Prince Albert Raiders leading scorer Simon Stransky takes a shot on Lethbridge goaltender Ryan Gilchrist during P.A.’s 5-2 loss to the Hurricanes at the Art Hauser Centre on Friday night. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

Raiders allow three power play goals in 5-2 loss to Lethbridge

Special teams were the difference on Friday night as the Lethbridge Hurricanes beat the Prince Albert Raiders 5-2 at the Art Hauser Centre. Lethbridge finished the night three-for-six on the power play, with two of those goals coming from forward Matt Alfaro, who was named the “First Star” of the game.

The loss came on the heels of Wednesday night’s overtime loss to the Medicine Hat Tigers, which Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said was one of his team’s best performances of the season.

“I didn’t like our game at all,” he said after the match.

“As great as we played against Medicine Hat I didn’t like our game. I thought against Medicine Hat it was probably one of our best team games as a group and I thought tonight we just played as a bunch of individuals and we got what we deserved tonight.”

The Hurricanes scored two of their power play markers in the first period. First Alfaro finished off a swift passing play to put the ‘Canes up 1-0 and four minutes later Zak Zborosky tipped a Tyler Wong shot past P.A. goalie Nicholas Sanders to double the lead to 2-0.

In the second period Simon Stransky put the home team on the score board, outwitting Hurricanes netminder Ryan Gilchrist in front of the net by patiently sliding the puck across the crease and over the goal line.

Later in the period Raider Parker Kelly and ‘Canes defenceman Igor Merezhko collected matching roughing minors to begin a stretch of four-on-four hockey. With the extra space Egor Babenko restored the two-goal Lethbridge lead, snapping a low Alfaro pass past a sprawling Sanders.

Seventy-six seconds later the Raiders were in the Lethbridge end when a Max Martin shot from the right faceoff circle deflected off a Hurricanes player in front of Gilchrist and into the net to cut the Lethbridge lead to 3-2 after 40 minutes.

After dominant third-period sequence in which the Raiders put on the pressure in the Hurricanes zone and had some very promising goal-scoring chances, ‘Canes forwards Wong and Jordy Bellerive retrieved the puck and skated up ice. Wong then maneuvered his way in front of Sanders and tapped a Bellerive shot into the net.

In the latter half of the final frame P.A.’s Cavin Leth was sent to the box for high-sticking and on the ensuing penalty Alfaro tipped in his second goal of the game to bring the final score to 5-2.

The Raiders had many chances to get back into the game, including a five-on-three power play, but they were unable to capitalize.

“We just didn’t win a draw and then we were chasing it and by the time we get in the guys are tired and it just didn’t work,” Habscheid said.

“But that’s the least of our worries. We just didn’t play good as a group and when we’re our best we play as a group, we play as a team, and tonight we didn’t and that’s why we lost.”

The Raiders are back on Art Hauser Centre ice on Saturday night when they host the Kootenay Ice. Game time is 7 p.m.


Game Summary

Lethbridge 5, Prince Albert 2

First Period

  1. Lethbridge, Alfaro 24 (Estephan, Wong) 8:44 (pp)
  2. Lethbridge, Zborosky 40 (Wong, Menell) 12:31 (pp)

Second Period

  1. Prince Albert, Stransky 18 (Kelly) 7:58
  2. Lethbridge, Babenko 21 (Alfaro) 16:14
  3. Prince Albert, Martin 7 (Hayes) 17:30

Third Period

  1. Lethbridge, Wong 48 (Bellerive) 7:30
  2. Lethbridge, Alfaro 25 (Estephan, Menell) 13:47 (pp)

Goalies: Prince Albert –­ Nicholas Sanders, 36 saves (L, 9-13-2-2); Lethbridge – Ryan Gilchrist, 38 saves (W, 8-2-1-1).

Three Stars: 1. Matt Alfaro; 2. Simon Stransky; 3. Tyler Wong.