Tuesday’s contest at Art Hauser Centre was anything but your typical Western Hockey League affair.
The Prince Albert Raiders gave up three goals in the third period but clawed their way back with markers from Ilya Usau and Justin Nachbaur in the final few minutes to force overtime.
However, the visiting Red Deer Rebels would have the last word as Arshdeep Bains found the back of the net with 2:15 left in the extra frame as the visitors came away with a 6-5 triumph.
“Six goals (allowed) on 24 shots isn’t going to cut it,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said.
“We were okay in the first period and we were really good in the second period, but I didn’t like how we played in the first five minutes of the third period. Those two goals that made it 5-3 weren’t very good. We battled back to tie it and they got it in overtime, but five goals is enough to win.”
It was a tough outing for netminder Keegan Karki in his first home start for the Raiders after being acquired from the Everett Silvertips last Friday.
After stopping 25 shots in Sunday’s 5-3 road win over the Winnipeg Ice, the 19-year-old allowed a season high six goals on Tuesday, including a couple from wide angles in the third period.
“It just seemed like the pucks that were in front of him either bounced off something or just sat in front of the net,” Habscheid said. “It’s just got to be better.”
Bains, who is the leading scorer for the Rebels this season, settled the contest with his second goal of the night on a power move to the net.
“I came right off the bench and there was a lot of offence prior to that,” said Bains, who also had an assist in the affair. “Their defence was probably a little flat-footed and tired, so I was able to burn them out wide and came in for a scoring chance.
“There were a lot of ups and downs in this game and it probably wasn’t a consistent one for either team, but we got the two points and that’s all that matters.”
Ben King put together the best night of his WHL career on Tuesday as he led the Rebels on offence with a four-assist performance.
Chris Douglas and Ethan Sakowich had a goal and an assist each in the triumph, while Dawson Barteaux dished out a pair of helpers.
Christoffer Sedoff and Josh Tarzwell also scored for the 14-20-1-3 Rebels, who received a 30-save performance from Ethan Anders.
Nachbaur had a strong showing for the 21-15-4-1 Raiders as he scored the game-tying goal with 3:25 left in the third period and also helped set up two other markers for his team.
“I’m just trying to do my job out there, which is going to the net and forechecking hard,” Nachbaur said. “That’s what I need to be doing on a regular basis to have a chance to stay up there (on a line with Spencer Moe and Aliaksei Protas) going forward.
“I thought we had a good first two periods but we need to have a better start in the third period. That goes for everyone in the room…it’s not over until it’s over.”
Evan Herman, Jeremy Masella and Moe also scored for the hosts, who got a two-assist showing from blueliner Landon Kosior.
The Raiders, who are now just one point behind the Winnipeg Ice for first place in the East Division, will be back action on Friday at 7 p.m. for their lone meeting of the season with the Prince George Cougars.
They will wrap up their three-game homestand on Saturday against the league-leading Edmonton Oil Kings.
The Raiders have dropped their last four games at the Art Hauser Centre, which is their longest losing skid on home ice since a seven-game slide that lasted from Dec. 30, 2016 until Jan. 28, 2017.
Justin Nachbaur’s three-point night was the third of his WHL career as he had two goals and an assist each in a 5-3 road triumph over the Kootenay Ice on Nov. 10, 2017 and in an 8-2 romp over the host Lethbridge Hurricanes on Feb. 21, 2018.
The Rebels, who are seven points back of the Saskatoon Blades for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, hold a 2-1 advantage in the season series over the Raiders ahead of their last regular season matchup in Red Deer on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Michael Horon and Tyson Laventure did not dress for the Raiders, while the Rebels scratched Kyle Masters and Blake Gustafson.
Around the WHL
A day after he was waived by the Lethbridge Hurricanes after they acquired overage forward Brett Davis from the Red Deer Rebels, D-Jay Jerome’s rights were claimed by the Swift Current Broncos according to the WHL’s weekly report.
Jerome, who played in 63 games for the Raiders from 2016 to 2018, had 28 points in 40 games for the Hurricanes after he was acquired from the Victoria Royals during the off-season.
- Brandon 4 Medicine Hat 3 (Ridly Greig – Two Goals)
- Portland 5 Spokane 3 (Seth Jarvis – One Goal and Three Assists)
Around the CHL
After almost a month with no major transactions, two NHL draft picks were dealt in separate deals in the Ontario Hockey League Tuesday.
The first move took place in the afternoon as the Flint Firebirds acquired 19-year-old blueliner Tyler Tucker and 17-year-old forward Riley Piercey from the Barrie Colts for 17-year-old forward Evan Vierling and two draft picks.
Tucker, who was a seventh round pick by the St. Louis Blues in the 2018 NHL Draft, led all blueliners on the Colts in scoring with 29 points in 28 games.
Piercey has 13 points in 35 games this season and is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft.
Vierling, who was the second overall pick behind Quinton Byfield in the 2018 OHL Draft, has 10 points in 15 games in his sophomore campaign and is also eligible to be selected at the NHL Draft in June.
The second move occurred in the evening as the Sarnia Sting dealt 19-year-old goaltender Jordan Kooy to the Oshawa Generals for three draft picks.
Kooy, who was a seventh round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 NHL Draft, had split time with Joseph Raaymakers over the previous two campaigns with the London Knights but was dealt to the Sting in October for former Edmonton Oil Kings netminder Dylan Myskiw.
He has a 3-5-2 record this season with a 4.58 goals against average and an .873 save percentage.
- Edmonton vs. Moose Jaw – 7 p.m.
- Prince George vs. Regina – 7 p.m.
- Red Deer vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
- Medicine Hat vs. Winnipeg – 7:30 p.m.
- Victoria vs. Kelowna – 9 p.m.