After taking big step forward on Saturday, the Prince Albert Raiders took one back as they fell to the Calgary Hitmen 7-2 on Tuesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Sitting five points behind the Red Deer Rebels for the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot, the Raiders surrendered a one-goal lead twice on Tuesday as they were outshot by the Hitmen 36-23.
With the win, the Hitmen took a 0-3-0 lead in the season series, as they remain the only team in the Eastern Conference the Raiders have yet to beat.
Raiders defenceman Josh Morrissey netted his 20th of the season just 26 seconds into the game on the power play but the Hitmen answered back seven minutes later on a man-advantage opportunity of their own.
Following Hitmen centre Adam Tambellini's tying goal, the Raiders would regain the lead off of a marker by defenceman Sawyer Lange but would find themselves all tied up yet again when Hitmen left wing Jake Virtanen answered back to carry a 2-2 stalemate into the second frame.
Four minutes into the second period, the Hitmen took their first lead of the game when right wing Pavel Padakin broke free on a breakaway, beating Raiders backstop Cole Cheveldave.
While keeper Mack Shields stood his ground in the Hitmen net, right wing Joe Mahon added to the lead, handing the Raiders a two-goal deficit heading into the third period.
Midway through the third frame, Virtanen netted his second of the night to give the Raiders a three-goal mountain to climb with less than half a period of hockey remaining on the clock.
While Shields remained vigilant in his end, Hitmen centre Brady Brassart extended the lead to four and less than three minutes later, added insult to injury with his second of the night as the Hitmen cruised to their fourth straight win.
The Raiders have little time to dwell on the loss as they make the three hour trek north to take on the red-hot Edmonton Oil Kings, who have won 11 straight, on Wednesday at Rexall Place.
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Tuesday were Brendan Guhle, Jayden Hart and Darcy Zaharichuk â€¦ Tuesdayâ€™s tilt marked Raiders forward Calder Brooks' return to Calgary after he was acquired from the Hitmen in exchange for centre Mike Winther prior to the WHL trade deadline. Winther has yet to play against the Raiders since the deal ... Since joining the Raiders, Brooks has tallied seven points in 17 games while Winther has eight points in 11 games with the Hitmen this season â€¦ The Raiders entered Tuesday's game with a league-low 624 penalty minutes. The Raiders also post the second lowest number of fighting majors in the league with 35 while the Lethbridge Hurricanes lead the pack with 83 ... Raiders centre Chance Braids leads the team with eight tilts so far this season, tying his total from last season when defenceman Harrison Ruopp led the team with 12 bouts.