The Prince Albert Raiders fought their way through the storm and outlasted the Lethbridge Hurricanes with a 3-0 victory on Wednesday night.
Tikhon Chaika was the story of the game for Prince Albert, as the Belarusian netminder collected 29 saves for his 4th career WHL shutout and his second career shutout against Lethbridge.
Raiders head coach Jeff Truitt says Chaika’s play in the crease was a huge part in the Raider win.
“You win with a good goaltender and Chaika stood tall for us. It was a defensive battle. I thought we gave up a lot of turnovers that lead to shots, but we weathered the storm most of the night.”
The opening frame was not ideal for the Prince Albert Raiders, as they were outshot 10-2 by the Hurricanes. Lethbridge had several opportunities to score but were turned away by Chaika.
Truitt says the Raiders play in the first period was not up to standard.
“It was awful, it wasn’t acceptable. It seemed we didn’t know where we were going at times and surprising guys with passes. That shouldn’t happen. We can’t play that way, we aren’t built to be a skill tic-tac-toe team. We’ve got to grind things out and open up our opportunities.”
Prince Albert would turn things around in the second period outshooting the Hurricanes 8-5 in the middle frame. Lethbridge would have a golden opportunity to score as Tristan Zandee was sprung on a short-handed breakaway at the 7:40 mark only to be turned away by the glove of Chaika.
Chaika says he was locked in and didn’t have much time to think with Zandee advancing.
“It’s a pretty good space in this league. I don’t really have time to think about it. I just have to stop it. That’s it.”
Dating back to last season, Tikhon Chaika has allowed two goals in 3 career games against the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Art Hauser Centre.
He says he doesn’t prepare any differently for the Hurricanes compared to other opponents.
“I just have regular preparation. My teammates make my work easier. I want to say thank you for my teammates They were really good defensively, not just this game but the past Lethbridge games.”
Prince Albert would finally break through on the scoreboard in the third period. Carson Latimer struck for the first time this season on the power play just 2:40 into the final frame to give the Raiders a lead they would never relinquish.
Less than two minutes later, a beautiful move from Sloan Stanick lead to a nifty pass to Keaton Sorenson who buried his third goal of the year past Hurricane goaltender Jared Picklyk, giving the Raiders a huge insurance marker.
Lethbridge wouldn’t go down quietly. The Hurricanes would go on the power play down two goals as Carson Latimer was sent off for interference at the 16:46 mark of the third period. Lethbridge head coach Brent Kisio would go all in on the man advantage as he would pull his goaltender and attempt to even the score with Lethbridge having two extra skaters.
The decision would turn out to bite him as Landon Kosior would clear the puck down the ice and find the back of the Lethbridge net for the short-handed goal.
With the win, Prince Albert improves to 2-3-1-0 on the season. The Raiders are back in action Friday night on the road in Swift Current against the Broncos.