – Three Goals – First Career Hat Trick)
- Medicine Hat 3 Lethbridge 2 (Ryan Chyzowski Shootout Winner – Brett Kemp – Two Assists)
- Brandon 5 Swift Current 1 (Luka Burzan – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Tri-City 5 Prince George 2 (Talyn Boyko – 39 Saves)
- Victoria 2 Kamloops 1 (Shane Farkas – 34 Saves)
Manitoba and Saskatchewan will square off in the gold medal game of the WHL Cup Sunday after they each had upset wins during Saturday’s semifinals in Calgary.
Saskatchewan, which features Prince Albert Raiders defensive prospect Tre Fouquette, got a hat trick performance from Victoria Royals prospect Carter Dereniwsky in a 5-3 win over an Alberta team that has Raiders draft pick Graydon Gottas on their blueline.
Manitoba, who have Raiders draft pick Bryce Warkentine in their forward core, received a pair of goals from Red Deer Rebels prospect Carter Anderson in a 5-4 thriller against a British Columbia side that includes Raiders forward prospect Niall Crocker.
- Calgary vs. Regina – 2 p.m. (Played at Mosaic Stadium)
- Moose Jaw vs. Saskatoon – 2 p.m.
- Prince George vs. Vancouver – 5 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Calgary – 6 p.m.