Offence runs dry

Adam Kadlec fires a shot on net during first period action against the Regina Pats ---- Dustin Saracini/Daily Herald

Raiders end busy week with a 5-1 loss to the Pats; depart for four-game road trip

The Prince Albert Raiders dropped their 10th consecutive contest today at the hands of the Regina Pats. A day after taking one of the best teams in the country to the brink, the green and gold were within striking distance before third period puck drop. Trailing by two following Spencer Moe’s second goal of the series, the Pats opened the floodgates in the final stanza, scoring their way to a 5-1 victory.

“We were right there,” head coach Marc Habscheid said following the loss.

“We had a couple point blank opportunities to put us ahead, we didn’t and they came down and kind of deflated us a little bit.”

“We wanted them to respond,” he continued on his group’s effort from last night.

“That’s a heartbreaking loss, they played their tail off last night. It was a tough way to lose. It would’ve been easy to hang their heads and feel sorry for yourself but we didn’t want to be that type of team. We have to pick ourselves up and get going.”

Following a four-goal output in the first period a night ago, the hot Raiders offence was squelched in the opening frame by a Regina defence that wasn’t giving anything away. The lone goal came courtesy of Sam Steel, who benefited off a missed too many men call, netting his 32nd in transition. Dawson Leedahl and Connor Hobbs collaborated on the tally, giving Steel four points in the home-and-home series. The Anaheim Ducks prospect would finish with six following a second consecutive three-point game.

A trio of rookies hooked up in the second to deadlock the game at one goal a-piece. Cole Fonstad broke into Regina territory with speed before a tape-to-tape pass found the blade of Moe on the far side of Max Paddock. Moe snapped his fifth into the twine, scoring his second goal in as many nights. Carson Miller drew the second assist on the tally.

“You can tell they’re playing pretty good, they have some good confidence,” Habscheid said of his young guns.

“Experience is the greatest teacher, but the type of experience you give them is important. They are getting minutes they can handle, which is good. You don’t want them to get used to losing either, but they’re all three character kids and I don’t think that will be a problem.”

Regina restored the lead moments later on the WHL’s first ranked power play unit. Following a handful of one-touch passes, it was the Swede Filip Ahl busting in on the back door, notching his 20th of the campaign. The elite passing from the Pats was on full display as Adam Brooks, who played hero a night ago with his 100th WHL goal, set up Connor Hobbs with a brilliant no-look, turnaround feed on the far side of the crease.

Ian Scott opened the third period with a brilliant stop off another back door opportunity. His post-to-post diving glove save kept the Raiders within two, but it wouldn’t last. Regina’s potent offence broke through with two goals within eight seconds of each other. Hobbs buried his second of the contest before Leedahl corralled a crisp two-on-one pass from Nick Henry, snapping home his 19th of the campaign.

The Raiders now open up a four-game set on the road beginning with a Wednesday clash against the Kootenay ICE. Prince Albert shut them out 6-0 last time the two took to the ice.

“We are just going to forget about [the road trip] and not think about it for today,” Habscheid said.

“I’ve been in this league for awhile and I’ve never had that many games in one month. Now we got some injuries, we just got another piece of adversity, we have to find a way to battle through.”

Tim Vanstone and Simon Stransky were out of today’s contest. It remains to be seen if they will suit up against the ICE.

Prince Albert rounds out their road trip against the Red Deer Rebels, Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen. After playing four games in five days, the Raiders will do it all again next week.

Daily Herald THREE STARS

  1. Connor Hobbs (2 G, 1 A)
  2. Sam Steel (1 G, 2 A)
  3. Spencer Moe (1 G)