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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Home Sports Chaika earns first shutout of WHL career as Raiders down Hitmen in Calgary

Chaika earns first shutout of WHL career as Raiders down Hitmen in Calgary

Chaika earns first shutout of WHL career as Raiders down Hitmen in Calgary
Prince Albert Raiders goaltender Tikhon Chaika. -- Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

Evan Herman’s team leading 19th goal of the season was all the Prince Albert Raiders needed to defeat the Calgary Hitmen on Wednesday.

Herman’s goal at 12:45 of the first period held up as the game winner, as the Raiders downed the Hitmen 1-0 at the Saddledome.

“A win’s a win,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said afterwards. “You don’t want to critique it too much, but it was kind of a sloppy game on both sides.”

Goaltenders Tikhon Chaika and Brayden Peters provided most of the heroics on Wednesday. The two netminders traded big saves throughout the game, with Chaika earning the first shutout of his WHL career.

Chaika saved his best stop of the game for last, robbing Carter Yakemchuk with the glove to preserve the 1-0 shutout in the final moments of the third period.

“Both goalies were good,” Habscheid said. “It could have been 5-5 or 6-6, but both goalies were good.”

Herman’s first period goal was indicative of how Wednesday’s game would unfold. The Hitmen gained possession in their own zone after Cale Sanders collided with a linesman and lost control of the puck.

Calgary winger Anton Astashevich picked up the puck and tried a dangerous cross ice pass that hit the shaft of Herman’s stick and dropped to the ice. The Raider forward corralled the puck and slipped a backhand past Peters for the game’s only goal.

The Raiders continued to pour on pressure in the Calgary zone, forcing Peters to make a number of spectacular shots to keep the score 1-0. His best save came in the second on a 2-on-0 breakaway.

Evan Herman sped past the Calgary defenceman and made a cross-crease pass to Carson Latimer, but the Raider forward was denied by Peters’ outstretched leg.

Chaika ended up making 26 saves to earn the shutout and his 13th win of the season. Peters made 25 saves in a losing cause.

“We just hung in there,” Habscheid said. “Like I said, there were mistakes on both sides, but we just hung in there and got the win.”

Wednesday’s win pulled the Raiders within two points of the Hitmen, who sit tied with the Lethbridge Hurricanes for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

The Raiders got a welcome boost on Wednesday when the Winnipeg Ice defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 on Wednesday. However, Lethbridge still has two games in hand on both the Raiders and the Hitmen.

The Swift Current Broncos, who sit seventh with 44 points, did not play.

The Raiders are back in action on Friday when they continue their Alberta road trip in Red Deer against the Rebels. Puck drop is 7 p.m.