With a pair of fights, two penalty shots, highlight-reel saves and multiple scoring chances, Sunday’s matchup at the Brandt Centre in Regina between the Prince Albert Raiders and the Swift Current Broncos had a little bit of everything for Western Hockey League observers.
When the final buzzer sounded, it was the Raiders that came away with the victory as they snapped a three-game losing skid with a 4-2 triumph over a Broncos side that has suffered five straight defeats.
“We played a full 60 minutes and everyone had a good game today,” Raiders blueliner Landon Kosior said. “You’re able to get a good result when everyone is on the same page.”
“Swift Current played a pretty good game today and our guys found a way to overcome some adversity,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid added. “Give our guys credit for finding a way.”
Kosior, who has fired a bevy of shots on goal this year but had only found the net once going into Sunday, broke a 1-1 tie midway through the third period as he wired a shot through traffic and by Broncos netminder Reid Dyck.
“It was definitely nice to get that goal,” said Kosior, who last scored on March 25 against the Regina Pats. “I had a couple of chances today and it was a good feeling to finally get the puck in the back of the net and help the team out.
Raiders netminder Max Paddock also had a bounce-back performance as he made 35 saves.
His best stop came in the opening frame as he reached out to make a diving stop with the paddle of his stick on Broncos forward Michael Farren.
“That was probably the save of the year,” Kosior said. “It’s great to know that you have a guy like that behind you.”
“He was good today and we needed him to be,” Habscheid added. “We talked to both of them (Paddock and fellow netminder Carter Serhyenko) as their play as of late has not been what it needs to be.
“Your goaltender has to be your best player on certain nights and Max’s play today was a big difference compared to what’s gone on in the last few games.”
Eric Pearce had a goal and an assist to help the Raiders improve their record to 5-8-2-1, while Spencer Moe contributed to the cause with a pair of helpers.
Michael Horon and Evan Herman also found the back of the net for the second straight game.
Aiden Bulych had two assists to lead the way on offence for the Broncos, who now have a 3-12-1-0 mark.
Cole Nagy and Mathew Ward both scored in the setback, which saw Dyck stop 33 shots.
The Raiders are now off until Tuesday evening when they’ll take on the Regina Pats at 8 p.m.
Sunday’s contest was the last in the WHL Hub Centre for Raiders blueliner Nolan Allan as he will self-isolate at his home in Davidson before heading to Texas to play for Canada at the World Under-18 Hockey Championship later this month.
Allan, who is a ‘B’ rated prospect by NHL Central Scouting for this summer’s draft, had a goal and an assist in 15 games during his sophomore campaign.
During the second period of play, Broncos forward Michael Farren and Raiders forward Evan Herman both received penalty shots but were unable to find the back of the net.
This marked the first time that both teams had a penalty shot during a Raiders game since March 4, 2017 when the Kootenay Ice visited the Art Hauser Centre.
During the third period of play, Parker Kelly scored on Jakob Walter to give the Raiders an 8-0 lead, while Jake Elmer was turned aside by Ian Scott.
In addition to earning an assist on Eric Pearce’s goal, Reece Vitelli dropped the mitts for the first time in his WHL career on Sunday as he got into a fight with Broncos forward Eric Houk in the opening frame.
Ozzy Wiesblatt extended his point streak to five games during the victory as he recorded an assist on Pearce’s marker.
Kaiden Guhle, Adam McNutt, Niall Crocker and Max Hildebrand did not dress for the Raiders on Sunday, while the Broncos were without the services of Alex Moar, Daylan Weigel, Raphael Pelletier, Josh Davies, Karson King, Carter Stebbings and Brady Birnie.
Protas Scores for Hershey
Aliaksei Protas recorded his first American Hockey League goal on Sunday afternoon for the Hershey Bears as they picked up a 2-0 home win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
After putting up 18 points in 58 games this year for Dinamo Minsk in the KHL, Protas has two points in four games for the Bears and has been reunited with former Raiders linemate Brett Leason.
- Kamloops 4 Victoria 3 (Connor Zary – Four Assists – Adam Evanoff – 56 Saves)
- Seattle 3 Tri-City 2 (Henrik Rybinski – One Goal and One Assist)
- Saskatoon 3 Brandon 2 (Nolan Maier – 42 Saves)
Heading into a Monday evening contest with the Winnipeg Ice, the Pats have a 6-6-2-1 record and are on a one-game losing streak.
After losing their season opener to the Raiders by a score of 6-3 on March 12, the Pats won the rematch with their provincial rivals on March 25 in a 5-2 affair.
Rookie sensation Connor Bedard, who is tied Winnipeg’s Peyton Krebs for the league scoring lead with 28 points, will not be in the Pats lineup for the rest of the year as he’ll be joining Canada’s Under-18 squad in Texas.
His linemate Carson Denomie is tied with Bedard and Dylan Guenther of the Edmonton Oil Kings for the league lead in goals with 12, while blueliner Ryker Evans is on a five-game point streak and is second in defensive scoring with 17 points.
On the injury front, Jacob Dewitt, Makai Mitchell, Cole Carrier, Jakob Brook and Jake Johnson are all currently on the sidelines for the Pats.
- Regina vs. Winnipeg – 6 p.m.
- Red Deer vs. Lethbridge – 7 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Prince George – 8 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Moose Jaw – 4 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Seattle – 7 p.m.
- Spokane vs. Everett – 8 p.m.
- Prince Albert vs. Regina – 8 p.m.