After taking part in last year’s World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in New Brunswick, Kaiden Guhle and Ozzy Wiesblatt were able to parlay their showings at the event into a strong second half in their rookie seasons for the Prince Albert Raiders.
Twelve months later, Nolan Allan is hoping to do the same thing as the 16-year-old blueliner is back with the Western Hockey League club after taking part in this year’s tournament in Swift Current earlier this month.
“You have the chance to play a little bit more, which definitely helps on the confidence side of things,” Allan said.
“It was a great experience in Swift Current and there’s a lot I can take from it now that I’m back with the Raiders.”
The 16-year-old from Davidson had an assist in five games for Canada Red, who finished in fifth place following a 6-2 win over Sweden in the fifth place game.
“We just couldn’t get the win in the quarter-final against Canada White, which sucked, but I felt like we played well all week,” Allan said.
“We had seven defencemen so we pretty much played with everyone on the blueline, but I felt like I did well down there and I did whatever the coaches asked of me.”
Although Allan had experience from competing in major tournaments in the past, such as the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer back in February, this marked the first time that he was involved with Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence.
“It’s a once in a lifetime experience to play for your country at home and it was great,” said Allan, who joined Cole Sillinger of the Medicine Hat Tigers as the only Saskatchewan born players at the tournament.
“The fan support was amazing and there were a few surprises along the way. Since we are all the same age, there isn’t that adjustment you have to make for playing against older and stronger guys, but the pace of the game is pretty similar to what it is in the WHL.”
Allan, who has three points in 16 games this year, and the rest of the Raiders are starting a three-game road swing through Alberta on Wednesday against the Red Deer Rebels.
They will then visit the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday night before taking on the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday.
Rookie defenceman Braydon Clark was reassigned by the Raiders on Tuesday and is headed to the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League.
A third round pick in the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, the 17-year-old Langley, B.C. had no points in nine games for the team.
Ilya Usau has joined teammates Kaiden Guhle, Ozzy Wiesblatt, Jakob Brook and Landon Kosior in the latest NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch list that came out last week.
The 18-year-old, who is fifth in team scoring with 18 points in 22 games, was given a ‘C’ rating and currently projected to be a fourth to sixth round pick next June.
- Swift Current 2 Regina 1 (Isaac Poulter – 48 Saves)
- Brandon 4 Medicine Hat 0 (Ethan Kruger – 32 Saves – Second Shutout This Season)
- Edmonton 3 Prince George 2 (Dylan Guenther – Two Assists)
- Winnipeg 5 Seattle 2 (Reece Harsch – One Goal and Two Assists)
Wednesday’s matchup at the Westerner Park Centrium is the second of the year between the Rebels and the Raiders, as Red Deer came away with a 3-2 triumph at the Art Hauser Centre on Nov. 9.
Following a 4-3 home victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings Saturday, the Rebels are in fifth place in the Central Division with a 7-11-0-3 mark and are three points back of the Wheat Kings for the second and final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Raiders forward Eric Pearce is day-to-day with an upper body injury that he sustained during Saturday’s road game against the Regina Pats, while Rebels rookie blueliner Kyle Masters is week-to-week with a lower body injury that occurred at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge earlier this month.
- Calgary vs. Regina – 7 p.m.
- Lethbridge vs. Swift Current – 7 p.m.
- Prince Albert vs. Red Deer – 8 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Kamloops – 9 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Portland – 9 p.m.
- Victoria vs. Kelowna – 9 p.m.
- Saskatoon vs. Spokane – 9 p.m.