On a night where the Prince Albert Raiders offence wasn’t firing on all cylinders, Ian Scott came up big for his teammates.
The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect stopped all 26 shots he faced Friday at the Art Hauser Center for his second shutout of the playoffs as the Raiders earned a 1-0 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings in Game 1 of the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference final.
“I’m just trying to have as much fun as possible,” Scott said. “It’s not hard to wake up and be excited for these games at this time of the year.
“I thought we played a pretty good game in our own end tonight. Our guys made a lot of key blocks and that’s important when you are in the playoffs.”
Scott, who made 21 saves on March 22 in a 3-0 win over the Red Deer Rebels for his first career post-season shutout, was at his best in the third period as the Oil Kings fired 11 shots on net.
He made a couple of big saves on Vince Loschavio in the final minutes and also turned aside David Kope and Scott Atkinson on scrambles in front of the net during the last minute of regulation.
“Ian’s a premier goalie at this level and we need him to make key stops like that when we don’t have our game going,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said.
“Edmonton showed why they are a good team tonight, but I think we can be much better. We didn’t have our legs going at times, but the guys made some smart plays when we needed them to.”
The only goal of the contest came at the 1:48 mark of the second period when Ozzy Wiesblatt threw a backhanded shot in front of the net that bounced off the stick of Oil Kings defender Wyatt McLeod and went past netminder Dylan Myskiw.
“It’s nice to get a bounce like that after I had a tough series against Saskatoon,” Wiesblatt said. “We’ve been working a lot in practice on getting as many pucks on net as possible and luckily it went in.”
“When the puck came into the centre there I just lost track of it,” McLeod said. “It was a tough bounce on that one.”
Myskiw turned in an excellent showing for the Oil Kings as the reigning Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Week turned aside 23 shots.
“He’s been our rock all year,” McLeod said. “He was huge for us today, but the way he played was pretty typical of what he’s done this season.”
When the two sides square off again Saturday in a 7 p.m. affair at the Art Hauser Centre, the Raiders will welcome forward Justin Nachbaur back to the lineup after he served a two-game suspension for an interference major penalty and a game misconduct penalty he received for a hit on Saskatoon Blades defenceman Dawson Davidson in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal last Friday.
“It’ll be nice to have his big body and his presence back in the lineup, as it will allow us to do some things offensively,” Habscheid said.
“We didn’t generate as much on offence tonight as we usually do, but those are all things we can fix going into tomorrow.”
With Friday’s showing, Scott became the first Raiders netminder to earn multiple shutouts in the post-season since Rejean Beauchemin accomplished that feat in 2005.
This marks the second time that the Oil Kings have been held off the scoresheet in this year’s playoffs, as Mads Sogaard stopped 32 shots in a 5-0 win for the Medicine Hat Tigers in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final matchup on March 26.
In addition to the suspended Nachbaur, forward Cole Nagy was the other scratch for the Raiders are Cole Fonstad returned to action after missing two games due to an injury.
Defenders Jacson Alexander, Logan Dowhaniuk, Aidan Lawson and Keagan Slaney did not dress for the Oil Kings, along with forwards Dylan Guenther, Jalen Luypen and Carter Souch.
- Vancouver 4 Spokane 1 (Vancouver leads 1-0 – Owen Hardy – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Rouyn-Noranda 5 Rimouski 1 (Rouyn-Noranda leads 1-0 – Justin Bergeron – Three Assists)
- Drummondville 3 Halifax 1 (Drummondville leads 1-0 – Felix Lauzon – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Ottawa 6 Oshawa 4 (Ottawa leads 1-0 – Marco Rossi – Two Goals and Two Assists)
- Saginaw 7 Guelph 2 (Saginaw leads 1-0 – Cole Perfetti – Two Goals and Two Assists)
- Oshawa vs. Ottawa (Game 2) – 12 p.m.
- Guelph vs. Saginaw (Game 2) – 5 p.m.
- Rimouski vs. Rouyn-Noranda (Game 2) – 5 p.m.
- Halifax vs. Drummondville (Game 2) – 5 p.m.
- Edmonton vs. Prince Albert (Game 2) – 7 p.m.
- Spokane vs. Vancouver (Game 2) – 8 p.m.