The Prince Albert Raiders found out firsthand why the Winnipeg Ice have one of the best offences in the Western Hockey League during the shortened 2020-21 campaign.
In the penultimate game for both sides in the East Division hub at the Brandt Centre, the Raiders saw a 3-1 third period lead with 11 minutes to go disappear as the Ice scored a trifecta of goals in a nearly six-minute stretch on their way to a 4-3 triumph.
“We made two mistakes in the third period, but I thought we were pretty much the better team for the whole game,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said.
“It’s been a long road here and we’re not playing for anything here except ‘Raider Pride’ and I thought we played with a lot of pride today. Our structure was good and our compete level for the most part was good. We should have won the game but we had a couple of mistakes that ended up in their net.”
After Ice rookie forwards Conor Geekie and Zachary Benson both scored in a 80-second span to tie the game, blueliner Karter Prosofsky completed the comeback for his team as his point shot bounced off of Raiders blueliner Terrell Goldsmith and into the back of the net for his first career goal.
The Raiders pulled Carter Serhyenko with two minutes to go to find the equalizer and they nearly got it with 50 seconds left as Ozzy Wiesblatt’s shot was redirected by Dallyn Peekeekoot, but the puck bounced off the iron and was cleared away from Ice netminder Daniel Hauser.
Geekie and Jackson Leppard had a goal and an assist each to lead the way for the 17-5-1-0 Ice, who have won their last four games and can solidify second spot in the East Division standings by earning a single point against the Regina Pats on Tuesday.
Vegas Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs picked up an assist on Prosofsky’s winner to set an Ice franchise record by a recording a point in 22 straight games, while Hauser stopped 24 shots to help his team earn the victory
Eric Pearce and Reece Vitelli had a pair of assists for the Raiders, who received goals from Spencer Moe and Justin Nachbaur in the second-to-last WHL contest for the overage forwards.
“All three overagers (Moe, Nachbaur and netminder Max Paddock) are good people and character guys that bring it every night,” Habscheid said.
“It’s always nice to see them score. It’s just too bad that we couldn’t get the win for them.”
Wiesblatt had the other goal for the 8-11-3-1 Raiders, who have lost two straight games, and Serhyenko turned aside 25 shots.
The Raiders will wrap up their campaign on Wednesday at 8 p.m. as they’ll face the 6-16-1-0 Swift Current Broncos in the final East Division contest of the year.
Monday’s win gave the Ice their first season sweep of the Raiders since the 2010-11 season, when they won all four meetings on their way to capturing their final championship during their tenure in Cranbrook, B.C.
Prior to Krebs’ run of form this season, the Ice’s franchise record for the longest point streak belonged to Mike Comrie, who had a 21-game streak during the 2000-01 campaign.
Carter Serhyenko recorded an assist on Spencer Moe’s second period goal for his first career WHL point.
He became the first Raiders netminder to find the scoresheet since Ian Scott picked up an assist on Max Martin’s goal during a 4-1 road victory over the Victoria Royals on Jan. 22, 2019.
Ozzy Wiesblatt’s first period goal allowed the San Jose Sharks prospect to extend his point streak to six games, which is the longest by any Raiders player this year.
Carson Lambos, Nolan Orzeck, Rhys Raeside, Evan Waldie, Owen Boucher and Gage Alexander did not dress for the Ice, while the Raiders were without the services of Kaiden Guhle, Nolan Allan, Graydon Gotaas, Logan Danis and Max Hildebrand.
- Swift Current 4 Moose Jaw 2 (Cole Nagy – Three Goals – First Career Hat Trick)
- Portland 4 Seattle 1 (Simon Knak – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Kamloops 2 Vancouver 0 (Josh Pillar – Two Assists – Dylan Garand – 18 Saves – Second Shutout This Season and Seventh Career)
- Edmonton 3 Medicine Hat 2 (Jalen Luypen – Two Goals – Garin Bjorklund – 34 Saves)
- Lethbridge 4 Calgary 1 (Logan Barlage – Two Goals)
- Brandon 5 Regina 1 (Lynden McCallum – Four Goals – First Career Hat Trick – Braden Schneider – Three Assists – Ben McCartney – Four Assists)
- Saskatoon 5 Moose Jaw 4 (Rhett Rhinehart Overtime Winner – Kyle Crnkovic – Two Goals and Two Assists)
- Prince George 4 Victoria 1 (Kyren Gronick – One Goal and One Assist)
The Broncos, who enter Wednesday’s finale on a two-game win streak, have dropped two out of three meetings with the Raiders in Regina.
A Raiders victory will give Prince Albert their third straight win in the season series, while a Broncos triumph will result in a split of the head-to-head meetings for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
In addition to Raiders overagers Moe, Nachbaur and Paddock, the game will also mark the final WHL contest for Broncos 20-year-olds Michael Farren, Kaleb Bulych and Owen Williams.
It will also be the last game for Broncos assistant coach Brandin Cote, who will be leaving the team to become an associate coach for the Saskatchewan Huskies’ men’s hockey program next year.
The 40-year-old, who was an assistant coach with the Raiders during the 2016-17 campaign, had been with his hometown club since 2018.
- Everett vs. Portland – 6 p.m.
- Winnipeg vs. Regina – 6 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Kamloops – 8 p.m.
- Kelowna vs. Victoria – 8 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Saskatoon – 4 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Spokane – 7 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Everett – 8 p.m.
- Prince Albert vs. Swift Current – 8 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Prince George – 8 p.m.