Hildebrand, penalty kill shine as Raiders start road trip with win over defending WHL champion Oil Kings.

Photo by Nathan Reiter. Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Landon Kosior handles the puck at a home game during the 2022-2023 season

It wasn’t easy, but a strong penalty kill unit and a great performance in net by Max Hildebrand lifted the Prince Albert Raiders to a 2-1 victory over the defending WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings at Rogers Place on Friday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says that Prince Albert played well in the victory.

“I thought that we had a real committed performance here tonight. Guys came out with a lot of energy and were physical in the first period to set the tone a little bit. I liked our attention to detail early on and it carried through for us.  Overall, I thought that we had committed to in our meeting earlier in the day.”

The Edmonton Oil Kings would open the scoring at the 12:27 mark of the first period as Jaxsen Wiebe, making his season debut for Edmonton would get his first goal of the season.

Prince Albert would answer just over two minutes later as the Raider captain Nolan Allan would pick up his second road goal of the season to tie the game at 1.

Shots were even 10-10 after the first period.

The Oil Kings seemed poised to strike early in the second period after Harrison Lodewyk got a stick into the face of Edmonton forward Dawson Seitz sending Lodewyk off for four minutes with a high sticking double minor.

But the Raiders would strike short handed as Landon Kosior would pick up his fourth goal of the season short handed to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.

Truitt says the penalty kill unit did the job

“There were times when I thought we could’ve been more aggressive. But we had guys blocking shots and your goaltender needs to be your best penalty killer and [Hildebrand] certainly was. We had some timely clears when we were hemmed in our zone. I thought as a unit, they worked and made some nice plays.”

Edmonton outshot the Raiders 10-8 in the second period.

In the third, Max Hildebrand stood tall in the net for Prince Albert against the Edmonton siege. Overall, he stopped 26 of 27 Oil King shots to earn his first regular season victory in the WHL

Truitt says Hildebrand stood tall when it mattered most for the Raiders

“He was real solid. He faced some quality shots in the second period when we took penalties and he stood tall. I’m real proud of Max and the way he has performed here. I think he should have had a couple wins earlier in the season, but we didn’t give him any support. To get this one for him early on in the year is huge.”

The next game for the Raiders is on Saturday night when they take on the undefeated Red Deer Rebels at the Peavy Mart Centrium.