For only the second time during the 2019-20 campaign, the Prince Albert Raiders were unable to find the back of the net during a WHL game.
Winnipeg Ice netminder Liam Hughes stopped all 34 shots he faced on Sunday and joined Jiri Patera of the Brandon Wheat Kings as the only goaltenders to stymie the defending league champions this season as his team picked up a 3-0 triumph at the Wayne Fleming Arena.
Although the Raiders outshot the Ice during the contest, assistant coach Jeff Truitt felt like the squad didn’t have enough high-quality chances during the affair.
“You’ve got to get inside and look for the second shots, which I don’t think we did enough, especially in the second period,” Truitt said on the 900 CKBI post-game show.
“We’d be in the middle lane at times but we ended up passing the puck off to the side. As a result, we passed up on some good shooting opportunities.”
Peyton Krebs and Isaac Johnson scored on the power play to move the 37-24-1-0 Ice out in front in the third period, with Johnson concluding a three-point night with an empty net goal in the dying seconds of regulation to give the hosts their third straight win.
“I thought we did a lot of good things and we battled hard, but all-in-all, it was the special teams that sunk us here tonight,” Truitt said.
Rookie Carter Serhyenko had a solid outing for the 36-18-6-4 Raiders as he made 24 saves during his second start in the last eight days.
“He was calm out there and managed everything well,” Truitt said. “It doesn’t surprise me though as he’s a calm individual that knows his craft.”
The Raiders, who remain six points ahead of the Wheat Kings in the East Division standings, will now enjoy some time off before a pair of matchups with the Moose Jaw Warriors this weekend.
Their first meeting will be on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre at 7 p.m., with a rematch set for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place.
The Ice, who are now a point back of the Wheat Kings for second place in the East Division ahead of a road game with the Regina Pats on Wednesday, split their matchups with the Raiders this season at three wins apiece.
Before their move to Winnipeg, the Ice had lost four straight season series to the Raiders while in Cranbrook, B.C. after each side took home two contests during the 2014-15 campaign.
Prior to Hughes’ performance on Sunday, which was his third clean sheet of the season, Mackenzie Skapski was the last Ice netminder to shutout the Raiders during a 3-0 contest on Oct. 13, 2013 at Western Financial Place.
Ice forward Michael Milne has held without a point in the contest, which brought an end to his five game scoring streak.
Sunday’s contest marked the debut for Raiders blueliner Graydon Gotaas, who became the first member of the team’s 2019 draft class to suit up for a WHL game.
Matthew Culling and Michael Horon did not dress for the Raiders, while the Ice scratched Jackson Leppard, James Form, Matthew Savoie and Connor McClennon.
- Portland 4 Victoria 1 (Jaydon Dureau – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Everett 3 Seattle 2 (Kasper Puutio – Two Assists)
- Kamloops 6 Tri-City 1 (Connor Zary – Two Goals and One Assist)
The Raiders have won all four meetings with the Warriors this year and can sweep the season series for the first time in the league’s Internet Era if they prevail in both legs of this weekend’s home-and-home set.
The closest that the club has ever come to accomplishing that feat was during the 1998-99 campaign when they took six out of seven meetings from their provincial rivals.
The 14-43-4-0 Warriors, who are on a four-game losing streak and will host the Saskatoon Blades on Tuesday, are in sixth place in the East Division standings and will miss out on the playoffs for the first time since 2015.
Forwards Owen Hardy and Bryden Kiesman are both currently sidelined with injuries, while defenceman Nolan Jones is eligible to return to the lineup on Friday after serving a three game suspension for a post-game fracas with the Regina Pats last week.
- Red Deer vs. Medicine Hat – 7 p.m.
- Saskatoon vs. Moose Jaw – 7 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Spokane – 8 p.m.
- Winnipeg vs. Regina – 7 p.m.
- Red Deer vs. Swift Current – 7 p.m.
- Victoria vs. Kelowna – 8 p.m.
- Regina vs. Brandon – 6:30 p.m.
- Saskatoon vs. Winnipeg – 6:30 p.m.
- Edmonton vs. Lethbridge – 7 p.m.
- Moose Jaw vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.
- Medicine Hat vs. Swift Current – 7 p.m.
- Kelowna vs. Kamloops – 8 p.m.
- Portland vs. Spokane – 8 p.m.
- Everett vs. Tri-City – 8 p.m.
- Prince George vs. Victoria – 8 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Vancouver – 8:30 p.m.