PRINCE ALBERT, SK - A four goal first period powered the Raiders to a 5-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday night in Prince Albert.
The Raiders would get on the board quickly in this hockey game. Just 1:10 into the first period, Justin Maylan scored on a power play to give Prince Albert a 1-0 lead. The Hurricanes got that one back a few minutes later. Jaimen Yakubowski tapped home the puck past Eric Williams after a scramble in front of the P.A. goal to even the score at 1-1. That was Yakubowski's 2nd goal of the season. Prince Albert would blow the game open with three more before the end of the period to take a commanding lead. First, Jonas Knutsen scored to put the Raiders up 2-1. Shortly after that a lucky bounce, when Harrison Ruopp floated the puck toward the Lethbridge goal. It banked off a Hurricanes player in front and by Liston to put the Raiders up 3-1. Then with just over a minute to go, Brandon Herrod took a pass on a two-on-one rush to give P.A. a big 4-1 lead after the first period. Liam Liston was a busy guy in the period as the Canes were out shot 20-13.
In the second, the Hurricanes made a goaltending change with Tanner Kovacs starting off the period. That seemed to spark Lethbridge. The Canes came out gunning, pounding over 20 shots on the Prince Albert goal, but couldn't find the back of the net until late in the period. Brady Ramsey cashed in his 7th goal of the year on the man advantage to cut the Raiders lead in half to 4-2. That's the way the period would end. Unfortunately for Lethbridge, they ran into a hot goalie. The Canes pounded 22 shots on the P.A. goal in the second, which was their biggest shot output in a period this season. Eric Williams had to be and was very good in net. The shots after two periods favoured the Hurricanes 35-32.
In the third, the Hurricanes had a great chance early on a 5-on-3 power play, but were unable to score. The Raiders ended up getting one more in the third period. Justin Maylan scored his second of the night, ripping a wrist shot by Kovacs to give Prince Albert a 5-2 lead. That's the way this game would end. This was a wide-open non-defensive game in P.A. The Raiders out shot Lethbridge 52-49. 101 shots combined between the two hockey teams. Lethbridge went 1/6 on the power play and the Raiders were 1/1. The loss drops the Hurricanes record to 3-14-0-1 on the season as we hit the quarter point. For P.A., it ends a 6 game losing skid. Kovacs was outstanding in his two periods of work for the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes called up one of their top draft picks to play against the Raiders Friday. Ryan Pilon made his regular season debut for Lethbridge. The defenceman was chosen 3rd overall by the Canes back in the 2011 Bantam draft in May. Pilon is a highly-touted young defenceman who the Hurricanes are hoping to see big things from in the years ahead. He just turned 15 year old a few weeks a weeks ago, but standing at 6 foot 2, 195 pounds he's a big force on the ice. He logged a lot of ice time in his first WHL game and looked pretty good on the backend. As for injuries, the Hurricanes played without Johnston, Henry, and Ketlo. Johnston isn't expected back until the middle of next week, but we could see Damien Ketlo this weekend. Adam Henry is out with an upper body injury and Albin Blomqvist has a bout of the flu and missed the game in P.A.
The Hurricanes will close out this mini-northern Saskatchewan road swing Saturday when they play the Blades in Saskatoon. It'll be the first of four meetings this season between the teams. Going into this game, the Blades are ranked 5th in the Eastern Conference with 10 wins in 17 games. They are a perfect 7-0 on home ice at the Credit Union Centre. The Hurricanes are going to need all hands on deck in the this one. Saskatoon also has a pretty good young Russian goaltender. Andrey Makarov has been playing very well for the Blades this season. Game time is 7:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game show on CJOC at 6:30.
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