Halifax, NS – The Prince Albert Raiders’ championship season came to an end on Tuesday night at the 2019 Memorial Cup Presented by Kia.
The Raiders (0-3) fell 5-2 to the Guelph Storm (2-1) in Halifax, NS to close out their round-robin schedule. The loss eliminated the Ed Chynoweth Cup Champions from the tournament.
It also closed out the best season in franchise history in the nearly four decades that saw the team post a WHL-best 54 wins during the 2018-19 season and defeat the Vancouver Giants in the 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series.
In the final game, captain Brayden Pachal led the way with two assists. Sean Montgomery and Dante Hannoun scored the goals. Nick Suzuki paced the Storm with two goals and an assist. Isaac Ratcliffe also had a goal and two assists, while Sean Durzi had a pair of helpers.
The Storm got the game’s opening goal midway through the first period. On a two-on-one rush, Suzuki found Fedor Gordeev and the Storm forward one-timed it past Ian Scott at the 9:42 mark to make it 1-0.
Less than two minutes later, the Raiders struck back on the power play. Just eight seconds into the man advantage, Montgomery got a stick on Noah Gregor’s shot to get it past Anthony Popovich to level the score at 1-1. The goal snapped a stretch of 18 consecutive power plays without a marker dating back to Game 3 of the 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series against the Vancouver Giants.
With 4:42 to play in the period, Guelph took its lead back. Ratcliffe got through the Raiders defence and slid a backhander through Scott for his first of the tournament, putting the Storm up 2-1.
Before the period expired, the Raiders equalized. Pachal’s shot from the point was tipped by Hannoun from the right faceoff circle, sending a bouncing puck past Popovich with 43.1 seconds left in the opening period. Hannoun’s first of the tournament made it 2-2 after 20 minutes.
In the second, the Storm took advantage of an early power play to restore their lead. Liam Hawel found space in the slot and fired a shot that beat Scott at the 1:21 mark of the period.
Guelph increased its lead at the 5:02 mark of the middle frame. Ratcliffe sent Suzuki in on a partial breakaway and Suzuki snapped a quick shot past Scott to make it 4-2 Storm.
Suzuki scored his second of the night at the 6:42 mark of the third period. The Storm forward took the puck behind the net and banked a shot off Scott and in to give Guelph a 5-2 lead.
The Raiders pushed in the final moments to get back in the game, but were unable to solve Popovich for a third time.
Scott stopped 20 shots in the loss for the Raiders. Popovich finished the game with 19 saves for the Storm.
Season tickets for the 2019-20 are now on sale at the Raider Office in the Art Hauser Centre. The early-bird deadline is Friday, June 28. For more information, click here.