Balanced offensive attack propels Raiders past Cougars

The depth that the Prince Albert Raiders have on their roster was in full effect Wednesday night.

Six different players scored for the top ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League as they started off their six-game road swing through British Columbia with a 6-2 win over the Prince George Cougars.

Although the Cougars were able to tie the game up at two early in the second period, the Raiders dominated from there as the scored for unanswered goals and outshot their opponents by a 49-25 margin on their way to the third straight victory.

Overager Sean Montgomery led the way for the visitors with a goal and an assist, while Sergei Sapego dished out two helpers.

Aliaksei Protas, Parker Kelly, Justin Nachbaur, Cole Fonstad and Noah Gregor also scored in the triumph, which saw Gregor record 11 shots on net.

Ian Scott made 23 saves for the 38-5-0-1 Raiders, who have won their last three games.

The 16-23-1-2 Cougars, who saw a two-game win streak end Wednesday, got their goals from Jackson Leppard and Mike MacLean.

Draft eligible netminder Taylor Gauthier turned in a strong showing for the hosts as he turned aside 43 shots.

The Raiders will continue their west coast adventure Friday as they’ll go up against the Kamloops Blazers.

The opening faceoff is set for 9 p.m. Saskatchewan time.

Post-Game Notes

Wednesday’s game marked the first time that Max Martin was back in Prince George since he was part of the trade in November 2016 that sent Brendan Guhle to the Cougars.

Martin picked up an assist in his return to the CN Centre on Gregor’s third period goal.

Although the Cougars lost Wednesday, they still lead the Seattle Thunderbirds by one point and the Kamloops Blazers by two markers in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

They are also three points back of the Kelowna Rockets, who have lost six straight games, for third in the B.C. Division standings.

Bryce Bader and Loeden Schaufler did not dress for the Raiders, while the Cougars scratched Cole Beamin, Cameron MacPhee and Reid Perepeluk.

Around the WHL

Kelowna Rockets assistant captain Erik Gardiner, who played for the Prince Albert Mintos from 2014-16, announced his retirement from hockey Wednesday.

“Due to health and personal reasons, I thought it was time to step away,” Gardiner said in a statement.

“I want to focus on different things and take care of myself. I want to thank the Kelowna Rockets, my family and the Western Hockey League for allowing me the chance to live out my dream of playing Major Junior hockey.”

The 19-year-old from Humboldt, who is the younger brother of former Raiders forward Reid, had 51 points in 114 WHL games over the last three years with the Regina Pats and the Rockets.

Wednesday’s Scores

  • Kootenay 4 Regina 3 (Curtis Meger – 26 Saves)
  • Medicine Hat 4 Edmonton 3 (James Hamblin Shootout Winner – Two Assists)
  • Moose Jaw 5 Kelowna 1 (Josh Brook – Three Assists)
  • Vancouver 5 Tri-City 4 (Bowen Byram Overtime Winner – Two Goals and One Assist)

Tuesday’s Scores

  • Kootenay 2 Swift Current 0 (Peyton Krebs – One Goal and One Assist – Jesse Makaj – 16 Saves – First Career Shutout)
  • Moose Jaw 5 Kamloops 2 (Justin Almeida – Two Goals and Two Assists)

Sunday’s Scores

  • Swift Current 4 Brandon 2 (Riley Lamb – 47 Saves)
  • Edmonton 4 Lethbridge 1 (Trey Fix-Wolansky – One Goal and Two Assists
  • Vancouver 3 Victoria 2 (Davis Koch – One Goal and Two Assists)

Pre-Game Notes

Following Tuesday’s 5-2 defeat to the Warriors, the Blazers find themselves at the bottom of the B.C. Division with a 15-23-2-1 mark.

Forward Jeff Faith will not be in the lineup for Kamloops Friday as he serves the fourth game of a five-game suspension for a hit on Remy Aquillon of the Victoria Cougars earlier this month.