It was a rough afternoon for the Prince Albert Raiders on Monday in Regina.
Not only did they drop a 4-0 decision to the Saskatoon Blades at the Brandt Centre, but star forward and San Jose Sharks first round pick Ozzy Wiesblatt left the ice and did not return following a play where he crashed hard into the boards right-shoulder first after being shoved from behind by Chase Wouters at the 11:50 mark of the third period.
Wouters, who is the Blades captain, received a five-minute major penalty for cross checking and a game misconduct on the play.
“He’s out…that’s all I know right now,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said after the game.
“It wasn’t a great hit and those are the hits we want out of our game. It’s unfortunate…but it was a dangerous hit. He could have broken his neck.”
Wiesblatt’s injury capped off a physical contest that left both teams shorthanded.
Raiders forward Evan Herman and underage Blades blueliner Tanner Molendyk both left the ice early with undisclosed injuries and Raiders rookie Logan Linklater received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for butt-ending Blades forward Colton Dach early in the final frame.
“Our hands aren’t clean either,” Habscheid said.
“That was a bad penalty and it’s not acceptable. The Raiders play hard and play straight-up. That’s not how we play.”
The game itself was controlled by the 8-0-1-0 Blades, who have now won six straight contests and are enjoying their best start in franchise history.
After taking a 2-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes, the Blades limited their rivals to just nine shots on net in the first two periods as they doubled their cushion.
The Raiders peppered Blades netminder Nolan Maier with 15 shots in the final frame, but they were unable to close the gap.
“I thought we competed for the most part tonight,” Habscheid said. “We’ve got 10 guys, including some key guys, that are out (with injuries and not being able to join the team), but we just kept battling and finding a way.
“Carter (Seryhenko) probably didn’t have his best game and their pucks found a way to get in the net. Give our guys credit though, as they scratched and clawed all night.”
Dach led the way for the Blades with two goals and an assist, while linemate Tristen Robins had a goal and an assist each.
Wouters also scored in the contest, which saw Maier stop all 24 shots he faced for his first shutout of the year.
Seryhenko made 28 saves for the Raiders, who saw their record drop 3-4-1-1.
The Raiders will be back in action on Tuesday at 4 p.m. as they’ll go up against the 6-2-1-0 Brandon Wheat Kings to wrap up a three games in four days stretch.
The one highlight of Monday’s contest for the Raiders was the WHL debut of blueliner Terrell Goldsmith, who was the club’s first round pick in last April’s Bantam Draft.
“I think he’s got like size 15 feet,” Habscheid joked. “He moves well for a big guy and he has a good first pass. I think he’ll do fine.”
Goldsmith joins Connor Bedard (Regina Pats), Brayden Yager (Moose Jaw Warriors), Zachary Benson (Winnipeg Ice), Brady Birnie (Swift Current Broncos) and Molendyk as members of the 2020 draft class to suit up in the East Division hub.
Maier, who earned his eighth career shutout on Monday, also picked up his 85th win in Blades uniform to move into a tie for first place in team history with Tim Cheveldae.
The Yorkton product has shutout the Raiders on three occasions, with the first coming in a 1-0 contest on Dec. 9, 2018 and the other occurring on April 9, 2019 in another 1-0 encounter during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal round.
Tristen Robins extended his scoring streak to six straight games in the win, while Blake Stevenson saw his five-game run of form come to an end.
Kaiden Guhle, Spencer Moe, Kyle Crosbie and Max Paddock did not dress for the Raiders, while the Blades were without the services of Josh Paulhus, Sammy May, Ben Saunderson, Spencer Shugrue, Pavel Bocharov and Ethan Chadwick.
- Brandon 5 Swift Current 2 (Chad Nychuk – One Goal and One Assist)
- Calgary 2 Edmonton 1 (Brayden Peters – 41 Saves)
- Everett 6 Tri-City 1 (Gage Goncalves – Three Goals and One Assist – First Career Hat Trick)
- Medicine Hat 5 Lethbridge 4 (Oren Shtrom Overtime Winner – Cole Clayton – Three Assists)
- Portland 7 Seattle 4 (Nick Cicek – Three Assists)
- Vancouver 6 Kelowna 0 (Tristen Nielsen – Three Goals and Two Assists – Second Career Hat Trick – Trent Miner – 20 Saves – Fifth Career Shutout)
- Winnipeg 4 Moose Jaw 1 (Peyton Krebs – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Regina 9 Swift Current 4 (Connor Bedard – One Goal and Three Assists)
- Prince George 5 Victoria 3 (Connor Bowie – Three Goals – First Career Hat Trick)
Around the WHL
Moose Jaw Warriors captain Daemon Hunt did not suit up for his team on Sunday night as served a one-game suspension for a checking to the head major penalty and game misconduct he received on Saturday following a collision with Raiders forward Reece Vitelli.
Spokane Chiefs forward Jack Finley has joined a number of players who are out for the rest of the year as the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect will soon undergo shoulder surgery.
Finley, who played in two games last month for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, was fifth in team scoring during the 2019-20 campaign with 57 points in 61 games.
The WHL announced on Monday that eight games in the East Division hub were having their start times moved from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The two Raiders contests that are affected are a Thursday, April 8 meeting win the Blades and a Saturday, April 24 encounter with the Wheat Kings.
The Wheat Kings, who are currently enjoying a three-game win streak, will be looking to gain a measure of revenge on the Raiders after they dropped a 5-3 encounter to their divisional rivals on March 16.
Blueliners Chad Nychuk and Braden Schneider, who is from Prince Albert, have recorded eight points so far this season and are tied for fourth place among all defenceman in the WHL in scoring.
Forward Ben McCartney and Lynden McCallum are currently leading the way up front for the Wheat Kings as they are enjoying seven and six game point streaks going into Tuesday’s contest.