Raiders secure a point in 5-4 shootout loss to Pats

Andrew Schopp
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There was no love for the Regina Pats on Valentine's Day as the Prince Albert Raiders fell 5-4 in a shootout on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.

Despite a dominant four-for-six power play, the Raiders could not hold on to a one-goal lead as they continue to chase the Eastern Conference's eighth and final playoff spot.

Although failing to secure their first win streak in over a month, Raiders coach Cory Clouston said there were plenty of positives to take away from the loss.

"We played a heck of a game," Clouston said. "We did a great job on the penalty kill, our power play was excellent, we are disappointed we didn't get the two points but the effort and execution was very good."

Opening scoring just 37 seconds into the game, Raiders starting goalie Cole Cheveldave gave up a rebound on a point shot, then another, which centre Patrick D'Amico netted to give the Pats an early lead.

Matchups between the Raider and Pats have been heated so far this season and Friday's tilt was no exception. Midway through the first period, Raiders centre Jayden Hart drove hard to the Pats net, hitting backstop Daniel Wapple resulting in a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

After the Raiders withstood Hart's penalty, the Pats added to their lead when left wing Boston Leier beat Cheveldave on a three-on-one with a shot that just barley eked through his pads.

With less than three minutes to go in the first period, the Raiders responded on the power play with  left wing Collin Valcourt's 20th of the season, cutting the Pats lead down to one going into the second frame.

The Raiders were given a break early in the second period when just over a minute in, the Pats took a too many men on the ice penalty handing the Raiders their third power play opportunity. 

With the Raiders posting a seven-for-12 power play over their last two games, Clouston is pleased with the unit's recent production.

"We've done a great job of executing that's the bottom line," he said. "There are a lot of phases of a power play, there's a breakout, entries and puck retrievals, there are a lot of little things involved and the guys are doing a great job of executing."

Working shorthanded, Pats centre Chandler Stephenson broke free on a breakaway, tucking his 27th of the season past Cheveldave. With three seconds remaining on the power play, the Raiders responded, once again cutting the deficit down to one with a goal by centre Calder Brooks.

The Pats continued to find themselves in the sin bin and midway through the second period, Valcourt fed Draisaitl who danced in all alone to bury the Raiders third power play goal of the night, knotting things up at threes.  

After the Pats took a pair of back-to-back checking from behind penalties in the closing minutes of the second period, the Raiders were afforded a five-on-three and their power play unit continued to do damage.

After cycling the puck in the Pats zone for over a minute, Draisaitl finally tucked his second of the night past Wapple to carry the Raiders first lead of the game into the third period.

"He's playing intelligent hockey," Clouston said of Draisaitl who had several breakaway opportunities on Friday. "He's doing a very good job of managing the puck. Guys like that who have a high level of skill sometime want to force player when there aren't any but he's done a good job of knowing when to not make those high risk plays."

While entering the third frame down on the shot board, the Raiders went on the attack hard in the period. Riding a solid performance by Wapple between the pipes, the Pats tied things up on just their third shot of the period with a marker by left wing Dryden Hunt.

On the other end of the ice, Cheveldave stood his ground to get the Raiders through a pair of penalty kills as the Raiders entered overtime for the ninth time this season.

Both teams exchanged blows in overtime as Wapple stoned  Draisaitl on a breakaway opportunity, then again on a penalty shot early in the scoreless extra-frame.

Denying Draisaitl, Morrissey and Dakota Conroy, Wapple closed the door in the shootout as Leier's lone goal lifted the Pats to their third straight win.

Despite the loss, Clouston agreed that when chasing a playoff spot like the Raiders are, even a single point is something to celebrate.

"There's a ton of hockey to be played," he said. "We will definitely take the point and move on."

The Raiders will be right back in action on Saturday, as they take on the Victoria Royals at the Art Hauser Centre.

RAIDERS NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Friday were Ryan Coghlan, Gage Quinney and Darcy Zaharichuk ... Raiders defenceman Josh Morrissey netted his 20th goal of the season on Tuesday becoming the second d-man in franchise history to meet the mark in a single season. Morrissey is just two goals shy of Emanuel Viveiros' record of 22 in the 1985-1986 season ... Viveiros is currently coaching Austria at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Viveiros tallied 321 points in four seasons with the Raiders ... The Raiders have engaged in fisticuffs with the Pats seven times this season, more so than any other team in the league. They have registered a total of 36 fighting majors this season, five against both the Swift Current Broncos and Edmonton Oil Kings ... In the Subway Ask-A-Raider series, Dakota Conroy told the Raiders that the Pats are his least favourite team to play against. "They just bring out the worst in us," Conroy said of the Pats in  an interview with The Herald on Thursday. 

Organizations: Raiders, Art Hauser Centre, Edmonton Oil Kings The Herald

Geographic location: Austria, Sochi, Russia

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