Gregor settling in with Raiders

Photo Courtesy of Byron Hackett/Red Deer Advocate Prince Albert Raiders forward Noah Gregor moves the puck before Oleg Zaytsev of the Red Deer Rebels can get to it during a game in Red Deer last weekend.

Although Noah Gregor had gone face-to-face with many members of the Prince Albert Raiders during his time with the Moose Jaw Warriors, he didn’t know the players that well until he joined up with them last week in Alberta.

So far, the transition process has gone smoothly for the overage forward, as the San Jose Sharks prospect has put up seven points in four games with his new team.

“It’s an older group with a winning mentality, so it was pretty easy for me to jump in with these guys,” Gregor said.

“There’s definitely similarities with the strong teams I’ve been a part of in Moose Jaw and Victoria, especially with the work ethic. Prince Albert’s always had hard working teams since I’ve been in the league and they were always a tough opponent. Now they have the skill to match that.”

Gregor has built an immediate connection with Ottawa Senators prospect Parker Kelly, as the pair has been involved in four goals, including two that were scored shorthanded.

“Parker and I have been in the league for awhile now and I think we both have the confidence to make plays,” Gregor said.

“We’ve been able to find each other early and we’ve been working well so far.”

Gregor was acquired by the Raiders from the Victoria Royals in July, but didn’t officially become a member of the roster until last Tuesday when the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda reassigned him.

“There was a bit of a bittersweet feeling at first as I was hoping to start my pro career, but I knew that I would be coming to a strong team here in Prince Albert,” Gregor said.

“We have a chance to go on a long playoff run here and I want to do whatever it takes to help this team win a championship.”

Gregor also hopes that his time in Prince Albert will also help him in his goal of making the NHL, as he signed an entry level contract with the Sharks in April.

“Obviously it’s still pretty fresh with training camp having finished up recently, but they check in every now and then with me, and there’s a few things that they want me to work on here with the Raiders as they want to see me grow and get ready for the pro game,” Gregor said.

“Now that I’ve signed a contract with them, I have to prove that the investment they’ve made in me is a worthwhile one. It’s up to me to continue to show them that I’m a good prospect and that I can play at the NHL level one day.”

In his previous four seasons in the WHL with the Warriors and the Royals, the Beaumont, Alta. product put up 198 points in 212 games and 23 points in 28 playoff contests.

“My game’s definitely changed a bit since I first came into the league,” Gregor said. “The core part of how I play has stayed the same for the most part, but I have a lot more confidence after getting the chance to play more of my game in Victoria after being behind some big name guys while I was in Moose Jaw.

“I loved my time there, but I had chance to play in some different opportunities when I was with the Royals that weren’t quite there with the Warriors. I think that’s helped me out a lot, especially with coming to Prince Albert as there’s a lot of trust between ‘Habby’ (Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid) and I already.”

Local hockey fans will get their first glimpse of Gregor in a Raiders uniform Saturday when the Red Deer Rebels come to the Art Hauser Centre for a 7 p.m. contest.

The team, who are now ranked second nationally by the CHL and have an 8-1 record to lead the WHL’s East Division, will then travel to Saskatoon to visit the Blades Sunday at 2 p.m. at SaskTel Centre.

Pre-Game Notes

On Thursday the Raiders parted ways with defenceman Konrad Belcourt, who is now expected to join the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The 18-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alta. played in 23 games for the Raiders after being acquired from the Kelowna Rockets in January and did not record a point.

With Jakob Brook already sidelined with an upper body injury, the Raiders are now without the services of overage forward Kody McDonald, who left Monday’s game against the Calgary Hitmen during the second period of play.

McDonald is out indefinitely with an undisclosed lower body injury, while Brook’s status is day-to-day.

Saturday’s meeting with the Rebels will be the second of the season for the Raiders, who dropped a 4-3 affair to them in Red Deer last weekend.

That triumph was the fifth in a row for the Rebels, who have a 5-2 record and are a point back of the Edmonton Oil Kings for the Central Division lead ahead of a road game with the Saskatoon Blades Friday.

Rebels blueliner Carson Sass is currently listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury after being hurt on a hit by Calgary’s Tristen Nielsen two weeks ago.

Tuesday’s Scores

  • Tri-City 6 Edmonton 4 (Kyle Olson – One Goal and Three Assists)

Wednesday’s Scores

  • Lethbridge 4 Regina 2 (Ty Kolle – Two Goals)
  • Portland 8 Edmonton 2 (Joachim Blichfeld – Five Assists)
  • Seattle 9 Kelowna 6 (Noah Philp – Four Goals – First Career WHL Hat Trick)

Friday’s Schedule

  • Moose Jaw vs. Brandon – 6:30 p.m.
  • Red Deer vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
  • Spokane vs. Swift Current – 7 p.m.
  • Regina vs. Kootenay – 7 p.m.
  • Lethbridge vs. Calgary – 7 p.m.
  • Prince George vs. Medicine Hat – 7:30 p.m.
  • Kelowna vs. Tri-City – 8 p.m.
  • Kamloops vs. Vancouver – 8:30 p.m.
  • Edmonton vs. Everett – 8:30 p.m.