Ice freeze out Raiders

Photo Courtesy of Keith Hershmiller/WHL Winnipeg Ice forward Owen Pederson redirects the puck past Prince Albert Raiders goaltender Max Paddock on Friday afternoon at the Brandt Centre in Regina.

Following a 3-0 setback to the Winnipeg Ice on Friday afternoon at the Brandt Centre in Regina, Prince Albert Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid was left wanting more from his team and his veteran players.

“That was one of our poorer efforts of the year,” Habscheid said. “When our guys play hard I’ll say it, even in a 7-1 defeat (like the Raiders had on Tuesday to the Brandon Wheat Kings), but that wasn’t the case here.

“Our older guys have to be our best players. We can throw out all the shorthanded lineup issues and things like that, but the one thing we can do is give a strong effort. Our young guys are trying and they make mistakes, which I get, but our older guys have to come through and be your go-to-guys. That just hasn’t happened.

“The one thing you can control is your effort and I didn’t like our effort tonight. We hardly hit a soul. You’ve got to bring it every night with only 24 games. For those older guys, this might be their last year or one of their last years in the league.”

Those feelings were echoed by Raiders forward Ozzy Wiesblatt, who returned to the lineup on Friday following a one-game absence after he left Monday’s contest with the Saskatoon Blades in the third period after being shoved into the boards by Chase Wouters.

“It’s just not good enough,” Wiesblatt said after the team’s third straight setback. “We need to get back into the win column and we need to figure some stuff out.

“We need to start playing as the Raiders and not as individuals. It starts with guys like me and I need to be better for the guys.”

Wiesblatt was the most dangerous forward for the Raiders on Friday and looked to have given the team a 1-0 lead at the midway part of the opening period, only to have his marker waved off following a review.

“The ref blew it (the call) and he knew it,” Habscheid said. “He blew the whistle too early.

“But that didn’t change the way the game was going or the effort at all. We pride ourselves on playing a good, honest, hard-working, physical game, and we didn’t do that.”

Special teams proved to be another major factor in the contest, as the Raiders were unable to convert on their five chances with the man advantage.

Meanwhile, the Ice scored a pair of goals in the second period during a five-minute power play for a charging major penalty on Raiders rookie forward Dallyn Peekeekoot for a hit he made on Jakin Smallwood.

“It was a great hit,” Habscheid said of the play, which resulted in Peeekeekoot’s ejection from the game.

“The guy (Smallwood) watched his pass, his (Peekeekoot) shoulders were down, his arms were down, his feet were planted, it was a clean hit.”

Smallwood was shaken up on the play but returned to the game later in the period.

Gage Alexander stopped all 31 shots he faced for the 7-4 Ice as he earned his first career WHL shutout.

“My team made things pretty easy,” Alexander said to Ice announcer Mitch Peacock after the game. “I was seeing pucks all night, I was battling all game long and it turned out great for our team.”

Cole Muir, Owen Pederson and Michael Milne provided the offence for Winnipeg, while former Prince Albert Mintos forward Chase Bertholet picked up an assist for his fifth point of the year.

Max Paddock returned to the Raiders net on Friday and made 15 saves.

The 3-6-1-1 Raiders will look to snap their three-game losing streak on Saturday at 8 p.m. as they’ll go up against the 3-7-1-0 Swift Current Broncos.

“I know it’s just a 24-game season and the Ed Chynoweth Cup isn’t going to be awarded this year, but this organization has built a lot of pride with what we do and how we play,” Habscheid said.

“If Swift Current beats us tomorrow, we’re in last place (in the East Division). That does not work with the Prince Albert Raiders, not a chance.”

Post-Game Notes

Alexander’s shutout performance was the first for the Ice against the Raiders since Liam Hughes made 27 saves in 3-0 win on March 8, 2020 in Winnipeg.

That proved to be the final game of the 2019-20 campaign for the Raiders as the season would later be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vegas Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs had an assist on Cole Muir’s goal to extend his point streak to 10 games, while Jakin Smallwood’s five-game run of form came to an end.

After signing with the Raiders earlier in the day, rookie netminder Max Hildebrand was in the lineup on Friday as he served as the team’s backup.

Mike Ladyman, Carson Lambos, Nolan Orzcek, James Form, Rhys Raeside and Daniel Hauser did not dress for the Ice, while the Raiders were without the services of Evan Herman, Kaiden Guhle, Terrell Goldsmith and Carter Serhyenko

Around the WHL

Saskatoon Blades captain Chase Wouters was given a three-game suspension on Wednesday as a result of cross checking major penalty and a game misconduct penalty he received on Monday for his third period hit on Ozzy Wiesblatt of the Raiders.

This marks the first time that the overage forward has ever been suspended by the WHL.

Meanwhile, Blades blueliner Rhett Rhinehart received a two-game suspension for supplemental discipline stemming from that game, which marked the second time that he had to sit for that discretion by the league this year.

Raiders forward Logan Linklater received a one-game suspension, which he served against Brandon on Tuesday, for a butt-ending major penalty and game misconduct penalty that he took in the third period against the Blades.

Wednesday’s Scores

  • Seattle 2 Everett 1 (Thomas Milic – 32 Saves)
  • Saskatoon 3 Winnipeg 2 (Nolan Maier – 29 Saves)

Thursday’s Scores

  • Swift Current 8 Moose Jaw 5 (Michael Farren – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Brandon 7 Regina 2 (Lynden McCallum – Two Goals)
  • Kamloops 6 Prince George 1 (Matthew Seminoff – Two Goals)

Friday’s Scores

  • Portland 6 Tri-City 2 (Seth Jarvis – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Medicine Hat 4 Calgary 1 (Lukas Svejkovsky – Two Goals)
  • Edmonton 9 Red Deer 2 (Logan Dowhaniuk – Two Goals and One Assist)
  • Everett 3 Seattle 1 (Cole Fonstad – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Moose Jaw 4 Saskatoon 0 (Boston Bilous – 29 Saves – Fourth Career Shutout)

Pre-Game Notes

The Broncos, who are coming off of an exciting 8-5 win over the Moose Jaw Warriors on Thursday, snapped a 23-game losing skid in their last meeting with the Raiders as they picked up a 5-2 triumph on March 22.

Broncos rookie forward Mathew Ward is tied with Peyton Krebs of the Winnipeg Ice and Cole Clayton of the Medicine Hat Tigers for the second most assists in the WHL this season with 13.

He’s also second in scoring among all first-year players in the league with 15 points.

Blueliner Owen Williams is currently on a seven-game point streak, while Ward and Michael Farren have recorded a point in their last six games.

On the injury front, blueliners Daylan Weigel and Alex Moar are both out of the lineup, along with forwards Raphael Pelletier and Carter Stebbings.

Saturday’s Schedule

  • Red Deer vs. Edmonton – 2 p.m.
  • Winnipeg vs. Regina – 4 p.m.
  • Medicine Hat vs. Calgary – 7 p.m.
  • Spokane vs. Tri-City – 7 p.m.
  • Portland vs. Everett – 7 p.m.
  • Prince Albert vs. Swift Current – 8 p.m.
  • Kamloops vs. Victoria – 8 p.m.