Raiders and Oil Kings set to clash for first time since early 2020

The Raiders will host the Edmonton Oil Kings for the first time since Jan. 24, 2020. --Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

The Prince Albert Raiders beat the Edmonton Oil Kings the last time the two teams met on Jan. 24, 2020, and the Raiders will look to continue that trend when they meet again on Wednesday.

The Raiders beat the Oil Kings 3-2 at the Art Hauser Centre during that last meeting. With three straight wins, they’re feeling good heading into a rare Wednesday night game.

“We’re on a good momentum swing right now,” said Raider forward Sloan Stanick, who recorded a hat trick in the Raiders 5-2 win in Saskatoon on Saturday.

“Edmonton’s a very good team in this league, and it’ll be a really good test for us. We’ve had a good couple days of practice, so we’ll be ready to go.”

With the four WHL divisions being split up and playing in their respective hub centers, these two teams did not meet last season. On Wednesday, the rivalry that the two clubs have built up over the last three seasons will continue. The Raiders best the Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference Final in 2019, on their way to winning their first WHL Championship since 1985.

Prince Albert is riding a three game winning streak, winning both games over the Saskatoon Blades last weekend, as well as picking up a win in Brandon on Oct. 30.

Raider goaltender Carter Serhyenko has played a big part in those wins for the Raiders, making 24 saves in all three wins, giving up just four goals on a combined 76 shots in that stretch. He also knows how big this game will be against the Oil Kings.

“It’s a big test for us,” Serhyenko said. “It’ll be good to see how we compare to them. I think if we do everything the right way and play how we have been playing, we’ll give them a good game and hopefully come out with the win.”

Meanwhile, Edmonton has played .500 hockey over their last four games, winning against Calgary and Lethbridge, but dropping a game against the Hitmen, as well as the Red Deer Rebels in overtime.

The Oil Kings are currently sitting first in the WHL’s central division, but not comfortably. They have a 9-3-1-1 record, holding just a one point edge over the Rebels.

Dylan Guenther, a ninth overall pick by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, has led the way for Edmonton so far this season. Six goals and eight assists have him in a three way tie for team scoring lead with Jalen Lumpen and Carter Souch. All three have 14 points.

If there is one thing that the Oil Kings hold bragging rights over the Raiders for, as well as the rest of the WHL, it’s that they are the only team to defeat the Winnipeg Ice this season, winning a 3-1 contest on Oct. 29 in Edmonton.

It’s the fourth time that the Raiders will play an Alberta team this season, and the second time they’ve hosted an Alberta team. They beat the Medicine Hat Tigers 3-2 in a shootout the last time a team from the Western border came to Prince Albert, so they will hope to grab another two points and continue rolling how they have been.

After the rough start the Raiders got off to starting the season, it seems as though they have found their stride again, now that they seem to have solidified the roster. They now sit just one point behind Regina for third spot in the East division, and have a chance to jump ahead of them with a win on Wednesday.

In the 2019-20 shortened season, Prince Albert went 3-0-1 against the Oil Kings. They’ll hope to have the same kind of success against their Alberta rival this season.

Puck drop on Wednesday from the Art Hauser Centre is at 7pm.