Moe and Laventure end goal droughts in win over Wheat Kings

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Spencer Moe fist bumps with his Prince Albert Raiders teammates after a goal against the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Spencer Moe and Tyson Laventure were both able to fling a monkey off of their back on Saturday night.

The Prince Albert Raiders forwards snapped 13 and 15 game goal droughts respectively at the Art Hauser Centre as they helped their team pick up a 4-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“Our line (which includes Brayden Watts and Aliaksei Protas) is finally coming back here after we were on a little bit of a slide for the last month or so,” Moe said. “It’s nice for us to get back on track here and hopefully we can carry this forward into the playoffs.

“This was a huge win for us and it helps us to build a bit of a gap (six points) here on Brandon. This could be a potential playoff series and we want to do our best to close out the season strong.”

Laventure, who recorded his first WHL assist on Friday night against the Swift Current Broncos, banged home a rebound in the second period to notch his fifth goal of his rookie campaign and his first on home ice.

“It’s pretty nice to get that goal and help the team get the win tonight,” Laventure said. “It’s obviously great to score one in the home barn. I love playing in front of the fans here.”

“‘Lav’ plays in a support role so it’s tougher for him to get those chances, but it ended up being a big goal that he scored as it turned out to be the game-winner,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid added.

Protas led the way on offence with a goal and an assist, while Ilya Usau also found the back of the net and Max Paddock turned aside 26 shots for the 30-16-5-4 Raiders.

Ridly Greig scored the lone marker and Jiri Patera made 25 saves for the 29-20-3-2 Wheat Kings, who saw a two-game win streak end on Saturday.

“There was a little bit of a playoff atmosphere here tonight,” Habscheid said. “The old Wheat Kings and Raiders rivalry is alive and well.

“It was a hard-fought game and I liked the way our guys competed. They were resilient and they did what they needed to do to get things done.”

The Raiders, who remain two points ahead of the Winnipeg Ice in the race for first place in the East Division, will look to earn their third straight win on Tuesday as they wrap up their homestand against the Regina Pats in a 7 p.m. tilt.

“We’re just trying to tighten up the little details here and get ready for playoffs,” Laventure said.

“We did exactly what we needed to do to get the win tonight and hopefully we can continue to carry that play through this weekend.”

Following their encounter with the Pats, the Raiders will head back out on the road next Saturday for a rematch with the Wheat Kings.

Post-Game Notes

Since joining the Raiders on Jan. 9 after a trade with the Pats, Max Paddock has put up a dazzling 8-2-0-2 record with a 1.48 goals against average, a .944 save percentage and two shutouts.

At the time of the deal, he had a 10-13-3-2 mark with a 3.31 goals against average, a .905 save percentage and two shutouts.

Daniil Stepanov was the lone scratch for the hosts, while the Wheat Kings did not dress Rylan Thiessen, Nolan Ritchie and Marcus Kallionkieli.

Prior to their meeting with the Pats, the Raiders will be hosting a public skate on Monday as part of the Prince Albert Winter Festival.

The Family Day event will be held at the Crescent Heights Community Club from 4 to 6 p.m.

Saturday’s Scores

  • Edmonton 5 Medicine Hat 2 (Dylan Guenther – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Everett 4 Portland 1 (Dustin Wolf – 30 Saves)
  • Kamloops 5 Victoria 1 (Logan Stankoven – Four Goals – First Career Hat Trick – Kamloops clinches a playoff spot for second straight season)
  • Red Deer 3 Kelowna 2 (Ben King – Two Assists)
  • Winnipeg 5 Lethbridge 2 (Jakin Smallwood – One Goal and One Assist)
  • Calgary 4 Prince George 2 (Orca Wiesblatt – Two Assists)
  • Vancouver 6 Seattle 2 (Milos Roman – Three Goals – First Career Hat Trick)
  • Saskatoon 6 Swift Current 4 (Kyle Crnkovic – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Spokane 6 Tri-City 4 (Adam Beckman – One Goal and Two Assists)

Pre-Game Notes

Tuesday’s game at the Art Hauser Centre will be the sixth and final meeting of the regular season between the Pats and the Raiders.

The Raiders won the first three encounters over their provincial foes, but the Pats bounced back with a pair of wins at the Brandt Centre on Nov. 16 and Jan. 1.

The Pats, who are coming off of a 5-3 road win on Friday against the Edmonton Oil Kings, will be hosting the Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday afternoon before making the trek to Prince Albert.

They are in fifth place in the East Division standings with a 19-31-2-3 record and 18 points back of the Saskatoon Blades for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Jakob Brook, who the Pats acquired in the Max Paddock trade, has yet to play for the club since undergoing knee surgery last month.

Former Raiders netminder Donovan Buskey has taken over the starting duties for the team and has an 8-7 record with a 4.25 goals against average and a .869 save percentage.

Sunday’s Schedule

  • Moose Jaw vs. Portland – 7 p.m.

Monday’s Schedule

  • Brandon vs. Regina – 2 p.m.
  • Lethbridge vs. Edmonton – 3 p.m.
  • Winnipeg vs. Medicine Hat – 3 p.m.
  • Victoria vs. Kamloops – 4 p.m.
  • Red Deer vs. Prince George – 4 p.m.
  • Seattle vs. Vancouver – 4 p.m.
  • Calgary vs. Kelowna – 4 p.m.

Tuesday’s Schedule

  • Regina vs. Prince Albert – 7 p.m.
  • Moose Jaw vs. Seattle – 9 p.m.