It was the same outcome for the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday night, losing 4-2 to the Red Deer Rebels at the Art Hauser Centre, but it was a different feel compared to Wednesday’s loss to the Oil Kings.
“We got exposed,” head coach Marc Habscheid said after the loss. “I didn’t like some of our older forwards, and if you can’t depend on them, that’s not good. Red Deer is a good team. They’re big, heavy, and some of our players were a little too careful out there tonight, and that’s not a good thing.”
It looked like it would be a promising night for the Raiders, as Hayden Pakkala opened the scoring 6:41 into the first period. Kaiden Guhle took a shot from the point that was blocked by Carter Anderson, who couldn’t get up after taking the shot right to the foot.
The Raiders controlled the puck again, and Cody Wilson sent a pretty pass to Pakkala from behind the net, and he buried a shot past Chase Coward, giving Prince Albert a 1-0 lead. With the assist on the play, Wilson grabbed his first WHL point.
Five minutes later, the Rebels tied the game back up. Overage winger Arshdeep Bains worked the puck along the right wall, before passing the puck to the point to Blake Gustafson. Gustafson walked into the slot and fired a wrister over Carter Serhyenko’s glove, knotting the game at 1-1.
Ben King gave the Rebels another goal just three minutes later. He walked along the left wing with the puck, before snapping a shot past Serhyenko, putting Red Deer up 2-1 with 5:04 left in the opening period.
The Rebels headed into the first intermission with the one goal lead, outshooting the Raiders 14-4 in the process.
“In the first period we came out flat,” Raider captain Kaiden Guhle said. “We were giving them momentum for the whole game. We just have to do better in the first period.”
Red Deer applied more pressure in the Raider end during the second period, and at the 6:06 mark, they were able to find the net for the third time. Jace Weir took a shot from the point that got past a screened Serhyenko, and put the Rebels up 3-1. That was the end of Serhyenko’s night, as Tikhon Chaika was put in to finish the game.
It was a rude welcoming into the game for Chaika, as on just the second shot he faced in the game, Ben King found the back of the net again. Chistopher Sedoff sent a gorgeous spin-o-rama pass across the ice to King, who worked left to right, opening the pads of Chaika, and slipping a shot through the five hole, putting the visitors up 4-1.
The Raiders found a late spark in the second period, when Nolan Allan was left all alone in the middle of the ice. Harrison Lodewyk sent a short pass across to the Raider blueliner, and he stepped in and ripped a shot bardown past Coward, cutting the Red Deer lead to 4-2 heading into the second intermission.
Prince Albert had plenty of chances in the third period, especially in the dying seconds with the goalie on the bench, but Sloan Stanick was denied twice near the Rebels crease, and Red Deer hung on, coming out with the 4-2 victory, handing the Raiders their second straight loss.
“This was a game that some guys didn’t want to play,” Habscheid added. “You’ve got to play the right way. We have some structure but we try not to overstructure, but you have to play how we ask you to play. Playing hard is not negotiable. Mistakes we can live with, but effort has to be there.”
Despite the loss, Guhle said the group is starting to gel both on and off the ice, now that they have had a consistent lineup over the last few games.
“It’s coming along good,” he said. “The guys are getting along and the young guys are hanging out with the old guys. The chemistry is coming along, and we’ve got a good group.”
The Raiders fall to 6-8-0-1 with the loss, but won’t have much time to think about it. The team travels to Swift Current to take on the Broncos on Saturday night, looking to get back into the win column and keep up in the East division.
Puck drop is at 7pm.