It’s been a miserable December for the Moose Jaw Warriors, and the Prince Albert Raiders made sure it stayed that way.
The Raiders struck early and often on Saturday, skating away with a 5-1 win and handing the Warriors their ninth consecutive defeat.
Despite the comfortable margin of victory, Raiders coach Marc Habscheid said there’s still room for improvement.
“We were just okay, to be quite honest,” Habscheid said afterwards. “The score kind of flattered us a bit and as a matter of fact, they outshot us in the first period. I thought our depth guys carried us tonight.”
Recently acquired forward Michael Horon was one of those depth players who gave the Warriors fits Saturday evening. The Lethbridge, Alta. product opened the scoring just three minutes into the first period when he deposited a cross-ice feed past Warriors netminder Adam Evanoff.
It was Horon’s first goal with the Raiders since being acquired from Seattle on Nov. 9, and the second of his young career.
Horon was at it again just six minutes later when his centering pass deflected in off Moose Jaw defenceman Chase Hartje’s stick.
“He was good,” Habscheid said when asked about Horon’s performance. “He was one of the guys who stepped up and for depth guys to do that is good…. All of our depth guys are probably the reason we won tonight.”
The Raiders were 37.5 seconds away from taking their 2-0 lead into the first intermission, but Warriors captain Owen Hardy brought the game to a halt with his 14th of the season. Hardy calmly slipped the puck between the legs of Raiders starting goalie Carter Serhyenko, causing a lengthy delay as Moose Jaw fans littered the ice with stuffed animals as part of the club’s annual Teddy Bear Toss Game.
It was the only hiccup in an otherwise stellar night for Serhyenko, who made 28 saves to earn his fourth win of the season.
“He’s a good goalie. It’s very simple,” Habscheid said. “He may be a young guy, but he’s a very good goaltender.”
That was as close as the Warriors got. Evan Herman restored the two goal lead with a short-handed tally five and a half minutes into the second. Tyson Laventure made it 4-1 less than two minutes later when he deposited his own rebound on a tough angle shot from the bottom of the circle.
The Raiders got some additional insurance at 13:07 of the third period on another cross-ice pass. Former Warrior Daniil Stepanov was the recipient, firing home a feed from Reece Vitelli for his fourth of the season, and second against his old team.
The win gives the Raiders a 19-6-3-1 record with four games to go until the Christmas break. The Warriors, meanwhile, fall to 9-16-1-0.
The Raiders are back home for a rare Wednesday night tilt at the Art Hauser Centre. They’ll take on the Medicine Hat Tigers, with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.
That contest will also see the Wawanesa Toy Drive in support of the Optimist Club of Prince Albert. Fans can bring a new and unwrapped toy for donation to the Optimist Club’s Santa Anonymous and can also be entered into a draw to win a trip for two to the 2020 Memorial Cup in Kelowna, B.C.
Thanks to Michael Horon’s two-goal outing, all of the players that are currently on the Raiders’ roster that have dressed for a game this season have scored a goal for the club.
Tyson Laventure earned his first career WHL assist during the first period on Horon’s first marker of the frame.
Moose Jaw’s nine-game losing streak is the second longest in the league this season, as the Regina Pats dropped 10 in a row from Sept. 21 to Oct. 18.
It’s also the club’s longest skid since a nine-game run from Jan. 10 to Feb. 1, 2014.
Aliaksei Protas, Ilya Usau and call-up Niall Crocker did not dress for the Raiders, while the Warriors scratched Daemon Hunt, Alek Sukunda, Peyton McKenzie and Cade Hayes.
- Calgary 3 Edmonton 2 (Jett Woo Overtime Winner – Mark Kastelic – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Everett 5 Medicine Hat 0 (Cole Fonstad – One Goal and Two Assists – Dustin Wolf – 41 Saves – Fifth Shutout This Season and 16th Career)
- Portland 3 Prince George 0 (Joel Hofer – 25 Saves – Fourth Shutout This Season and Eighth Career)
- Regina 3 Red Deer 2 (Zach Wytnick – Two Assists)
- Kelowna 4 Saskatoon 3 (Ethan Ernst Shootout Winner – Kaedan Korczak – Two Assists)
- Spokane 4 Tri-City 3 (Cordel Larson – One Goal and Two Assists – Beck Warm – 46 Saves)
- Lethbridge 5 Swift Current 3 (Dylan Cozens – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Victoria 3 Seattle 1 (Brandon Cutler – Two Goals)
- Winnipeg 5 Kamloops 4 (Michal Teply Overtime Winner – One Goal and One Assist)
Wednesday’s contest will be the second matchup of the season between the Tigers and the Raiders, with Medicine Hat coming away with a 4-2 win on Nov. 23 at the Canalta Centre.
After suffering a 5-0 loss to the Everett Silvertips on Saturday, the 20-8-1-0 Tigers will look to return to the win column Tuesday when they’ll visit the Saskatoon Blades.
The Tigers made a splash on the trade front prior to that game as they acquired 20-year-old defenceman Dylan Plouffe, 18-year-old forward Lukas Svejkovsky and third round picks in the 2020 and 2021 WHL Bantam Drafts from the Vancouver Giants in exchange for 20-year-old forward Tyler Preziuso, 19-year-old blueliner Trevor Longo, a first round pick in 2020 and a fifth round pick in 2021.
Plouffe led all Giants blueliners in scoring at the time of the trade with 22 points in 28 games, while Svejkovsky was tied for seventh in team scoring with 10 points in 18 games.
Preziuso, who was an assistant captain for the Tigers, was fifth on the team in scoring with 22 points in 28 games, while Longo had 10 points in 27 games.
Forward Jonathan Brinkman and goaltender Mads Sogaard will not be in the lineup for the Tigers on Wednesday as they are both playing for Denmark at the Division I World Juniors in Minsk, Belarus.
- Everett vs. Calgary – 5 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Vancouver – 6 p.m.
- Prince George vs. Portland – 7 p.m.
- Kelowna vs. Brandon – 7 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Moose Jaw – 7 p.m.
- Medicine Hat vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
- Spokane vs. Seattle – 9 p.m.
- Medicine Hat vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Regina – 7 p.m.
- Kelowna vs. Winnipeg – 7:30 p.m.
- Swift Current vs. Edmonton – 8 p.m.
- Red Deer vs. Lethbridge – 8 p.m.