The Prince Albert Raiders are in a must-win situation after being trounced by the Regina Pats 7-1 on Wednesday at the Brandt Centre.
Losing their second straight game, the Raiders dropped to ninth in the Eastern Conference, trailing the Red Deer Rebels by a pair of points for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Right wing Dyson Stevenson netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner to lift the Pats to their 39th win of the season, tightening their grip on the East Division crown.
After serving as backup for five straight games, Raiders starting goalie Cole Cheveldave found himself back between the pipes, making 31 saves in the losing effort.
The Raiders opened scoring 34 seconds into the game as left wing Collin Valcourt netted his third goal in four tilts, following up on a three-point night on Tuesday against the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Responding about five minutes later, Stevenson tied things up, slipping his 37th of the season past Cheveldave.
While Cheveldave faced nine shots in the first period, so did Prince Albert native and Pats goalie Dawson MacAuley who made a series of big saves to carry a 1-1 tie into the second period.
Working on a power play early in the second period, Stevenson performed a nifty spin-o-rama move to fire his second of the night past Cheveldave three minutes into the middle frame.
Keeping their feet on the gas, the Pats added to the lead midway through the period as right wing Connor Gay tallied his 16th of the season, just as the Raiders had finished killing a penalty.
The Pats would get two more goals from Chandler Stephenson and Dryden Hunt to bring the total up to five unanswered markers in the second period as the Raiders faced a 5-1 deficit heading into the third frame.
Pouring the shots on net, the Raiders struggled to cut into the Pats as MacAuley continued to shine in the crease, turning away all 12 shots faced in the final frame.
In the closing minutes of the third period, Gay would add his second of the night followed by a marker by left wing Morgan Klimchuk to put the game on ice.
The Raiders will return home for the first of their final two games, taking on the Saskatoon Blades on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre before heading back the other way to finish their season at the Credit Union Centre.
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Wednesday were Craig Leverton, Darcy Zaharichuk and Graeme Craig … Craig is sidelined with an upper-body injury sustained on Saturday against the Brandon Wheat Kings …Prior to Wednesday's game, the Pats honoured the memory of Saginaw Spirit forward Terry Trafford whose body was found on Tuesday in Michigan ... Following the Raiders final home game on Friday against the Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre, the organization will hand out its annual awards including best defensive forward, rookie of the year and MVP honours. Draisaitl is set to take home the leading scorer award, won last season by forward Mark McNeill, now playing for the Rockford Icehogs of the American Hockey League.