Raiders shutout yet again, lose fifth straight

Andrew Schopp
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The Prince Albert Raiders were held off the board for the second straight game as they fell to the Red Deer Rebels 5-0 on Wednesday at the Art Hauser Centre.

Largely attributed to stellar opposing goaltending, the Raiders have been held to just three goals in their last four games as their record fell to 22-23-2 after their fifth straight loss on Wednesday.

After being shutout by Swift Current Broncos backstop Eetu Laurikainen on Sunday, the Raiders ran into another elite import goaltender on Wednesday, this time, it was Rebels backstop Patrik Bartosak, who recorded his fourth shutout of the season.

"We played a hard 60 minutes and the boys made it pretty easy for me, I saw most of the shots," said Bartosak who stopped all 38 shots faced and blanked the Raiders on eight power play opportunities. "It's a full team effort and we are definitely happy to get that one done."

Raiders coach Cory Clouston said other than facing strong goaltending in their last four games, he simply cannot fathom what's keeping the puck out of the opposing net.

"If I knew we would solve it," Clouston said. "I have never been in a situation like this where we have played hard so many nights and just not been rewarded for it. Obviously their goaltending was the difference again tonight."

With Raiders starting goalie Cole Cheveldave out with the flu, Rylan Parenteau, who was recalled by the Raiders from the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League on Dec. 27, got his first career WHL start between the pipes on Wednesday.  

"With Nick (McBride) having only having one practice to regroup and refocus, we thought starting him wasn't giving him an opportunity," Clouston said of his decision to start Parenteau rather than McBride on Wednesday.  "He's (McBride) a young player, we have to protect him."

With the lengthy losing skid surely on their minds, the Raiders came storming out the gate in the first period, keeping Bartosak busy as they outshot the Rebels 15-8 in the scoreless opening frame.

Though they looked strong in the first period, things unraveled for the Raiders in the second. Just under two minutes into the middle frame, Rebels right wing Rhyse Dieno beat a screened Parenteau with a soft wrester from the point to put the Rebels on the board.

About three minutes later, Parenteau gave up a rebound on another soft shot from the point, which rookie centre Cole Chorney easily popped in the net to give the Rebels a two-goal lead.

The Rebels continued to test Parenteau, when shortly after Chorney's marker, Rebels right wing Presten Kopeckso fed left wing Aspen Sterzer who broke in all alone to beat Parenteau blocker side to tally the Rebels third unanswered goal.

"We can't pin it all on our goaltender," Clouston said adding that he thought Parenteau was strong in the game's first half. "We've got to score goals."

The Rebels continued to pour it on when right wing Presten Kopeck scored on a delayed call to give the Rebels a four-goal lead midway through the third period. Less than a minute later centre Lukas Sutter netted a fifth unanswered goal to put the game out of reach.

While noting that some of the Raiders most talented goal scorers, including centre Leon Draisaitl, were stoned by Bartosak on numerous breakaway opportunities, Clouston expressed his sympathy for his players as they face hot goaltender after hot goaltender.

"I feel very bad for them because they are working hard," Clouston said. "Obviously they are trying, they care, (Bartosak) showed why he was the CHL goaltender of the year last year."

The Raiders will hit the road to take on the Swift Current Broncos on Friday before a rare tilt against the Prince George Cougars on Monday at the Art Hauser Centre.

RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Wednesday were Ryan Coghlan, Darcy Zaharichuk and Gage Quinney ... Raiders backstop Cole Cheveldave was scratched for Wednesdays matchup. Rookie goalie Nick McBride served as backup to Parenteau ... Going into Wednesday's game, the Raiders have scored just three goals on 117 shots in their last two games ... The Raiders have post 536 penalty minutes this season going into Wednesday's tilt, the second lowest total in the league. .. The Raiders post a record of 15-1-0 when leading after two periods and are 16-6-0 when they strike first on the scoreboard ... Draisaitl's 12-game point streak came to an end on Sunday against the Swift Current Broncos. During that 12-game span, Draisaitl tallied nine goals and 25 assists. 

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