The Prince Albert Raiders and Kootenay Ice must have had Thanksgiving dinner plans as their Western Hockey League game on Sunday was a mere two minutes past the two-hour mark in length and everything else was at a premium.
No goals were scored until the third period and not a single penalty was called in the entire contest, but it was the Ice who feasted on the Raiders in the latter stages as a 2-0 Kootenay victory extended Prince Albert’s losing streak to three games.
Jaedon Descheneau got Kootenay’s first goal six minutes into the final frame and Luke Philp sealed the victory with an empty-net tally with 32 seconds left on the clock. Ice captain Sam Reinhart assisted on both goals.
Both MacKenzie Skapski in the Kootenay net and 16-year-old rookie Nick McBride, making his first Western Hockey League start, in the Prince Albert goal turned aside 30 shots.
The Raiders, who have lost five of their last six after starting the season with five straight wins, will look to end the gruelling four-games-in-five-nights road trip through the Central Division when they face the Oil Kings in Edmonton tonight.
Prince Albert started the swing with a 4-3 overtime loss in Red Deer on Friday and then dropped another 4-3 verdict in Calgary on Saturday against the Hitmen.
Reid Gardiner, Carson Perreaux and Craig Leverton scored for the Raiders in the loss to Calgary with Sawyer Lange and Jayden Hart each collecting a pair of assists.
Highly touted Jake Virtanen, Pavel Padakin, with a short-handed effort, Brady Brassart and Chase Clayton scored for the Hitmen, who held period leads of 3-2 and 4-3.
Cole Cheveldave stopped 22 shots in the Prince Albert goal while Mack Shields was tested 31 times in the Hitmen net.
Prince Albert has spent the entire road trip without forwards Mike Winther, Dakota Conroy and Gage Quinney as the trio are all out with various injuries. Hart returned to the line-up on Saturday after missing three games for a suspension following a boarding major he received in the Raiders’ 9-1 loss to the Oil Kings in Prince Albert on Oct. 4.
Rookie defenseman MacKenzie Stewart, who was inserted into a forward spot against Red Deer, missed Saturday’s game against Calgary after he was issued a one-game suspension of his own for a boarding major he received against the Rebels. Stewart was back in the line-up against Kootenay with fellow rookie blueliner Tyler Dea, who got his first WHL point with an assist on the Gardiner goal on Saturday, being scratched against the Ice.
The Raiders, who are now 6-4-1-0 and tied with the Swift Current Broncos for second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Medicine Hat Tigers, will have their hands full against the Oil Kings as captain Griffin Reinhart was returned to Edmonton late last week by the New York Islanders. Reinhart’s return will bolster an already solid defence and provide even more punch to an offense that had its way against the Raiders 10 days ago.
Prince Albert will return home following the game and have a few days to regroup before taking on the Moose Jaw Warriors in a rate matinee game on Sunday. Game time that day is 3 p.m. with the public invited to come skate with the team after the contest.