What started as a season of so much promise is quickly turning into one with a nightmarish finish.
With visions of finishing as high as the No. 2 seed in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference not so long ago, the Raiders are winding down the regular season with seventh place a distinct possibility and if they don’t turn things around they could fall even farther.
Prince Albert suffered its fourth straight setback on Friday when the Regina Pats scored six times in the second period for a 6-2 win. That loss, combined with the Swift Current win in Moose Jaw, has the Broncos just three points back of the Raiders.
The Red Deer Rebels also moved out Prince Albert’s reach for home-ice advantage in the opening round as they edged the Lethbridge Hurricanes to open an eight-point spread for fourth spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Medicine Hat Tigers, although they lost 4-0 to the Saskatoon Blades on Friday, are only five points back of the Raiders and they will be at the Art Hauser Centre tonight. That contest could be pivotal to where Prince Albert finishes in the standings.
In Regina on Friday, the Pats started their second-period scoring spree early and used the entire middle session to find holes in the Raider goaltending tandem of Andy Desautels and Luke Siemens.
Lane Scheidl scored the first of his two goals just 25 seconds into the second period and Morgan Klimchuk completed the attack with two ticks left on the clock in the middle frame. Colton Jobke, the Regina captain who was playing just his second game since returning from a knee injury, chased Desautels with the Pats’ fourth marker while Braden Christoffer and Emil Sylvegard also tallied.
Jayden Hart and Mark McNeill countered for the Raiders, who have now lost six of their last eight games and have just four left on the schedule to prepare for their second playoff appearance in the last six years.
Regina and Prince Albert split the season series with four wins each and the Raiders will be looking to avoid a similar fate with Medicine Hat as they are up 2-1 in that match-up entering tonight’s game.