Red Deer, AB – The Prince Albert Raiders (24-1-0-0) were sparked by their penalty kill unit on Tuesday as they beat the Red Deer Rebels (16-7-1-0) 4-3 at the ENMAX Centrium.
The win extended the Raiders’ winning streak to 17 games. It also set a new franchise record for consecutive wins on the road with seven. The previous mark was six set during the 1985-86 season.
The Raiders killed six of seven penalties faced on the evening, including being two men short for two full minutes in the first period. The lone power-play goal surrendered came with about a minute left in regulation.
On the offensive front, Sergei Sapego led the way with three assists. Brett Leason kept his point streak alive with a goal and an assist. Noah Gregor also had a pair of assists.
It was a great start for the Raiders. Spencer Moe got his side on the board 2:59 into the contest. Ozzy Wiesblatt put a shot towards goal that was stopped by Ethan Anders. Moe was at the side of the goal and deposited the rebound for his fourth of the year.
Just 72 seconds later, Parker Kelly extended the lead. With an extra attacker for the Raiders during a delayed penalty call, Sapego found Leason on the wing, who set up Kelly with a backdoor marker. It was the Ottawa Senators prospect’s 11th goal of the year.
After the goal, the Rebels called their timeout. Whatever was said at the bench worked as they scored at the 5:27 mark. Ethan Sakowich solved Ian Scott for his first of the year.
Midway through the frame, the Raiders restored their two-goal lead. Cole Fonstad took a deflected pass at the Rebels’ blue line. The Montreal Canadiens prospect kept on the two-on-one and beat Anders for his seventh of the year. The goal ended Anders’ night after stopping seven shots on 10 attempts.
The Raiders’ penalty killers went to work at the end of the period to preserve the lead. Jeremy Masella, Noah Gregor, and Brayden Pachal all took minor penalties within two minutes of each other. However, the shorthanded units did their jobs to keep it a 3-1 game after 20 minutes.
In the second, the Rebels cut into the lead midway through the frame. Zak Smith buried a loose puck at the side of the goal to make it 3-2.
Five minutes later, Leason put the Raiders back up two. On a power play that saw the Raiders control the zone for most of the two minutes, Leason had time in the slot and wired a shot past Byron Fancy for this 26th goal of the year.
Scott helped keep the Rebels at bay in the third. The Calgary product turned aside eight of nine shots in the final frame. One of those saves was a great effort on Brandon Hagel, who was denied a backdoor tap-in by the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect.
The Rebels got back within one late in the third. Jeff de Wit jammed in a puck from the side of the goal through Scott on the power play with 58 seconds to play. However, it was as close as the Rebels came. They were unable to pull Fancy for an extra attacker for most of the final 58 seconds due to the Raiders’ forecheck.
Scott finished the game with 28 saves to earn his 20th win of the season. Fancy allowed one goal on 18 shots in relief for the Rebels.
The Raiders close out the Central Division portion of their road trip on Wednesday night in Edmonton when they take on the Oil Kings (14-9-2-2) at Rogers Place.
The next Raiders’ home game is on Saturday, December 8 against the Brandon Wheat Kings (10-7-3-3).Tickets are available at the Raider Office and at raiderhockey.com. Game time is 7 p.m.