Raiders beat Wheat Kings 3-1; raise Johnny Bower’s Maple Leaf banner
The Prince Albert Raiders opened their two-game back-to-back weekend series against the Brandon Wheat Kings with a win at home on Friday night.
Cavin Leth finished with a two-point night and Ian Scott stopped 29 shots to earn First Star honours as the Raiders beat the Wheat Kings 3-1. The Raiders are now 4-0-1-0 versus Brandon on the season.
“It was a bit of a battle,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said of the match.
“They haven’t had much luck against us this year so I think they were pretty determined to try and get a win tonight but I liked our determination more. They brought some physical play and our guys brought it right back and it was a good, hard-fought game.”
Before the game, P.A. product and Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Johnny Bower’s retired number banner was raised as part of a celebration of the Leafs’ 100th season. The banner had previously hung from the rafters of Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, but the team is having new banners made and delivering the old ones to the players’ home towns. Bower was unable to attend the ceremony, but sent a video message.
“I’m sorry I can’t be here with you tonight but I’ll always have you in my heart,” Bower said.
Bower’s former teammate and fellow Leafs great Ron Ellis was on hand to say a few words.
“I think it’s wonderful the banner is being brought back to Johnny’s home town and when the ceremony’s done and it’s hanging here in this arena, hopefully young people are going to be inspired,” he told the crowd.
Ellis then performed the ceremonial puck drop and the game was on.
Raiders defender Zack Hayes opened scoring in the first, firing the puck through a crowd from the top of the circle to beat Brandon goalie Travis Child. The goal came on P.A.’s second shot of the night. After 20 minutes the Raiders led the Wheat Kings 1-0 despite being outshot 14-4 in the opening frame.
The Raiders would hold on to that 1-0 lead until late in the second period when Wheat Kings forward Tanner Kaspick tied the score, coming from behind the Raider net and beating goalie Ian Scott with a backhanded shot into the top corner.
Scoring chances were abundant in the latter half of the game, with both goalies eliciting cheers and gasps from the audience as they repeatedly turned shooters away.
In the third period P.A.’s Parker Kelly was awarded his second penalty shot in three games. Although he was able to beat Kootenay Ice goalie Jakob Walter on the penalty shot last Saturday, Kelly was unable to get past Child and the score remained tied 1-1.
Finally, with 2:42 to go in regulation, Raider centreman Cole Fonstand fooled Child with a slow wraparound to restore the P.A. lead. The Wheat Kings pulled their goalie for the extra attacker but Curtis Miske would skate the puck into the open net to seal the win for P.A.
The teams face each other again on Saturday night in Brandon. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.
Prince Albert 3, Brandon 1
- Prince Albert, Hayes 2 (Leth) 12:10
- Brandon, Kaspick 18 (Lewis, Duke) 18:22
- Prince Albert, Fonstad 10 (unassisted) 17:18
- Prince Albert, Miske 19 (Leth) 19:29 (en)
Goalies: Prince Albert – Ian Scott, 29 saves (W, 11-29-3-0); Brandon – Travis Child, 30 saves (x, 17-5-1-4).
Three Stars: 1. Ian Scott; 2. Travis Child; 3. Zack Hayes.