After winning their first three meetings with the Lethbridge Hurricanes this year, the Prince Albert Raiders had a chance to complete the season series sweep on Saturday night.
Instead, it was the home side that had the last laugh as the Hurricanes came away with a 3-1 win over the Raiders at the Enmax Centre.
“There was obviously some motivation for them to get that win here, especially after they just had seven games on the road, and this place was jumping right away tonight.” Raiders assistant coach Jeff Truitt said on the 900 CKBI post-game show.
“We wanted the points as well, especially with how tight our division is and the fact that other teams keeping winning. We just need to keep building here.”
One of the key points of the evenly-matched contest involved the Raiders’ power play, as they went 0-for-5 on the man advantage.
“When we had dangerous opportunities, we didn’t get clean looks and that frustrated us a little bit as we didn’t find the space that we needed,” Truitt said.
“I thought their defence blocked a ton of shots and their goalie (Carl Tetachuk) played really well.”
Zack Hayes had the lone goal for the 28-16-5-4 Raiders, who have lost their last two games and are now just two points ahead of the Winnipeg Ice in the race for first place in the East Division.
Max Paddock put together another strong outing in goal for the defending champions as he made 34 saves.
Oliver Okuilar potted a pair of goals for the 33-12-2-5 Hurricanes as they earned their third straight win and moved back ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers for second spot in the Central Division standings.
Calen Addison also scored for the hosts, while Tetachuk stopped 27 shots.
The Raiders will now prepare to return to the Art Hauser Centre on Friday for a meeting with the Swift Current Broncos.
They will then host the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday and the Regina Pats next Tuesday.
“This is playoff hockey from here on in,” Truitt said. “There are 15 games left in the regular season and teams are going to be doing a lot of jockeying with these divisional games.
“You can’t take any nights off. You need to be on your toes.”
Saturday’s win was an historic one for Hurricanes bench boss Brent Kisio has he moved passed Bryan Maxwell and became the team’s all-time leader in coaching wins with 189.
Since he was hired in June 2015, the Hurricanes have had three season with 40 or more wins and reached the Eastern Conference final in 2017 and 2018.
The Raiders were attempting to sweep the season series with the Hurricanes for the first time since the 2009-10 season, which saw both teams miss the playoffs.
Calen Addison recorded a point for the ninth straight game with his go-ahead goal in the third period, which surpassed his career-high of eight contests with a point that lasted from Sept. 29 to Oct. 22, 2017.
Tyson Laventure was the lone scratch for the Raiders, while the Hurricanes did not dress Noah Boyko and Trevor Thurston.
- Portland 4 Kelowna 2 (Seth Jarvis – Two Goals)
- Saskatoon 8 Moose Jaw 2 (Colton Dach – Two Goals and Two Assists)
- Red Deer 3 Calgary 0 (Ethan Anders – 41 Saves – First Shutout This Season and Fourth Career)
- Regina 6 Swift Current 2 (Robbie Holmes – One Goal and Three Assists)
- Everett 5 Seattle 2 (Jake Christiansen – Two Goals and Two Assists)
- Spokane 6 Tri-City 0 (Jack Finley – Two Goals – James Porter Jr. – 25 Saves – Second Shutout This Season and Sixth Career)
- Vancouver 5 Prince George 2 (Seth Bafaro – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Victoria 5 Kamloops 4 (Tarun Fizer – One Goal and One Assist)
- Winnipeg 4 Medicine Hat 1 (Michal Teply – Two Goals and One Assist)
The Raiders have won all three meetings with the Broncos this year and are on a nine-game win streak against the Central Division side heading into Friday night.
If they earn a victory on home ice against their provincial rival, it will mark the first time that the Raiders have swept the season series against the Broncos in the league’s Internet Era, which dates back to the 1996-97 season.
The Broncos won all eight meetings against the Raiders in 2006-07 and prevailed in all six matchups in 1997-98.
Heading into a Wednesday home tilt with the Winnipeg Ice, the 10-36-1-3 Broncos are on a five-game losing streak and sit at the bottom of the league table.