Raiders can’t overcome early deficit in setback to Tigers

Photo by Nathan Reiter. Prince Albert Raiders goaltender Tikhon Chaika searches for a puck during WHL action at the Art Hauser Centre on Dec. 14, 2022

The Prince Albert Raiders couldn’t overcome an early two goal deficit as they fell 3-2 to the Medicine Hat Tigers in WHL action Wednesday night at the Art Hauser Centre.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says he saw plenty of positives despite the team being in the midst of a six game losing streak.

“Effort was good. I liked our effort, we were skating better, on pucks and creating turnovers. I thought we controlled a lot of things here tonight. They got a couple fortunate goals, we’ve worked hard here tonight and that’s what we’ve been talking about and the guys delivered. A little short on the finish, but overall I’m happy with the effort.”

It would take just over five minutes for the visiting Tigers to open the scoring as a wrist shot from Tomas Mrsic beat Raider goaltender Tikhon Chaika glove side to make it 1-0 Medicine Hat. Assists on the goal were credited to Tyler Mackenzie and Dru Krebs.

The Tigers would double the lead just 27 seconds later as a sharp angle shot from Dallon Melin found the back of the net. Kurtis Smythe would pick up the helper.

The Raiders would cut the lead in half at the 14:28 mark as Cole Peardon would pick up a rebound and put it past Medicine Hat netminder Beckett Langkow to cut the Tiger lead to 2-1.

Shots in the first period favored the Raiders 11-8.

The Raiders and Tigers would both have scoring chances in the second period but Chaika and Langkow would stand tall to keep the score 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. Medicine Hat outshot the Raiders 10-8 in the second period.

Medicine Hat would add an insurance marker as Shane Smith would rip one past Chaika at the 16:29 mark of the third period to extend the Tiger lead to 3-1. Dallon Melin plucked up his second point of the contest with an assist on the goal.

The Raiders would pull within one in the final minute. With the Raider net empty, Sloan Stanick would redirect a shot past Langkow to cut the Tiger lead to 3-2.

That’s as close as the Raiders would get to tying the game. Prince Albert outshot the Tigers 27-24 in the hockey game.

Raider captain Evan Herman says that Prince Albert is not finding success, but is learning lessons that will help the team moving forward.

“It’s tough. Losing is never fun. At the end of the day, every team goes through this at some point in their season. You never know how long it will be or what the circumstances are, but I think moving forward we know we just simplify things. It’s what we take out of this and what we learn from what we are going through now and apply it moving forward.”

Truitt says the Raiders are close to finding success, and that will start with a win on Saturday night before the Christmas break.

“We want to leave here on a good note, we’ve struggled here with wins. We know that. We’ve lost different ways and had a lot of tight games. We got to get over the hump, it’s going to take something special for the consistency to happen, but all we are looking for is the win to happen. We continue this work effort and we will be fine.”

The Raiders return to action on Saturday night when they welcome the Spokane Chiefs to the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7pm.