For 15 minutes, the Prince Albert Raiders were beating one of the best teams in the Western Hockey League.
The next 25 minutes belonged to the Portland Winterhawks as the Western Conference powerhouse scored five unanswered goals to salt away a 6-3 victory over the Raiders.
The game started with promise for P.A., after Josh Morrissey scored his 22nd of the season 3:27 into the first from Sawyer Lange and Leon Draisaitl.
Eleven minutes later, Dakota Conroy scored the first of his two goals on the night, putting the Raiders up two with a powerplay goal assisted by Collin Valcourt and Draisaitl.
But just three minutes later, at 17:58, Chase De Leo scored the first of his two goals, sending the Raiders to dressing room up 2-1 despite being outshot 14-6.
The Winterhawks poured it on in the second, outshooting the Raiders 21-4 and receiving goals from Morrissey’s World Junior teammates Nicolas Petan and Mathew Dumba, along with De Leo’s second and one from Oliver Bjorkstrand, who sniped his 42nd.
Starter Cole Cheveldave got the hook after the fifth goal on the 34th shot he faced. Nick McBride gave up one goal on 14 shots.
Conroy’s second powerplay of the game at 6:33 of third drew the Raiders to within a pair but Petan’s second at 13:38 iced the game for the Winterhawks.
The Winterhawks outshot the Raiders 48-26, with the Raiders going two-for-six on the powerplay and the Winterhawks going two-for-four. With the loss, the Raiders had a three-game win streak snapped and fell to 29-29-2-2.
The Red Deer Rebels lost to the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday, meaning the teams remain deadlocked at 62 points, with the Raiders holding a game in hand. The Brandon Wheat Kings beat Moose Jaw 7-4 to go up four points on the two teams, while the Broncos’ win put Swift Current up six.
The Raiders next see action on Tuesday as they meet the Seattle Thunderbirds (37-19-2-4, 80 points), who currently sit fourth in the Western Conference. They then visit Everett to meet the Silvertips (29-23-7-1, 66 points) on Wednesday before returning home for a game in the Art Hauser Centre next Saturday.