The WHL doesn’t have an all-star weekend.
But with the NHL and NFL staging their showcase events this weekend, Prince Albert Raiders star Jonathan Parker hosted his own skills competition at the Dome.
And he didn’t let anyone else play. Parker scored four goals, including a first-period natural hat-trick, to singlehandedly take down the Calgary Hitmen 5-1.
“That was my first four-goal game,” the Solana Beach, Calif., product said of his third career WHL hat-trick.
“It was definitely special to get it in an NHL barn. It feels great.”
Parker scored on his club’s first two shots of the game
34 seconds apart to put the Hitmen behind the eight-ball early.
He scored the first after grabbing a rebound off the end boards and then beat Hitmen starter Brandon Glover from the faceoff dot.
He finished off the trick on a nice pass from Shane Danyluk with 1:16 to play in the period.
The Hitmen, playing their third game in as many nights, got a goal from Jimmy Bubnick, who had Kyle Schmidt’s point shot hit him and bounce over Raiders ’tender Jamie Tucker.
But that was the only puck to elude Tucker, who made
32 stops for the win.
The Raiders (20-27-5) moved into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, a dozen points clear of the last-place Hitmen
Mark McNeill, ranked 22nd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, finished off a 2-on-1 in the third period before Parker capped off his career game on a two-on-nothing breakaway.
Parker started with the puck and fed linemate Justin
Maylan, a Calgary product.
“I chipped it to him and
I thought Maylan’s already got a couple of assists for me, and I owe him one, so I thought ‘you take it.’
“But knowing him — he’s a playmaker — I sprinted and caught up to him just in case he wanted to dish it, and he did.
“I teased him about it.”
Hitmen head coach Mike Williamson, whose club dropped its fifth straight,
juggled his lineup prior to the game, putting leading goal-scorer Justin Kirsch in the pressbox.
“We need everyone to compete every night,”
Williamson said. “We were really good early last night (in Red Deer), but I felt a lot of guys didn’t push through until the end of the game.”
That’s been the Hitmen’s calling card of late
— fantastic starts followed by two-plus periods of ineptitude.
It happened at home against Brandon Friday, again in Red Deer Saturday and then again Sunday.
“Our guys looked like they had energy and came out of the gate hard,” Williamson said.
“But it was tough when the first two shots end up in the back of our net.
“And we never really regrouped after that.”
The Hitmen play a home-and-home set against the Kootenay Ice beginning Tuesday night in Cranbrook
(7 p.m., fan960,com).
The Hitmen host the Ice Wednesday (7 p.m. at the Dome, Fan 960).