Blades hand Raiders first regulation loss in Regina bubble

Photo Courtesy of Keith Hershmiller/WHL Saskatoon Blades forward Blake Stevenson battles for position with Ozzy Wiesblatt of the Prince Albert Raiders during the bubble season in Regina.

After an impressive showing on Tuesday afternoon against the Brandon Wheat Kings, the Prince Albert Raiders were on the opposite side of the scoresheet on Friday in Regina.

In their first meeting in the East Division bubble with their biggest rivals, the Raiders dropped a 3-1 contest to the Saskatoon Blades at the Brandt Centre and were handed their first regulation loss of the year in the process.

“We were just okay tonight,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said. “We started off a little bit slow, but I thought (Max) Paddock played well and Saskatoon played a real good game.

“It wasn’t our best game, but it wasn’t our worse game.”

Eric Pearce had the lone goal for the 2-1-0-1 Raiders in the contest, which saw Max Paddock turn aside 20 shots.

“I thought we were working hard out there but the bounces just didn’t go our way,” Pearce said.

“We gave up a couple of four-on-four goals, so we can clean that part of our game up a bit, I thought our work ethic was there tonight.”

The Blades, who improved their record to 3-0-1-0, received a two-assist showing from San Jose Sharks prospect Tristen Robins.

Aidan De La Gorgendiere, Caiden Daley and Rhett Rhinehart scored in the triumph, while Nolan Maier made 17 saves, with his best stop coming in the third period as he came across his crease to stop a rebound attempt by Landon Kosior.

“Our guys played a heck of a hockey game,” Blades head coach Mitch Love said in a post-game interview with team announcer Les Lazaruk. “They really honed in on some of the details that we focused in on over the last day or so.

“I felt it was a collective effort by everybody and we had some young guys that really improved from our last game.”

The Raiders will look to return to the win column on Sunday at 4 p.m. when they’ll take on the 3-1 Winnipeg Ice, before a Monday matinee with the Swift Current Broncos.

“We’ve lost a bunch of guys and we have a lot of young guys in the lineup, but we’re holding our own,” Habscheid said.

“We’re just going to keep getting better every day and making sure that we are playing as a group, in addition to having them playing the best that they can.”

Post-Game Notes

The AHL’s Hershey Bears announced on Thursday that Aliaksei Protas will be joining the club for the rest of the season.

Protas, who spent the last two years with the Raiders and is a signed prospect of the Washington Capitals, had 18 points in 58 regular season games this year for Dinamo Minsk in the KHL.

Rhinehart’s second period marker was his first in a Blades uniform after being acquired from the Prince George Cougars last January.

Kaiden Guhle and Logan Danis did not dress for the Raiders, while the Blades scratched Ben Saunderson, Pavel Bocharov, Ethan Chadwick, Josh Paulhus, Marek Schneider and Sammy May.

Wednesday’s Scores

  • Winnipeg 2 Saskatoon 1 (Peyton Krebs Overtime Winner – Connor McClennon – Two Assists)
  • Regina 3 Swift Current 2 (Carson Denomie – Two Goals)

Thursday’s Scores

  • Winnipeg 5 Moose Jaw 2 (Peyton Krebs – One Goal and One Assist)
  • Tri-City 3 Portland 2 (Samuel Huo Overtime Winner – Talyn Boyko – 27 Saves)
  • Brandon 4 Swift Current 1 (Nolan Ritchie – Two Goals and One Assist)

Friday’s Scores

  • Edmonton 5 Red Deer 0 (Josh Williams – Three Goals and One Assist – Second Career Hat Trick – Sebastian Cossa – 34 Saves – Fifth Career Shutout)
  • Lethbridge 3 Calgary 1 (Bryan Thomson – 34 Saves)
  • Seattle 4 Spokane 3 (Payton Mount Shootout Winner – Adam Beckman – One Goal and Two Assists)

Around the WHL

The Red Deer Rebels will be without captain Jayden Grubbe for the rest of the season after he underwent ACL surgery this week for a knee injury he suffered on March 12 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Grubbe, who is eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft, had three points in five games for the Rebels and was coming off of a 29-point rookie campaign.

Cole Sillinger, who normally plays for the Medicine Hat Tigers, will represent the USHL in the All-American top prospects game on April 7 in Plymouth, Mich.

A projected first round pick in this summer’s draft, the Regina product was loaned out to the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede in January and had 36 points in 22 games to lead the team in scoring.

Pre-Game Notes

In their first season as East Division rivals, the Ice and Raiders split their six meetings in 2019-20, with Winnipeg earning a 3-0 home triumph over Prince Albert on March 8, 2020 in the final game for the Raiders prior to the pandemic.

Ice blueliner Carson Lambos, who is a projected first round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, left the bubble earlier this week for a medical procedure in Winnipeg.

He’s expected to make a full recovery, with the team saying they’ll provide more information at a later date.

Forward Chase Bertholet, who spent the last two years with the Prince Albert Mintos, has two assists in three games this season.

Saturday’s Schedule

  • Moose Jaw vs. Swift Current – 4 p.m.
  • Edmonton vs. Red Deer – 6 p.m.
  • Portland vs. Seattle – 6 p.m.
  • Lethbridge vs. Calgary – 7 p.m.
  • Spokane vs. Everett – 7 p.m.
  • Brandon vs. Regina – 8 p.m.

Sunday’s Schedule

  • Prince Albert vs. Winnipeg – 4 p.m.
  • Everett vs. Tri-City – 5 p.m.
  • Calgary vs. Lethbridge – 6 p.m.
  • Red Deer vs. Edmonton – 6 p.m.
  • Spokane vs. Portland – 6 p.m.
  • Saskatoon vs. Moose Jaw – 8 p.m.