Raider surge falls just short in loss to Hurricanes

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Aiden Oiring of the Prince Albert Raiders and Sean Tschigerl of the Lethbridge Hurricanes square off for a faceoff during WHL action at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday night.

The Prince Albert Raiders gave it their all, but couldn’t complete a third period comeback in a 4-3 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Saturday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says the main difference in the game was Lethbridge making good on their power play opportunities.

“It’s almost like familiar territory, we’re down and keep coming back. It’s not a hill that we haven’t climbed and started to build momentum. The five-minute major they score one is the difference here, but we didn’t get a power play for whatever reason. (It) wasn’t for a lack of trying. Our guys had two good looks here with the six on five and we just couldn’t convert.”

Lethbridge would break the seal just 3:33 into the first period as Brayden Edwards would deposit his 33rd goal of the season. Dylan Sydor and Noah Chadwick picked up the helpers.

Ryder Ritchie would pull the Raiders even at the 5:58 mark with his 15th goal of the season as a result of a mad scramble in front of Lethbridge goaltender Harrison Meneghin. The goal was unassisted.

Matej Kubiesa would receive a game misconduct for a check from behind on Lethbridge’s Dylan Sydor that would result in the Raiders heading to the penalty kill for five minutes.

Former Raider Hayden Pakkala would bat a rebound out of mid-air past Hildebrand to put the Hurricanes ahead at the 11:31 mark of the opening frame with his 12th goal of the season.. Carter Dereniwsky and Kooper Gizowski assisted on the play.

Pakkala would strike again with an unassisted tally at the 16:34 mark to double the Lethbridge lead to 3-1 heading into the first intermission.

Shots favored the Raiders by a slim 13-12 margin after the first period.

A minor penalty against Easton Kovacs early in the second period would lead to the Hurricanes extending their lead to three.

Dylan Sydor would find a rebound at the side of the net and would deposit his 24th goal of the season at the 6:44 mark of the middle frame. Gizowski and Logan McCutcheon assisted on the play.

A quick strike just 1:17 into the third period would give the Raiders life.

Prince Albert Raiders #23 Sloan Stanick carries the puck into the Lethbridge Hurricanes’ zone while defended by defenceman Noah Chadwick during Saturday night’s game at the Art Hauser Centre. — Max Pahtayken/Daily Herald

Krzysztof Macias would tip home a pass from Niall Crocker for his 21st goal of the campaign to cut the Hurricane lead to 4-2. Justice Christensen received the secondary helper.

Macias would strike against the 13:20 mark to bring the Raiders within one with his 22nd goal of the season. A slick pass from overage centreman Turner McMillen would set up Macias. Jacob Hoffrogge picked up the secondary assist.

According to Polish Puck, Macias is now tied for second amongst Polish-born players for goals in a season in the CHL. Alan Lyszczarczyk is the record holder with a 39 goal campaign split between the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound Attack and Mississauga Steelheads in 2018-19. 

Lyszczarczyk also recorded a 21 goal campaign for the Attack in 2017-18.

Macias says he is hopeful that his success in Prince Albert will inspire more young players in Poland.

“Obviously it would mean more if we won the game. I would feel better about it. It’s good for Polish hockey players to see that they also can achieve something and I hope I will help young Polish players to believe in themselves and to start believing that they can achieve something in hockey.”

The Raiders would push for the equalizer, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Prince Albert had stunned the Hurricanes with a three goal third period comeback at the Enmax Centre last month.

Lethbridge Hurricanes goaltender #35 Harrison Meneghin deflects a shot on his net during Saturday night’s game at the Art Hauser Centre against the Prince Albert Raiders. — Max Pahtayken/Daily Herald

Truitt says the key to the Raiders being able to forge a comeback is mental toughness.

“It’s a mindset. You’re playing from behind, you want to sit down and kick stones, look at the ground. You’re not going to do any good for yourself. You don’t want it, but it’s a mentality. Our guys have been down. We’ve come back and we’ve won. It’s not like we’re comfortable with it, but we know that we can do it and we weren’t that far off here tonight.” 

Harrison Meneghin made 37 stops for the Hurricanes while Max Hildebrand made 30 stops for the Raiders.

The Raiders return to action on Friday night when the Edmonton Oil Kings visit the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.