Broncos move record to 6-0 against the Raiders despite a strong effort
Your Prince Albert Raiders packed up the bus and headed to Swift Current for an evening bout against the Broncos — their sixth meeting of the campaign. Ian Scott had to stand on his head to stall the stingy Swift Current offence, but his 27-save game wasn’t enough in a 5-2 loss. Kolten Olynek and Simon Stransky were able to find the back of the net for the Raiders, but, nonetheless, the losing streak extended to six on a chilly night at the Credit Union i-plex.
“[The effort] was a lot better for sure,” head coach Marc Habscheid said following the loss.
“I thought a lot of our game was better, but they had a few shots that found their way into the net. Our guys kept clawing back, that’s what we want.”
Stransky and Curtis Miske showed some tangible chemistry tonight on the top line and on the power play despite skating together just once prior to puck drop.
“They both have got some skill, they move the puck,” Habscheid said.
“They need to play with somebody with pace because they are more weaving-type of players than straight line-types of guys. So it’s important to have a guy play with them that has probably more pace and can push the pucks up the ice.”
Parker Kelly was lined up with the pair and did exactly what coach Habscheid wanted him to do on that line. Move the puck, work in the corners and try to open up space for his linemates.
In the first, it was Olynek kickstarting the Raiders offence — who at one point were outshooting the Broncos 9-3 — midway through the opening frame. In what has been a whirlwind year for the Saskatoon product, one thing has remained constant, and that is the game of hockey. He’s dressed for Prince Albert, the Saskatoon Blades and then the Raiders once again, but is glad to be back in his “second” hometown, and he showed it tonight. Olynek followed up his own wrist shot, banking in his eighth of the season for his first goal since rejoining the green and gold.
“That’s what we want [out of him],” Habscheid said of Olynek’s game.
“We want him to produce and we also want him to nurture our youth and help our young guys along. It’s an important responsibility for him.”
With an assist on the play, rookie Cole Fonstad extended his point streak to three games, tying for the longest of his season.
Following the tally, Ryan Graham was absolutely denied by Scott on a two-on-one opportunity in tight. Calvin Spencer and the Broncos found redemption the next time they traveled into Prince Albert territory, scoring on a sharp angle shot and through the five-hole of the Raider netminder. The blue and white weren’t done there, either. With 32 ticks left in the first, Swift Current scored their second unanswered goal via a tip-in from Arthur Miller.
Scott kept the Raiders in the game with a massive breakaway stop on captain Brett Gawdin in the second period, kicking out the left pad. But, once the puck dropped in the third, Graham converted on his second golden chance of the night with his fourth against Prince Albert this season. 3-1 Broncos.
For the third straight contest, the power play unit for the Raiders connected. Tonight, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Stransky took a pass from Miske at the left faceoff circle before sniping his 13th past a screened Taz Burman. Fellow Czech Vojtech Budik registered the second assist, their first points since returning from the World Junior tournament.
“Our young guys are getting more experience and more confident on there. With Simon back obviously there’s more skill [on the man advantage],” Habscheid said of his recent power play success.
“We’ve added some more skill, so those things obviously help out.”
It was a one-goal game before the ever dangerous Tyler Steenbergen notched his team-leading 30th of the season on a wraparound play. The third-year Bronco carried the puck to the net with a defender on his back before slipping the rubber past Scott to restore the two-goal lead. Ultimately, the notch would prove to be the dagger, as the Raiders couldn’t mount the difficult comeback. Aleksi Heponiemi later added an empty netter.
On deck for (8-31-1-2) Prince Albert are the (14-19-3-2) Calgary Hitmen this Wednesday at the Art Hauser Centre. The contest begins a busy week for the Raiders, who play four games in five days. The two clubs have split the season series with a pair of 3-2 victories.
Daily Herald THREE STARS
Calvin Spencer (1 G, 1 A)
Tyler Steenbergen (1 G, 1 A)
Simon Stransky (1 G)