Dominant first propels Raiders past Warriors

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Prince Albert Raiders forward Noah Gregor listens in on a conversation with his teammates after he scored a second period goal against the Moose Jaw Warriors Monday.

After a pair of losses to the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Prince Albert Raiders made sure that they wouldn’t finish the Family Day weekend on a losing note.

In a rare Monday matinee affair at the Art Hauser Centre, the home side outshot the Moose Jaw Warriors by a 20-6 margin and scored three times in the opening frame on their way to a 4-3 victory.

“I liked the whole game from start to finish,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said. “We didn’t cheat the game in any way and it a was strong showing all the way through, except for the last couple of minutes when we took some penalties and we didn’t get a save there as they closed the gap.

“Our compete level was good, we were better with our structure and we were on the right side of pucks.”

The line of Cole Fonstad, Noah Gregor and Ozzy Wiesblatt dominated proceedings as the Warriors were unable to slow them down during the course of the game.

Gregor led the charge for the Raiders with two goals and two assists, while Wiesblatt banged home a rebound in the opening frame and Fonstad helped set up Gregor’s second period marker.

“Our line had some decent chances against Brandon and we tried to just built off of that today,” Gregor said. “We seemed to be finding each other right from the start and all of us were skating well, which I think was the key for us having a good night.

“This was the type of game that our team needed after those losses to Brandon. We all came out strong and it was a good bounce back game for us.”

Gregor also had an assist on Sean Montgomery’s power play goal in the first period as the San Jose Sharks prospect recorded his fifth four-point outing of the season.

“That was a good game for everybody to see about Noah and why he can be frustrating at times,” Habscheid said.

“When he’s indifferent to the game, you don’t notice him and he doesn’t help the team. Then you have nights like tonight where he’s the best player in the league by far. When he puts his mind to it, he can be a dominant player. He just needs to get a hold of doing that on a consistent basis.”

Boston Bilous made 23 saves for the Raiders and had a shutout bid going until Tristan Langan found the back of the net at the 8:31 mark of the third period.

The 31-16-6-2 Warriors almost tied things up late as Brayden Tracey scored twice in the final two minutes in a pair of six-on-four situations, but it proved to be too little too late.

Adam Evanoff made 17 saves in the opening period but was pulled after 20 minutes in favour of Brodan Salmond, who stopped 21 shots in the final two periods.

The 47-8-1-2 Raiders will continue their five-game home stand Friday at 7 p.m. as they will welcome the Kootenay Ice to the Art Hauser Centre for the final time.

The Ice will be leaving Cranbrook, B.C. at the end of the 2018-19 campaign and will play out of Winnipeg starting next season.

Post-Game Notes

Overage forward Dante Hannoun had an assist on Sean Montgomery’s power play goal in the first period as he extended his point streak to eight games.

That matches his longest run in the WHL, as he went on a pair of eight game streaks with the Victoria Royals last year and also reached that mark in 2016-17.

Brayden Tracey’s two third period markers put the Warriors rookie forward back in the lead among first year players in the league with 27, which puts him two goals ahead of Spokane Chiefs forward Adam Beckman.

Brett Leason and Ian Scott were out of action for the fifth straight game for the Raiders, while Max Martin did not dress Monday after he took a shot off the helmet in the late stages of Saturday’s matchup with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

As a result of the injuries, forward Cole Nagy was called up from the Saskatoon Blazers to suit up in his second WHL game after he made his debut on Wednesday in Swift Current.

Twin brothers Keenan and Kaeden Taphorn were among the scratches for the Warriors, along with forward Alec Zawatsky and defenceman Drae Gardiner.

Monday’s Scores

  • Brandon 3 Swift Current 2 (Cole Reinhardt Overtime Winner – Isaac Poulter – 39 Saves)
  • Edmonton 5 Medicine Hat 0 (Vladimir Alistrov – One Goal and Two Assists – Dylan Myskiw – 38 Saves – First Career Shutout)
  • Lethbridge 5 Kootenay 2 (Calen Addison – Three Assists)
  • Kamloops 3 Tri-City 1 (Connor Zary – Two Goals)
  • Everett 4 Prince George 1 (Max Patterson – One Goal and One Assist)
  • Kelowna 5 Victoria 2 (Kyle Topping – One Goal and One Assist)
  • Portland 5 Vancouver 3 (Joachim Blichfeld – Three Goals and One Assist – Fourth Hat Trick This Season and Fifth Career – Cracked the 50-Goal and 100-Point Plateau)

Sunday’s Scores

  • Portland 5 Seattle 2 (Joachim Blichfeld – Three Goals and One Assist – Third Hat Trick This Season and Fourth Career- Portland Clinches 10th Straight Playoff Berth)

Tuesday’s Schedule

  • Everett vs. Prince George – 9 p.m.
  • Red Deer vs. Tri-City – 9 p.m.
  • Kelowna vs. Victoria – 9 p.m.

Wednesday’s Schedule

  • Calgary vs. Brandon – 7 p.m.
  • Kootenay vs. Regina – 7 p.m.