Raider offence flies high in statement win over Calgary

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. The Prince Albert Raiders celebrate a first period goal by Niall Crocker during WHL action Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Prince Albert Raiders continued their winning ways and extended their win streak to three, downing the Calgary Hitmen 7-2 at the Art Hauser Centre on Friday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says he saw contributions across the lineup in the victory.

“I liked our effort right from the start. Getting on the board pretty early, our power play certainly helped out.  The five on three penalty kill was outstanding and Max Hildebrand again stood tall for us.  I thought we had more guys involved here tonight, which was great. Getting contributions from a lot of different guys for a lot of different reasons and I think that was a big focus. “

Prince Albert would get an early opportunity on the man advantage as David Adazynski would be given a double minor for high sticking.

The Raider power play would have several opportunities with hitting the post on multiple occasions before Niall Crocker found twine at the 6:07 mark. Aiden Oiring and new addition Jacob Hoffrogge assisted on the game’s opening goal.

Hoffrogge, in his Raider debut after being acquired from the Edmonton Oil Kings says he enjoyed the support he received from the Art Hauser Centre crowd.

“I didn’t feel nervous at all. I love the fans here. They’re always cheering. So, it was nice to get a win.”

Hoffrogge, a 20-year-old, earned praise from Truitt in his first game donning the Raider sweater.

“I liked his versatility. Five-on-five, power play, penalty kill. He’s a smooth skating defenseman that knows what to do with the puck.  He calms things down, lets things develop before he makes plays and they are good plays. (He is a) good decision maker, great awareness on the ice. I thought he played a really good, complete game for us tonight.“

The Raider lead would be doubled at the 8:29 mark of the first period. After a scramble in front of Hitmen netminder Alex Garrett, Aiden Oiring found the loose puck and sniped a wrist shot past the rookie. The goal was unassisted.

Calgary would cut the lead back to a single goal at the 9:21 mark. After a hooking penalty against Brayden Dube, Oliver Tulk would fire a one-timer past Max Hildebrand, Carter Yakemchuk and Sean Tschigerl assisted on the play.

The Raider offence would continue to fly high in the first period as they would strike at the 11:27 mark. Ryder Ritchie would set up shop in Gretzky’s office and feed a perfect pass onto the tape of Aiden Oiring who ripped home his second goal of the night and fifth of the campaign. Raider captain Eric Johnston provided the secondary assist.

Oiring credits Ritchie’s vision for his second of the night.

“Ritchie did beautiful work down low on the second goal.” He said in a post game interview. “I just found myself empty in front of the slot and just fed me high slot and just put her in the net. Ritchie’s doing a great job on our line and Krzysztof is a great addition. “

Shots favored the hometown Raiders 15-10 after the first period.

It wouldn’t take long for the Raiders to strike in the second period. Krzysztof Macias would fire a shot through traffic and past Garrett to extend the Raider lead to 4-1. It was the sixth marker of the campaign for ‘The Polish Prince’. Jacob Hoffrogge and Ryder Ritchie provided helpers.

Calgary would have a chance to strike back with an extended look on a 5-on-3 power play in the second period when Justice Christensen and Aiden Oiring were sent off for minor infractions.

The Raider penalty kill would weather the storm and not give up any ground. Truitt says Prince Albert did an excellent job of blocking shots and passing lanes.

“That could have been the difference. There’s no doubt five on three for a lengthy period of time. We denied lanes and we blocked a lot of shots. I thought that was a real key force and that was the difference. “

An insurance marker would come from the Raiders at the 12:54 mark of the third period. Oli Chenier would feed Hayden Pakkala at the mouth of the crease and the Okotoks, Alberta product would make no mistake for his first goal of the campaign.

Carter Yakemchuk would strike for the Hitmen at the 16:57 mark of the third period. Oliver Tulk picked up his second point of the night with an assist.

The Raiders would add a power play tally from Terrell Goldsmith and an even strength goal from Matej Kubiesa in the final minutes to secure the 7-5 victory.

Max Hildebrand turned away 30 Hitmen shots to earn the victory in net. 

The Raiders return to action Saturday night in Moose Jaw against the Warriors. Puck drops at 7 p.m.