Moose Jaw Warriors forward Todd Fiddler directs a puck at Prince Albert Raiders goaltender Cole Cheveldave as Sam Fioretti (left) Leon Draisaitl and Josh Morrissey watch during second period action on Sunday afternoon at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. Herald photo by Perry Bergson
The Prince Albert Raiders were scoreless on the power play while the Moose Jaw Warriors scored two shorthanded goals in the first period to defeat the Raiders 4-3 at the Art Hauser Centre on Sunday.
The Raiders power play unit was 0-for-3 on Sunday while Raiders goalie Cole Cheveldave made 21 saves on 25 shots in his 12th straight appearance and sixth straight start in net.
“We have to be better from the goaltender out,” said Raiders coach Cory Clouston. “Teams are coming in prepared for us and we have to match their preparation.”
Clouston said the Warriors’ pair of shorthanded goals on the same Raiders power play was the difference in the game.
"You can't give a team two shorthanded goals early in the game like we did,” Clouston said. “They made us pay for our mistakes and we didn’t make them pay."
On the first two shots of the game, Warriors right wing Jack Rodewald and leading scorer, defenceman Travis Brown, tallied the Warriors second and third shorthanded goals of the season, putting the Warriors ahead 2-0 early in the first period.
"We just have to execute better, we gotta get more traffic to the net, we have to simplify and we have to execute a lot better,” Clouston said of the Raiders struggling specialty units.
The Raiders recorded their fifth scoreless first period of the season, failing to beat Warriors rookie backstop Zachary Sawchenko in his second career WHL start.
Sawchenko, who allowed a single goal in his WHL debut on Oct. 5 against the Vancouver Giants, stopped all seven Raiders shots in the first period and made 20 saves throughout the game.
"Winning is obviously the important thing, going 2 and 0 is just a bonus,” Sawchenko said.
“It's just a good feeling to hear that win song at the end and snap a pretty bad losing streak so we are all pretty happy in that room,” Sawchenko said of his undefeated start to his junior career.
Raiders centre Shane Danyluk took a slashing penalty early in the second period, handing the Warriors their first power play of the game and their third unanswered goal from Warriors penalty minutes leader, left wing Tyler Eberle.
The now familiar duo of Raiders centre Leon Draisaitl and right wing Reid Gardiner put the Raiders on the board midway through the second. Draisaitl fed Gardiner with a one-time pass notching his seventh goal of the season.
Just over two minutes later, Raiders rookie forward Darcy Zaharichuk scored his first WHL goal on a bad angle shot to put the Raiders within one but the Warriors responded less than two minutes later when Rodewald beat Cheveldave to notch his second of the game.
Draisaitl joined Gardiner and left wing Carson Perreaux as the Raiders leading goal scorers, scoring a wrap-around goal in the final two minutes of the third period to put the Raiders within one.
The Raiders have overcome deficits twice this season with their goalie pulled and the extra-man on the ice. Clouston would give it another shot, pulling Cheveldave with 1:20 remaining in the third period.
The extra-man magic that forced overtime against the Edmonton Oil Kings and Red Deer Rebels earlier in this season wasn’t there as Sawchenko held on for the win.
"They are a strong team (Raiders), they got a couple skilled forwards and are so unpredictable with the puck,” Sawchenko said of the Raiders ability to play with their backs against the wall. ”They are skilled, especially with six people on the ice."
Sunday’s loss is the Raiders fourth in five games and they have not won in regulation since Oct. 2, a 4-1 triumph over the Red Deer Rebels at the Art Hauser Center.
The Raiders are on the road to face the Regina Pats on Wednesday who will follow the Raiders back to Prince Albert as the two teams meet again at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday.
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Sunday were Tyler Dea, Brendan Guhle, Lance Yaremchuk and Jayden Hart... Centre Leon Draisaitl has recorded a goal and two assists for the third time this season … Scoring his 97th point, defenceman Josh Morrissey surpassed Nathan Deck on the Raiders all-time scoring defenceman list… Goaltender Cole Cheveldave surpassed 7,000 career minutes on Sunday in his 12th straight appearance. Cheveldave has appeared in every game for the Raiders this season… Warriors right wing Miles Warkentine, a native of Prince Albert, is scoreless in nine games.