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Home Sports Raiders slide into playoff spot with 4-0 win over Hurricanes

Raiders slide into playoff spot with 4-0 win over Hurricanes

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Raiders slide into playoff spot with 4-0 win over Hurricanes
A scrum breaks out in front of the Lethbridge Hurricanes goal after a whistle in the first period on Tuesday night at the Art Hauser Centre. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

Evan Herman scored twice while Tikhon Chaika notched his second WHL shutout, as the Prince Albert Raiders blanked the Lethbridge Hurricanes 4-0 on Tuesday night at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Raiders picked up their third win in a row, and now find themselves in a share for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We’ve been focused,” head coach March Habscheid said. “I think our leadership group has done a great job. I could’ve sat in my office tonight. They ran the bench and checked on one another. They were accountable and in tune with the game, and it was a good game.”

The Raiders opened the scoring just 1:13 into the first period on their first shot of the game. Reece Vitelli led a Raider rush into the Hurricanes zone, with Sloan Stanick breaking down the left wing. From near the goal line, the Raider captain feathered a pass across for Stanick, who was able to power a shot that trickled through Bryan Thomson, and gave Prince Albert the early 1-0 lead.

The Raiders quickly added another goal just over two minutes later on their second shot of the game. Evan Herman entered the zone with the puck on a three on two rush. Cutting in from the right wing, he elected to keep the puck, and sniped a shot that beat Thomson five hole. Just 3:25 into the contest, the Raiders found themselves up 2-0. Thomson saw his night come to an abrupt halt, as he was replaced between the pipes by Jared Picklyk.

“We talked about it before the game that we need these points,” Herman said. “Our group stepped up to the challenge, and we got another two points tonight, which is huge moving forward.”

Prince Albert extended their lead to 3-0 just over four minutes into the second period, shortly after breaking up a potential odd man rush the other way. Remy Aquilon led a rush into the Lethbridge zone, and dropped a pass at the point for Carson Latimer. The forward took one stride in with the puck, and sent a pass to the right circle for Herman, who was wide open. Herman ripped a one-timer Picklyk, scoring his second goal of the contest to put the Raiders up by three.

Landon Kosior made it a 4-0 game with an absolute rocket of a one timer from the point. From the half wall, Keaton Sorenson delivered a pass to the Raider defenceman, who stepped into a shot, and picked the top corner blocker side. Kosior’s 15th goal of the season put Prince Albert up by a four spot with 8:36 left in the middle frame.

The Raiders played solid in their defensive zone in the second period, allowing just two shots on goal, and they took a 4-0 lead into the third.

Prince Albert was able to hold the Hurricanes at bay in the third, thanks to another shut down period, as well as Chaika making some clutch saves, as the Raiders shutout Lethbridge 4-0.

“We talk about the little things,” Habscheid added. “There’s a bunch of little things that I think guys can look at the game, and understand that those things matter. You could tell everyone was attached, everyone blocked shots and did the little things that you have to do.”

The Raiders improve to 22-28-2-1 with the win, moving into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Winnipeg ICE did Prince Albert a favour, as they blanked the Calgary Hitmen 2-0, keeping Calgary tied with the Raiders in the standings.

Prince Albert prepares for a home and home series coming up this weekend against the Saskatoon Blades. Four of the Raiders’ next five games will come against the Bridge City bunch.

@kyle_kosowan•sports@paherald.sk.ca