Life on the road has suddenly become less friendly for the Prince Albert Raiders.
Since opening the season with five straight victories in games away from the Art Hauser Centre, the Raiders have now lost three in a row on the road following a 4-1 setback in Swift Current on Saturday. And, their next five are all in opposing arenas.
‚ÄúIn two of those losses, in Moose Jaw (9-0) and Regina (4-1) we didn‚Äôt put forth the effort to win,‚ÄĚ explained Raiders‚Äô head coach Steve Young on Monday. ‚ÄúIn the Swift Current game I thought we did.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúSwift Current got some opportunities on the power play and they made the most of those opportunities,‚ÄĚ continued Young. ‚ÄúWe didn‚Äôt take advantage of ours.‚ÄĚ
Saturday‚Äôs game against the Broncos was a classic battle between the provincial rivals as the score was just 1-0 in favour of Swift Current mid-way through the contest. The Broncos, who had lost the three previous meetings between the two clubs, then scored three straight power-play goals to break the game wide open.
‚ÄúSwift Current did a lot of good things when they had to,‚ÄĚ said Young.
Graham Black, Coda Gordon, Adam Lowry and Ryon Moser scored for the Broncos before Sawyer Lange got the Raiders on the board early in the third period. Prince Albert captain Mark McNeill assisted on Lange‚Äôs fifth of the season with the point giving the first-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks 200 for his career.
The Broncos finished the game going three-for-five with the man advantage while the Raiders were unable to score in four opportunities.
Luke Siemens was strong in the Raider goal once again turning aside 43 Swift Current shots with Prince Albert snipers managing just 24 on Eetu Laurikainen.
The league is taking a bit of a break this week as the Subway Super Series takes centre stage with games in Vancouver on Wednesday and Victoria on Thursday. McNeill left on Monday for Vancouver as he will be playing in the first game on Wednesday and then joining the Raiders in Lethbridge on Thursday.
Prince Albert will play three games in three nights in Alberta beginning on Friday when they face the red-hot Hurricanes in Lethbridge for the first time. The Hurricanes have won seven of their last 10 games to move into a tie with the Raiders in the Eastern Conference standings. Both clubs have 28 points, but Lethbridge has played two more games than Prince Albert. Calgary and Edmonton are both one point better than the Raiders and Hurricanes.
Following the game in Lethbridge, the Raiders will head to Edmonton on Saturday and then complete the swing in Red Deer on Sunday. They also have games in Moose Jaw and Brandon next week before they return home on Nov. 24 to take on the Wheat Kings.
RAIDER NOTES: Riley Guenther and Reid Gardiner sat out Saturday‚Äôs game with Guenther on the sidelines due to numbers and Gardiner still on the mend from an upper-body injury suffered last month in a game against Tri-Cities. The 16-year-old has been practising with the team and is expected to be back in the line up in the near future‚Ä¶McNeill, who was named the Western Hockey League‚Äôs player of the week after recording two goals and five assists in the Raiders‚Äô three games last week, was not the only Raider to reach a milestone on the weekend. Siemens surpassed the 2,500-save mark for his career with his performances against the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday and Swift Current on Saturday. Siemens will reach another mark on the weekend as his next start will be the 100th of his career. Mike Winther will also reach 150-game plateau this weekend and Anthony Bardaro is three points shy of 150 for his career, which has been split between the Raiders and Spokane Chiefs.