Lethbridge Hurricane forward Reid Duke swoops in on a rebound as Prince Albert Raiders defenceman MacKenzie Johnston swipes at it in front of goalie Cole Cheveldave on Friday evening during a second period Hurricanes powerplay at the Art Hauser Centre. Herald photo by Perry Bergson
A soft wrist shot from the point is all it would take to lift the Prince Albert Raiders to a 3-1 win over the league-worst Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.
Following up on a 46-save performance in a 6-3 win over the Regina Pats on Wednesday, Hurricanes backstop Corbin Boes stopped 44 of 46 shots on Friday but gave up a weak goal midway through the second period that turned out to be the game-winner, foiling an otherwise solid performance.
Raiders goalie Cole Cheveldave matched the play of Boes, stopping 36 of 37 shots en route to the Raiders fourth win in five games, improving their record to 21-17-2.
Raiders coach Cory Clouston agreed that Cheveldave's level of confidence appears to be high as the Raiders have lost just one game since returning from the Christmas break.
"I think we are doing a pretty good job of allowing him (Cheveldave) to see the puck and when he doesn't he is fighting harder to find it," Clouston said. "He's playing the way we want and need him to play."
The Hurricanes kicked off scoring when three minutes into the opening period, centre Russell Maxwell fed right wing Brady Ramsay with a centring pass that he sniped high over Cheveldave's glove.
After allowing the game's opening goal, Cheveldave noted the stellar goaltending of Boes occurring at the other end of the ice and knew he would have to match it.
"He (Boes) was kicking the whole night and I knew I had to be good," Cheveldave said. "They (Hurricanes) could come down at any point and score on me so I knew I had to be a backbone for my team tonight. I fell into my groove early after that first goal and just settled right in and had a good game."
Cheveldave agreed with his coach's sentiment, that his mental game is making great strides since returning to WHL action.
"I know I can't get worries going in my head again," said Cheveldave who appeared in his fifth straight start on Friday. "That's my downfall, I got to be better mentally and these five games have shown I have been."
Continuously coughing up the puck throughout the first period and struggling to clear their own zone, the Hurricanes were outshot 19-9 by the Raiders in the opening frame.
As the Raiders sustained pressure in the Hurricanes zone, they finally got to Boes late in the period when Raiders left wing Calder Brooks, acquired in a deal with the Calgary Hitmen on Saturday, broke through with his first goal in a Raiders uniform, tying things up at ones going into the second frame.
Clouston said Brooks, along with the other two players acquired in two separate deals on Saturday; left wing Collin Valcourt and defenceman Ryan Coghlan, are adjusting well to his system.
"You saw it tonight. Brooks and Valcourt were very good, Coghlan's playing a lot more minutes then he was in Saskatoon," Clouston said adding that the trio are filling the holes in the Raiders roster well. "With Morrissey and Guhle gone that changes things for us but they'll be back soon enough and we'll get a little bit more consistency in our lineup."
The Raiders continued to apply offensive pressure, seemingly maintaining possession of the puck throughout the first half of the period but again ran into Boes, who came up huge on a number of big Raiders scoring opportunities.
While Boes was nothing short of outstanding throughout the game's first 30 minutes, facing 18 shots in the second period alone, the Raiders would take the lead with a stinker. Midway through the second period, Stewart gave the Raiders a 2-1 lead when he put a soft shot on net in an attempt to induce a rebound, beating Boes short side.
The Hurricaness were presented with the game's first power play opportunity with less than five minutes remaining in the second period, but were foiled by a vigilant Cheveldave, who faced 16 shots in the frame.
The Raiders poured the shots on the Hurricanes in the third period, hitting the 40-shot mark just a couple minutes into the frame.
Clouston said the Raiders goal total could have been higher given the flurry of shots the Raiders poured on the Hurricanes, but will take the win nonetheless.
"It was one of those nights where it will come back to haunt you if you don't score them early," Clouston said. "It almost did but our guys at least stuck with it. It wasn't a pretty game but we'll take the two points."
While the two hot goaltenders duelled throughout the third period, Hurricanes coach Drake Berehowsky gave Boes the yank for the extra attacker, allowing left wing Carson Perreaux to tally the empty netter and clinch the win for the Raiders.
The Raiders will have three days rest before they take on the Calgary Hitmen for the second time this season on Tuesday at the Art Hauser Centre.
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Monday were Josh Morrissey, Leon Draisaitl, Matteo Gennaro, Brendan Guhle and Ben Verrall âŠ Morrissey and Draisaitl are in Sweden competing in the WJHC while Gennaro, Guhle and backstop Nick McBride are all representing Team Pacific in the World U-17 in Nova Scotia ... Valcourt, Brooks and Coghlan have combined for a total of five points in nine games in their new uniforms ... The Raiders recalled three players last Friday: Forward Luke Mahura, goaltender Rylan Parenteau and defenceman Ben Verrall were all recalled to replace the trio of Raiders competing in the U-17 tournament ... The Raiders announced on Monday that they have reassigned Mahura to the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Mahura was pointless with two penalty minutes and a rating of minus-1 in two games with the Raiders ... Still with the team; Parenteau hails from the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League while Verrall, a healthy scratch on Friday, was recalled from the Midget-AAA Moose Jaw Generals.