Raiders end Saskatoon skid

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Prince Albert Raiders captain Brayden Pachal battles with Saskatoon Blades forward Eric Florchuk Sunday at the SaskTel Centre.

It wasn’t as far back as the 1980’s like Prince Albert Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid joked after the game.

However, Sunday’s 6-2 win for the Raiders over the Saskatoon Blades at the SaskTel Centre brought an end to a 15-game losing streak that dated back to Sept. 20, 2014.

“We didn’t really talk about it in the room, but we were pretty tired of hearing about that streak,” Habscheid said. “It’s a new year and new teams, so eventually we felt like we would get a win, so it’s nice to get that out of the way.

“We’ve had trouble in this building in the past, so to get that streak over with in our first trip to Saskatoon this season is a good feeling,” Raiders captain Brayden Pachal added.

After giving up only their second power play marker of the year early in the first period, the Raiders moved out in front 2-1 by the midway point of the opening frame and withstood the remainder of the challenges from their nearest rival on their way to their third straight win.

“We adjusted well and played to our strengths,” Pachal said.

“It was a short turnaround for us today and we had a bit of a slow start Saturday against Red Deer after a few days off, but we were able to wear down Saskatoon and I think that was apparent as the game went on .”

Pachal played a key part in the Raiders’ success Sunday, as he wired a shot home in the third period and set up two of his team’s markers.

“We’ve been working a lot as a group on defence to make sure that we are active on offence,” Pachal said.

“Our forwards have been making great plays for us and we’ve been able to take advantage.”

Brett Leason extended his point streak to 11 straight games with two goals and an assist, as he now has 22 points to start the season.

Spencer Moe, Sean Montgomery and Parker Kelly also scored for the 10-1 Raiders, who received a 26-save performance from Ian Scott.

Kristian Roykas-Marthinsen and Dawson Davidson both scored on the power play for the Blades, who now have a 7-3 record and saw their two game win streak come to an end Sunday.

“We had a couple of breakdowns on things that we work on every practice,” Blades captain Chase Wouters.

“We need to get back to working on the little things. If we can do that and play a full 60 minutes, we should be okay.”

Nolan Maier turned aside 25 shots in the loss, while Eric Florchuk had a pair of assists.

Next up for the Raiders is a return to the Art Hauser Centre Tuesday, as they’ll take on the 1-5-2-0 Calgary Hitmen.

“We just need to keep things going,” Pachal said. “We’ve had a good start, but we need to keep building off of it.”

Post-Game Notes

With Sunday’s win over the Blades in Saskatoon, the longest active losing streak the Raiders have against a team in a certain venue is a four-game skid to the Portland Winterhawks at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Raiders have also dropped six straight contests to the Everett Silvertips.

Thanks to his three-point night, Leason is now tied for the WHL scoring lead with Portland’s Joachim Blichfeld and has the most goals in the league with nine.

Davidson, who leads all blueliners in scoring with 15 points, extended his point streak to seven games Sunday, while Kirby Dach and Aliaksei Protas have now recorded six-game point streaks after they both got on the scoresheet.

With two assists on the afternoon, Protas now has 10 points in 11 games and has a three-point cushion over five fellow freshman in the rookie scoring race.

The Blades lost the services of veteran blueliner Jake Kustra in the third period of play, as he crashed feet first into the boards after a battle for the puck with Sergei Sapego and was unable to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the ice.

Defenceman Lane Kirk and forward Kody McDonald did not dress for the Raiders Sunday, while blueliners Seth Bafaro, Zachary Ashton and Majid Kaddoura were all scratches for the Blades, in addition to forward Kyle Crnkovic.

Sunday Scores

  • Regina 4 Calgary 3 (Nick Henry Overtime Winner – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Prince George 2 Kootenay 1 (Ilijah Colina Overtime Winner – Taylor Gauthier – 45 Saves)
  • Vancouver 3 Victoria 2 (Milos Roman – Two Goals)
  • Everett 4 Portland 2 (Akash Bains – One Goal and One Assist)

Around The WHL

The Royals, who were the last unbeaten team in the Canadian Hockey League, suffered their first loss of the season Sunday as they tried to break their previous best start of 7-0 that they had last season.

With that setback, the longest active win streak in the WHL belongs to the Everett Silvertips, the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Raiders, who have each picked up three straight victories.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Kamloops Blazers and Edmonton Oil Kings are currently mired in seven game losing streaks, with the Oil Kings’ slide occurring after they opened the campaign with a 5-0 mark.

Pre-Game Notes

After ending a six-game losing streak to start the season with a win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Friday, the Hitmen are heading to Prince Albert with a sour taste in their mouths after a 4-3 overtime setback at home to the Regina Pats Sunday.

Tuesday’s encounter is the second of the season between the two sides, as the Raiders earned a 4-0 win at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Oct. 8

Rookie forward Bryce Bader is the only injured player on Calgary’s roster at the moment, as he’s been sidelined since the pre-season with a high ankle sprain.

Former Prince Albert Mintos forward Cael Zimmerman is in his second year with the Hitmen and has recorded two assists in eight games.

Tuesday’s Schedule

  • Spokane vs. Brandon – 6 p.m.
  • Kootenay vs. Lethbridge – 7 p.m.
  • Swift Current vs. Vancouver – 8 p.m.
  • Tri-City vs. Seattle – 8 p.m.

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