Although the Prince Albert Raiders came out on the wrong end of a 4-3 shootout affair with the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday night, head coach Marc Habscheid was pleased with how his team performed at the Art Hauser Centre.
“It was a good weekend for us and we accomplished a lot of things,” said Habscheid, who was also referring to the team’s play in a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings a night earlier.
“We got our identity back and we got our foundation in place. They beat us in a skills contest, but it’s all good.”
It was also a good bounce-back performance for a Tigers side that had lost their two games, including a 6-5 affair with the Saskatoon Blades on Friday.
“That was a funny one last night,” Tigers general manager and head coach Willie Desjardins said. “We scored early and didn’t play well, but then we played well late and we didn’t score.
“I thought we played hard in both games, especially in the last half of the game in Saskatoon and then here tonight. It was a good playoff type game that could have gone either way once we got into the shootout.”
James Hamblin and Brett Kemp both solved Max Paddock in the skills competition, while Ozzy Wiesblatt countered for the Raiders.
The Tigers, who improved to 30-14-1-1 with the win and are in third place in the Central Division, were led on offence by blueliner Daniel Baker as he scored a goal and had an assist in regulation.
“He’s been big for us,” Desjardins said. “He’s starting to put up bigger numbers than last year and he always finds a spot to jump into the rush.”
Cyle McNabb dished out a pair of helpers for the visitors, who also got goals from Nick McCarry and Corson Hopwo to go along with a 19-save outing from Mads Sogaard.
Matthew Culling had a goal and an assist each for the 24-14-5-4 Raiders, while Wiesblatt had two assists and Paddock stopped 30 shots.
Landon Kosior and Kaiden Guhle also scored for the hosts, with Guhle’s game-tying marker coming a few minutes after he was on the receiving end of a knee-on-knee hit by Tigers forward Lukas Svejkovsky near the midway point of the third period.
“That’s why he’ll get drafted in the first round and probably play 30 years in the NHL,” Habscheid said. “He’s a good player.
“That was a dirty hit though and I hope the league looks at that. We don’t want that kind of hit in the game.”
The Raiders, who are again tied with the Winnipeg Ice for first place in the East Division, will return to action on Wednesday night as they’ll welcome the Victoria Royals to town for a 7 p.m. affair.
Tigers forwards James Hamblin and Lukas Svejkovsky were both held off the scoresheet on Saturday, which brought an end to their 16 and six-game point streaks.
Daniil Stepanov was the lone scratch for the Raiders, while the Tigers did not dress Nick Perna, Damon Agyeman, Elijah Brown and Caleb Willms.
- Lethbridge 6 Brandon 5 (Dylan Cozens Overtime Winner – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Swift Current 6 Moose Jaw 3 (Jaxan Kaluski – Three Goals – First Hat Trick This Season and Second Career)
- Prince George 3 Kamloops 1 (Taylor Gauthier – 37 Saves)
- Calgary 5 Red Deer 2 (Mark Kastelic – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Edmonton 3 Saskatoon 2 (Jake Neighbours – One Goal and One Assist)
- Portland 6 Seattle 5 (Cross Hanas Shootout Winner – Seth Jarvis – Two Goals and Two Assists)
- Spokane 7 Tri-City 2 (Luke Toporowski – One Goal and Three Assists)
- Kelowna 3 Vancouver 2 (Kaedan Korczak Overtime Winner – Roman Basran – 30 Saves)
- Winnipeg 5 Victoria 2 (Isaac Johnson – One Goal and Three Assists)
Around the WHL
Prince Albert Mintos blueliner Marek Schneider made his WHL debut Saturday for the Saskatoon Blades in their 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Schneider, who is the younger brother of Brandon Wheat Kings defenceman Braden, has five assists in 29 games this season for the Mintos.
The 16-year-old was a second round pick by the Blades in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft.
Wednesday’s matchup with the Royals is the fifth and final one of the season for the Raiders against an opponent from the B.C. Division.
They picked up wins over the Prince George Cougars and the Vancouver Giants, but lost to the Kamloops Blazers and the Kelowna Rockets.
The Raiders have won their last two meetings with the Royals, including a 4-1 contest in Victoria last season.
The Royals, who are mired in a four-game losing streak after a 5-2 setback against the Winnipeg Ice on Saturday, will visit the Saskatoon Blades on Tuesday before making the trip to Prince Albert.
They are currently in second place in the B.C. Division with a 25-17-3-0 record and are four points ahead of the Memorial Cup host Rockets in the standings.
Former Raider forward Carson Miller, who has 19 points in 29 games this season for the Royals, will be making his first trip back to the Art Hauser Centre after he was part of the Dante Hannoun trade last January.
Forward Sean Gulka is currently sidelined week-to-week with an undisclosed upper body injury.
- Red Deer vs. Calgary – 3 p.m.
- Saskatoon vs. Regina – 4 p.m.
- Moose Jaw vs. Winnipeg – 6 p.m.
- Spokane vs. Everett – 6 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Kelowna – 7 p.m.
- Victoria vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Edmonton – 8 p.m.
- Swift Current vs. Medicine Hat – 8 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Seattle – 9 p.m.
- Victoria vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.
- Winnipeg vs. Calgary – 8 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Red Deer – 8 p.m.
- Spokane vs. Kamloops – 9 p.m.