The wear and tear from a busy stretch of games and a great performance by Red Deer Rebels netminder Ethan Anders were too much for the Prince Albert Raiders to overcome Saturday.
Despite some quality chances in the final minutes, including a one-timer attempt that Ozzy Wiesblatt just missed connecting on at the side of the net, the Raiders dropped a 3-2 decision to the Rebels on Saturday and suffered their first regulation loss at the Art Hauser Centre this season.
“It’s been a long few weeks here, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse,” Raiders forward Brayden Watts said. “There are others that might do that but we play like champions here.”
“I know my guys pretty well and they were pretty gassed tonight,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid added. “We had a couple of mistakes in the third and we just couldn’t come back from it. We were missing a step out there and we didn’t have enough snap in our legs.”
The Raiders were able to generate a number of scoring opportunities during the opening half of the contest, but they were stymied time and time again by Anders.
“Their goalie played really well tonight,” Watts said. “We were trying to get shots on him but we just didn’t have enough traffic, which is something I’m sure we are going to work on this week.”
“Ethan’s been a rock for us,” Rebels blueliner and captain Dawson Barteaux added. “Sometimes you need that veteran goalie to make a few more saves when you have a younger lineup and Ethan’s been awesome for us when we need him to step up.”
Two of the Rebels’ 17-year-old forwards connected on the game-winning goal as Jace Isley won a face-off in the Raiders end and fed the puck to Dallon Melin with 6:33 to go in the third period.
“I’m pretty lucky to be part of a team where we have so many young guys that have a lot of talent,” Barteaux said.
“Jace and Dallon came up huge for us there against one of the Raiders’ best lines. They’ve been buzzing as of late and hopefully they keep that going.”
Barteaux and Chris Douglas also scored for the 6-11-0-2 Rebels, who snapped a three-game losing streak on Saturday.
“A lot of our focus today was with our preparation, which is something that wasn’t there lately in our road trip through Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” Barteaux said.
“Prince Albert’s a great team again this year and we knew that we had to be dialed in. We came out strong here tonight and hopefully we can keep this going.”
Anders, who calls Pilot Butte home, made 31 saves for the visitors.
Watts had a goal and an assist to lead the way for the hosts on offence, with Aliaksei Protas also lighting the lamp and Carter Serhyenko turning aside 24 shots.
The 13-4-3-0 Raiders will take some time off before they gear up for their return to action next Saturday night against the Regina Pats at the Brandt Centre.
Meanwhile, the Art Hauser Centre will host the final game of the Canada Russia Series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday when Team WHL will go up against Russia.
The two sides will also square off in Saskatoon at the SaskTel Centre Wednesday.
Both of those contests will air nationally on Sportsnet.
The Raiders made an addition to their forward core late Saturday night as they acquired 18-year-old Michael Horon from the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for a seventh round pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.
“Michael has a lot of skill and is a speedy and crafty player,” Raiders general manager Curtis Hunt said in a statement. “Bringing him in provides us some depth in scoring. We’re excited to add Michael to our group.”
Horon, who calls Lethbridge home, was tied for fifth in scoring with the Thunderbirds at the time of the trade with eight points in 14 games.
He also led the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League in scoring last season with 61 points in 30 games for his hometown Midget Hurricanes.
Spencer Moe extended his point streak to seven games during the first period as he had an assist on Aliaksei Protas’ goal.
Ben King, who was in his second game for the Rebels after being picked up in a trade with the Swift Current Broncos earlier this week, earned his first point for his new club with an assist on a power-play goal by Dawson Barteaux.
The Rebels also brought an end to a four-game losing streak at the Art Hauser Centre Saturday, with their last triumph in Prince Albert coming in a 4-3 overtime affair on Jan. 30, 2018.
Nolan Allan and Daniil Stepanov did not dress for the Raiders, while the Rebels scratched Kyle Masters, Blake Gustafson and Jayden Grubbe.
- Edmonton 4 Calgary 2 (Josh Williams – Two Goals)
- Kamloops 7 Medicine Hat 3 (Zane Franklin – Two Goals and Two Assists)
- Tri-City 3 Lethbridge 2 (Talyn Boyko – 47 Saves)
- Moose Jaw 3 Swift Current 1 (Brayden Tracey – One Goal and One Assist)
- Portland 2 Vancouver 1 (Mason Mannek Shootout Winner – Joel Hofer – 30 Saves)
- Victoria 2 Prince George 1 (Shane Farkas – 15 Saves)
- Saskatoon 4 Brandon 2 (Majid Kaddoura – One Goal and One Assist)
- Everett 4 Seattle 2 (Michal Gut – Two Assists)
- Spokane 6 Kelowna 1 (Ty Smith – Three Assists)
- Winnipeg 5 Regina 4 (Michael Milne – Two Goals)
World Under-17 Hockey Challenge
Fedor Svechkov’s three-point night and a 32-save showing by Valerii Brinkman propelled Russia to their second straight gold medal and their fifth overall at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Saturday as they picked up a 6-2 win over the United States in Medicine Hat.
Earlier in the day, Martin Rysavy scored on a wrap-around with 14.4 seconds to go in overtime to give the Czech Republic a 3-2 triumph over Canada White in the bronze medal game.
Over in Swift Current, Prince Albert Raiders blueliner Nolan Allan has an assist for Canada Red in their 5-2 victory over Sweden in the fifth place game and Finland routed Canada Black 8-4 in the seventh place contest.
The 2020 edition of the tournament will be held in Charlottetown and Summerside, P.E.I. from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7.
- Winnipeg vs. Brandon – 2:30 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Edmonton – 3 p.m.
- Kelowna vs. Kamloops – 4 p.m.