An improved showing at home by the Prince Albert Raiders proved to be the catalyst for a return to the win column Saturday night.
Coming off of a 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings Friday at the Art Hauser Centre, the Raiders came away with a 4-3 triumph over the Moose Jaw Warriors in another back-and-forth battle between the East Division rivals.
“We’re trying to win games here and everyone’s treating playing us like it’s a Game 7, which I think is going to be good for us in the long run,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said. “If we don’t bring our ‘A’ game, we’re going to lose.
“We had a great showing against a team that was on a (four-game) winning streak and I thought we deserved to win the game. Their power play was good and they made us pay, but I thought we played really well when it was five-on-five.”
Nearly two minutes after Justin Almedia tied the game on the power play, Brett Leason struck with 2:25 left in regulation as he put home his 32nd goal of the season after converting a feed from Noah Gregor.
Gregor had almost put the hosts out in front moments earlier but was turned aside on a breakway by Warriors netminder Brodan Salmond.
“That was some great timing for sure on our part,” Leason said. “It was a back and forth game and it was nice for us to pop back ahead there with the lead for the last few minutes, especially after they had just tied it on the power play.
“We played fast and smart tonight, plus we stuck to our system for the whole game. Moose Jaw brings it every time that we play them so we need to stick with what we do best when we go against them.”
Ian Scott turned in a strong performance after being pulled a night earlier as the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect made 28 saves for his 29th win of the season.
“The biggest thing for me tonight was just making sure that I was battling hard out there and staying with it,” Scott said.
“You are going to have nights like Friday where you have some rough patches, but as long as you are working hard and you have the right mindset, things will get better.”
Jett Woo paced the offence for the 28-12-6-2 Warriors with three assists, as the visitors scored all of their goals on the power play.
Almeida and Josh Brook had a goal and an assist each, with Brayden Tracey rounding out the scoring and Salmond stopping 31 shots.
The Raiders will now embark on a four-game road trip that begins with a visit to the Oil Kings Monday before a Friday night matchup with the Calgary Hitmen at the Stampede Corral.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played a game there, unless it was with my dad’s men team or something,” said Scott, who is one of six Calgary products on the Raiders roster.
“It should be an exciting atmosphere. I saw a few videos from the game there the other night (against the Brandon Wheat Kings) and it looks like there will be a lot of fans coming out to watch us.”
After taking on the Lethbridge Hurricanes next Saturday night, the Raiders will wrap up their road trip on Wednesday, Feb. 13 against the Swift Current Broncos.
Thanks to his assist on Sean Montgomery’s second period goal, Brayden Pachal set a new mark for the longest point streak in his career at six games.
Jett Woo also extended his point streak to six games Saturday, while Justin Almeida has found the back of the net in five straight contests.
Both of Kaiden Guhle’s WHL goals have come against the Warriors, as the Raiders rookie scored his first career marker at Mosaic Place on Oct. 24.
Loeden Schaufler was the lone scratch for the Raiders, while blueliners Matthew Benson and Matthew Sanders did not dress for the Warriors, along with forwards Tate Popple and Cameron Sterling.
- Edmonton 4 Saskatoon 3 (Trey Fix-Wolansky Overtime Winner – Conner McDonald – Two Goals)
- Calgary 5 Red Deer 1 (Mark Kasetlic – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Lethbridge 4 Swift Current 2 (Jordy Bellerive – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Medicine Hat 5 Brandon 0 (Mads Sogaard – 16 Saves – Second Career Shutout)
- Kelowna 2 Kamloops 1 (Lassi Thomson Overtime Winner – Trevor Wong – First Career Goal)
- Portland 6 Spokane 5 (Jake Gricius Shootout Winner – Cross Hanas – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Vancouver 4 Prince George 2 (Dylan Plouffe – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Tri-City 2 Victoria 1 (Kyle Olson Shootout Winner – Beck Warm – 33 Saves)
- Everett 7 Seattle 2 (Connor Dewar – Four Goals and Two Assists – First Hat Trick This Season and Second Career)
Monday’s meeting between the Oil Kings and Raiders was originally slated for Wednesday night, but was moved back two days due to a rescheduled Justin Timberlake concert at Rogers Place.
Despite losing 6-3 to the Oil Kings at the Art Hauser Centre Friday, the Raiders hold a 2-1 advantage in the season series and have won their last two road games in Edmonton.
Following a 5-4 overtime road win over the Saskatoon Blades Saturday, the 29-15-4-4 Oil Kings have a four-point lead over the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the Central Division and are tied with the Everett Silvertips for the longest win streak in the WHL at the moment at four games.
Defenceman Conner McDonald has been leading the charge for the Oil Kings as of late as he’s scored seven goals and dished out three helpers during a six-game point streak.
Rookie forward Jake Neighbours was back in the lineup Saturday in Saskatoon, but draft eligible blueliner Matthew Robertson did not dress for the second straight game.
- Prince Albert vs. Edmonton – 8 p.m.