LETHBRIDGE - Two goals in the second, one on the power play turned out to be the difference as the red hot Prince Albert Raider rolled into Lethbridge and rolled out with a 4-1 victory.
It didn't take long for the Hurricanes to get rolling in this game. Just 21 seconds into the first period, Russ Maxwell knocked in the puck by Raiders goalie Luke Siemens to give Lethbridge a 1-0 lead. It was Maxwell's 4th goal of the season and the first time in 7 games this year that the Canes have opened the scoring in a game. The Raiders would get a few good chances to score as well, but Ty Rimmer was steady in goal for Lethbridge and managed to keep PA off the scoreboard. The Canes took the 1-0 lead into the dressing room after one period. The shots favoured the Raiders 12-8, but Lethbridge had 5 scoring chances on those 8 shots.
In the second, the Prince Albert Raiders would find the equalizer. Mik Winther, in his first game in a while took a nice feed from behind the Canes goal and beat Ty Rimmer to tie the game at 1-1. Before the midway point of the period, PA would take it's first lead of the game when Sawyer Lange hammered a point shot on the power play which got by Rimmer to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead. The Raiders turned on the afterburners late in the period with a flurry of good chances, but couldn't add to their lead. PA would take that 2-1 advantage into the dressing room after 40 minutes. The shots favoured the Raiders 25-13.
In the third, Prince Albert would get a little breathing room. Riley Guenther moved down the right side snapped a shot and beat Rimmer with a knuckle ball shot. That gave PA a 3-1 lead and some insurance for the rest of the night. Before the game would come to an end, the Raiders would ice it with an empty netter off the stick of Mark McNeill. That sealed it up and the Raiders would skate away with a 4-1 victory. PA out shot Lethbridge 35-20. The Raiders have now won 7 in a row and are 7-0-0-1 on the season. The loss drops the Canes record to 2-5 on the season. They've lost 3 games in a row.
Assistant Chris Chisamore said on the CJOC post game show that a 2-5 start is unacceptable for this team and they'll be working hard to prepare for Prince George on Friday. The Canes power play continues to struggle, with only 4 goals on 34 chances so far this season.
Prior to this game against the Raiders, I asked Head Coach and GM Rich Preston about the importance of this home stand and really the next 4 to 5 weeks with 12 of the next 14 games at home. His response was short and sweet: "Just one game at a time Pat, that's all we're thinking of right now. We don't think long term." Regardless, I feel this stretch of games is critical for this team heading up to the quarter point in the season.
The Hurricanes will continue this six game how stand on Friday (Oct. 12) when they play host to the Prince George Cougars. On Saturday the Saskatoon Blades roll into town. Game time both nights is 7:00 pm (MDT). The pre-game shows on CJOC at 6:30.