Raiders go winless on road trip after 5-2 loss to ICE; fall further behind in playoff race

The Raiders dropped their fourth straight game with a 5-2 loss in Winnipeg against the ICE. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

The Winnipeg ICE scored three goals in the first period en route to a 5-2 win over the Prince Albert Raiders on Sunday afternoon, handing the Raiders their fourth straight setback. Carson Latimer and Vlad Shilo had the goals for the Raiders, while Tikhon Chaika made 20 saves in the loss.

“Our guys tried and they gave us what they had, and that’s all you can ask,” head coach March Habscheid said. “They’re trying, they’re giving us everything. I’m not going to ask for anything more as long as they’re giving everything they have.”

Despite a good start to the game, the Raiders surrendered the opening goal 6:32 into the first period. A wraparound try by Jack Finley was swept through the crease, but the puck took a bounce off of Landon Kosior’s skate in front and came back towards the net. Connor McClennon found the puck right on the doorstep and buried a shot past Tikhon Chaika. His team leading 39th goal of the season gave Winnipeg an early 1-0 lead.

A turnover just outside of the Raider blueline let Winnipeg set up their second goal of the first period. Chase Wheatcroft stripped Dallyn Peekeekoot of the puck and worked his way into the offensive zone. After a quick give and go with Skyler Bruce, Wheatcroft sniped a shot from the slot to make it 2-0 with 3:56 to go in the first.

The ICE took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to a Mikey Milne goal with 26 seconds left in the opening frame. Milne stole the puck from Vlad Shilo at centre ice and busted into the Raider zone on a partial breakaway. Wasting little time, he blasted a slapshot glove side past Chaika for his 32nd goal of the year. Trailing 8-5 in shots through 20 minutes, Prince Albert found themselves in a 3-0 hole heading into the second period.

Matthew Savoie scored just 1:06 into the second period to take a commanding 4-0 lead. Taking a pass from Conor Geekie off the half wall, Savoie snapped a shot from the left circle, beating Chaika far side past his glove. Despite registering just 11 shots up to that point, the ICE had scored on four of them to jump ahead 4-0.

Carson Latimer responded in the late stages of the second period, scoring to bring the Raiders back to within three with 4:04 to go. Latimer cashed in on a rebound after a Keaton Sorenson chance that was given up by Daniel Hauser. Crashing the net, Sorenson took a shot that Hauser stopped and thought he had covered, but the rebound was sitting right in the paint, and Latimer pounced on the loose puck. Burying his 14th goal of the season, the Raider forward cut into the Winnipeg lead, as it became 4-1 heading into the third period.

Geekie denied the Raiders of any momentum carried over from their second period goal, striking 1:13 into the third for the ICE. Another odd man rush was brought into the Prince Albert zone, with Geekie leading the way. From the right circle he elected to shoot, and picked the far side corner past Chaika. After leading 4-1 through 40 minutes, Geekie’s marker made it a 5-1 Winnipeg lead early into the final frame.

Shilo cut into the lead with 5:36 to go, making it a 5-2 game. Stepping across the blue line, the Raider rookie snapped a shot from the top of the right circle that beat Hauser on the far side over the blocker. The snipe gave Shilo goals in back to back games, and made it a 5-2 deficit.

The ICE were able to keep the Raiders off the board from there, coming away as 5-2 victors, handing the Raiders their fourth straight defeat.

Prince Albert falls to 24-32-4-1 with the loss, and fall further out of the playoff picture with just seven games left in the regular season.

The Raiders will look to return to the win column at home on Wednesday night, when they welcome the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Around the WHL

The Raiders didn’t get any help on Sunday, as the Swift Current Broncos and Lethbridge Hurricanes won their games. The Broncos blanked the Calgary Hitmen 3-0, while the Hurricanes upset the Edmonton Oil Kings 5-1 on the road.

The Broncos are holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, four points ahead of the Raiders with 57, to Prince Albert’s 53. Meanwhile the Hurricanes possess the seventh playoff spot with 58 points.

Further back in the East, the Hitmen are just one point behind the Raiders with 52, while the Regina Pats have 51 points.