Once the Prince Albert Raiders got rolling on Wednesday night, the Red Deer Rebels didn’t have an answer for them.
Seven different players scored for the defending Western Hockey League champions at the Westerner Park Centurium as they cruised to a 7-1 triumph over their Central Division foes.
When asked what was the key to the Raiders impressive showing on the road, Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid immediately mentioned the performance of forward Justin Nachbaur.
“We weren’t very good in the first period and I think we didn’t get our first shot on goal until around the nine minute mark,” Habscheid said.
“Justin was one of a very few guys that were engaged early on. He stuck up for a teammate (Kaiden Guhle) early and tried to spark the team with a fight (against Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe). He got a goal a little later on and he was the main guy that carried us along tonight. He deserves a lot of credit.”
Rookie forward Evan Herman led the way on the stat sheet for the Raiders with a goal and two assists, as The Pas, Man. product has recorded eight of his 11 points this season in his last six games.
“He’s getting more used to the league, which helps, but Evan’s also a good player,” Habscheid said.
“He’s quick out there, which allows him to get on the puck, and he’s got some good skill. Plus, the best part about him is the fact that he’s a really good teammate.”
Spencer Moe and Aliaksei Protas each had a goal and an assist in the triumph, while Landon Kosior dished out a pair of helpers.
Guhle, Jakob Brook and Tyson Laventure also scored for the 15-4-3-1 Raiders as they earned their second straight victory.
Although it might not be evident by the final score, Boston Bilous made a number of big stops on his way to a 24-save outing.
Bilous was 98 seconds away from earning his third shutout of the year, but Jayden Grubbe broke the goose egg with a top-shelf snipe.
“If Red Deer has scored first when we struggling a little bit, the game could have been completely different,” Habscheid said. “But Boston was there to make some key saves for us.”
Ethan Anders made 23 stops for the Rebels, who fell to 7-12-0-3 with the loss.
The Raiders will continue their three-game Alberta swing on Friday night when they’ll take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes at 8 p.m.
Wednesday’s triumph marked the first time that the Raiders had scored seven goals on the Rebels since Oct. 1, 2011, when they picked up a 7-2 triumph at the Art Hauser Centre.
In addition to increasing his point streak to five games, Aliaksei Protas moved back into the WHL scoring lead with his two-point night.
His 34 points are one ahead of James Hamlin of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Connor Zary of the Kamloops Blazers.
Michael Horon recorded his first point as a Raider in the second period as he had an assist on Tyson Laventure’s goal.
Eric Pearce and Cole Nagy did not dress for the Raiders, while the Rebels scratched Kyle Masters and Blake Gustafson.
Around the WHL
Former Prince Albert Raiders forward Nikita Krivokrasov has found a new home as he was dealt by the Tri-City Americans to the Prince George Cougars on Monday for a conditional eighth round pick in the 2020 WHL Draft.
The 18-year-old, who made his Cougars debut Tuesday in a 3-2 home loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings, had four points in 10 games for the Americans after spending the majority of last season with the NAHL’s Corpus Christi IceRays.
- Kamloops 10 Seattle 1 (Max Martin – Four Assists – Connor Zary – Three Goals – First Hat Trick This Season and Second Career)
- Kelowna 4 Victoria 1 (Kaedan Korczak – One Goal and One Assist)
- Portland 3 Vancouver 1 (Jake Gricius – Two Goals)
- Calgary 4 Regina 2 (Mark Kastelic – Two Goals and Two Assists)
- Spokane 5 Saskatoon 1 (Bobby Russell – Two Goals)
- Lethbridge 6 Swift Current 2 (Zack Stringer – Three Assists)
Friday’s meeting between the Hurricanes and the Raiders is the second of the campaign between the two sides, as Prince Albert picked up a 4-2 win at the Art Hauser Centre on Oct. 11, 2019.
After a 6-2 road win over the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday, the 15-6-0-3 Hurricanes have won two straight games and are tied with the Edmonton Oil Kings for first place in the Central Division.
The two clubs are also one point back of the Raiders for the top spot in the standings.
The Hurricanes feature the league’s leading goal scorer in Oliver Okuilar, who has found the net 17 times, and top scoring blueliner in Alex Cotton, who is enjoying a career year with 25 points.
Cotton is also on an eight-game point streak, which is one game back of Everett Silvertips forward Cole Fonstad for the longest run of form in the WHL at the moment.
Jacob Boucher is the only player that’s currently sidelined for the Hurricanes as he’s out for the rest of the campaign due to an injury he suffered against the Medicine Hat Tigers on Sept. 21.
- Regina vs. Swift Current – 7 p.m.
- Calgary vs. Brandon – 7:30 p.m.
- Prince Albert vs. Lethbridge – 8 p.m.
- Moose Jaw vs. Medicine Hat – 8:30 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Prince George – 9 p.m.
- Winnipeg vs. Tri-City – 9 p.m.
- Edmonton vs. Victoria – 9 p.m.
- Saskatoon vs. Everett – 9:30 p.m.
- Kelowna vs. Seattle – 9:30 p.m.