‘No margin for error’

The Medicine Hat Tigers return to the Art Hauser Centre on Wednesday, their first appearance in Prince Albert since Saskatchewan Rush night on Nov. 25, 2016. (File photo)

Raiders hope to keep playoff dream alive as they face Medicine Hat

The Prince Albert Raiders are kicking off the final month of the WHL regular season with a home game against the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The game is the second in a six-game home stand that sees the Raiders take on teams from the Central and Eastern Divisions. The Raiders enter the game on the heels of a 4-2 win over the Saskatoon Blades.

“Winning breeds confidence and confidence breeds winning so we want to keep that going and we want to make sure we’re doing the right things,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said.

“Sometimes when you win you try to find different ways to accomplish the same thing and that’s when you start to lose. So we want to guard against that but we’re playing against very good teams and our guys are a really good group of kids so we know that they’ll bring their game come Wednesday.”

The Tigers are the second-ranked team in WHL, trailing only the Regina Pats. Medicine Hat and P.A. have faced off three times this season, with the Tigers claiming victory on all three occasions while outscoring the Raiders by a combined 14-4.

“They’re quick, they’re fast, they’re skilled, they play and up-tempo game. They thrive on space so we want to take that away from them,” said Habscheid, adding that the Raiders have been working on all aspects of their game heading into Wednesday’s bout.

“You go through peaks and valleys in a season and we’re playing pretty well right now so you just mainly want to touch on certain areas that you think might be deficiencies or might be starting to fracture to make sure that those are where they should be.”

The Raiders are 18 points behind the Calgary Hitmen for the final wildcard playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That means that with nine games remaining in the regular season, Raiders have a chance, if the hockey gods smile upon them, to catch up to Calgary’s point total to face the Hitmen in a tiebreaker game.

“We’re still striving to make the playoffs. We are. We met with our leadership group, we do on an ongoing basis, and they still believe we can make the playoffs. We have not been officially eliminated so our goals to make the playoffs,” Habscheid said.

“We have nine games in the regular season. We have no margin for error so our guys are motivated no matter who we play or whether it be in-division, out-of-division. We need points, we need to run the board and get some help and we need to win games. So that’s their motivation right there.”


Tale of the Tape

On March 1 the Prince Albert Raiders welcome the Medicine Hat Tigers to the Art Hauser Centre. This is the final time the teams meet this season.

Record: Prince Albert — 17-40-4-2; Medicine Hat — 44-18-1-0

Last 10: Prince Albert — 4-5-1-0; Medicine Hat — 8-2-0-0

Top scorers: Prince Albert — Simon Stransky (40 points); Medicine Hat — Chad Butcher (89 points)

Goals for/against: Prince Albert — 164/254; Medicine Hat — 302/212

Last meeting: Mason Shaw scored a goal and added an assist to help the Tigers to a 3-2 win over the Raiders at the Canalta Centre in Medicine Hat, Alta. on Feb. 8, 2017.