Raiders drop sixth straight with overtime setback to Pats

It was a case of déjà vu for the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday evening.

After outshooting the Winnipeg Ice but losing by a goal at the Art Hauser Centre two nights earlier, the Raiders did the same thing at the Brandt Centre but dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Regina Pats.

It only took 13 seconds for the game-winning goal to be scored in the extra frame, as Robbie Holmes converted a feed from Riley Krane and handed the visitors their sixth straight loss.

“They got the face-off win in overtime and went down to score, and that’s the fine line we’re walking right now,” Raiders assistant coach Jeff Truitt said on the 900 CKBI post-game show.

“We played well but we haven’t finished lately. We carried the play five-on-five and I thought we had more quality opportunities, but we’re not finishing at the moment.”

Although Boston Bilous only made 16 saves and suffered his seventh straight setback, it was an improved outing for the Raiders netminder as he made a number of key stops in the second period after the Pats took the lead.

“I thought he was really good,” Truitt said. “He stood tall for us and did a great job. We were really pleased with the way he rebounded and we have no complaints with how he played.”

Krane had a goal and an assist for the 11-19-3-1 Pats, who received a 29-save showing from Max Paddock.

Paddock’s only blemish came late in the second period when Ozzy Wiesblatt scored his 16th goal of the season.

The 20-12-4-1 Raiders, who are now two points behind the Ice for first place in the East Division, will continue their four-game road trip on Friday night against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

They will then travel to Winnipeg to face the Ice on Saturday and Sunday.

Post-Game Notes

The Raiders’ current losing streak is their longest since an 11-game slide that they had from Dec. 28, 2016 to Jan. 18, 2017.

That skid was snapped in a 3-2 road triumph over the Red Deer Rebels on Jan. 20, 2017.

Aliaksei Protas was held without a point in the loss, which brought an end to his career high 12-game scoring streak.

Michael Horon and Tyson Laventure did not dress for the Raiders, while the Pats scratched Steven Zonneveld, Makai Mitchell, Carter Massier, Kyle Walker and Cale Sanders.

Around the WHL

The first big trade since the holiday break occurred on Wednesday as the Tri-City Americans dealt 20-year-old starting netminder Beck Warm and rights to 17-year-old forward Riley Stuart to the Edmonton Oil Kings in exchange for the rights to 18-year-old goaltender Carter Gylander, the rights to 15-year-old forward Cade Littler, a second round pick in the 2021 WHL Bantam Draft and a fourth round pick in 2022.

Warm, who will join 17-year-old rookie Sebastian Cossa in between the pipes for the Oil Kings, has a 9-14-4 record with a 3.40 goals against average, a .914 save percentage and two shutouts this season.

Stuart, who was a fifth round pick by the Americans in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, has suited up in 14 games for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints this year and is committed to the NCAA’s Arizona State Sun Devils.

Gylander, who was a listed prospect of the Oil Kings, is one of the top netminders in Junior A hockey as he’s posted a 20-1-0 record, a 1.99 goals against average, a .927 save percentage and one shutout thus far in his second campaign with the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders.

The seventh round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2019 NHL Draft is expected to join the NCAA’s Colgate Raiders next year.

Littler, who was a 10th round pick in the 2019 Bantam Draft, has 14 points in eight games for the Wenatchee Wilderness Under-16 program.

Meanwhile, three of the top prospects in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft are looking to enter the league a year early.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman, forwards Connor Bedard, Riley Heidt and Brayden Yager have all applied to Hockey Canada for exceptional player status as they look to make the jump to major junior hockey at the age of 15.

Bedard, who is from North Vancouver, B.C., has 52 points in 23 games this year for the CSSHL’s West Van Academy prep team and is widely considered to be the best player available this spring.

Heidt and Yager are both from Dundurn and are suiting up for the SMAAAHL’s Saskatoon Contacts.

Yager is third in team scoring with 30 points in 30 games, while Heidt is just behind him with 28 points in 30 games.

Six players (John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day, Joe Veleno and Shane Wright) have been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada since 2005.

Matthew Savoie, who was the top overall pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft by the Winnipeg Ice, applied last year but was reportedly denied.

He has since split time with the Rink Hockey Academy and the Ice this season, where he has five assists in 12 games.

Wednesday’s Scores

  • Calgary 4 Medicine Hat 2 (Jack McNaughton – 32 Saves)
  • Edmonton 4 Everett 3 (Josh Williams Shootout Winner – Two Assists)
  • Winnipeg 6 Saskatoon 1 (Owen Pederson – Two Goals and Two Assists)
  • Victoria 1 Vancouver 0 (Shane Farkas – 29 Saves – First Shutout This Season and Eighth Career)

Tuesday’s Scores

  • Brandon 3 Moose Jaw 1 (Luke Burzan – Two Goals)
  • Portland 3 Seattle 2 (Roddy Ross – 47 Saves)
  • Tri-City 5 Spokane 4 (Marc Lajoie Overtime Winner – Sasha Mutala – One Goal and Two Assists)

World Juniors Update

The quarter-final rounds are set in the Czech Republic at the 2020 World Juniors, which will continue on Thursday.

Canada will take on Slovakia, Sweden will face the Czech Republic, Switzerland will go up against Russia and the United States will square off with Finland in a rematch of last year’s gold medal game.

Rimouski Oceanic star forward Alexis Lafreniere is expected to return to Canada’s lineup for the game after missing the last two contest with a leg injury.

The Canadians clinched first in Group B on Tuesday as Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes) and Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) had a goal and three assists each in a 7-2 win over the Czech Republic.

Kirill Marchenko (SKA St. Petersburg) had five points in Russia’s 6-1 romp over Germany, which sent the Germans into a best-of-three series against Kazakhstan to determine which country will stay up in the main flight for next year’s tournament.

Sweden got a two-goal performance from draft-eligible forward Alexander Holtz (Djurgardens) as they finished first in Group A with a 6-2 win over Slovakia.

Meanwhile, Switzerland overtook Finland for second place with a 5-2 victory over Finland.

Pre-Game Notes

Friday’s matchup between the Raiders and the Wheat Kings is only the second of the season between the East Division clubs, as the Raiders won a 6-3 affair in Prince Albert on Nov. 8, 2019.

The 17-17-1-2 Wheat Kings are currently on a two-game win streak heading into the game and have an eight-point advantage over the Red Deer Rebels for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Forwards Cole Reinhardt and Nolan Ritchie are not expected to suit up for the contest due to injuries.

Prince Albert product Braden Schneider is fifth in team scoring and leads all Wheat Kings blueliners with 25 points in 35 games.

Friday’s Schedule

  • Regina vs. Swift Current – 7 p.m.
  • Prince Albert vs. Brandon – 7:30 p.m.
  • Moose Jaw vs. Edmonton – 8 p.m.
  • Seattle vs. Lethbridge – 8 p.m.
  • Saskatoon vs. Red Deer – 8 p.m.
  • Calgary vs. Medicine Hat – 8:30 p.m.
  • Vancouver vs. Kamloops – 9 p.m.
  • Everett vs. Prince George – 9 p.m.
  • Victoria vs. Kelowna – 9 p.m.
  • Portland vs. Spokane – 9 p.m.