A full team performance moved the Prince Albert Raiders back into the win column on Saturday night as they brought a halt to a three-game slide with a 4-2 triumph over the Swift Current Broncos at the Brandt Centre in Regina.
“There was a lot more energy today than there was yesterday,” said Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid, who was looking for a better outing from his side after a 3-0 loss to the Winnipeg Ice. “That was a good response from the guys. They were more in tune with how they played and it was a good win.
“Tonight’s game was a full 60-minute effort,” Raiders overage forward Justin Nachbaur added. “Everybody bought into our structure and we accomplished what we’ve been preaching over the last couple of games.”
Nachbaur recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick in the first period of play as he assisted on Dallyn Peekeekoot’s first WHL goal, fired a shot past Broncos netminder Isaac Poulter and got into a fight with blueliner Kaleb Bulych.
He rounded out the evening with another assist on Eric Pearce’s empty net marker.
“That’s obviously pretty special,” Nachbaur said of his first career Gordie Howe hat trick. “It was a good pass by Ozzy (Wiesblatt) on the goal and to see ‘Peeks’ get his first goal tonight was awesome.
“I like to play a physical game and that (fight with Bulych) is what you have to do sometimes.”
Peekeekoot opened up the scoring just 67 seconds into the game as a shot from Nachbaur bounced off the rookie and Broncos blueliner Sam McGinley before crossing the goal line.
“It feels nice to get a good goal,” said Peekeekoot, who signed with the Raiders on Tuesday. “Well..it wasn’t a good goal, but it was a goal. I’ll take that any day.”
“Ten years from now, his description of that will be that he went behind our net and through eight guys, then he went back behind our net again, went through another eight guys and roofed it,” Habscheid joked.
“Dallyn’s really impressed the heck out of me. He’s always around the net and he’s an intelligent player. He plays smart and he’s earned his ice time.”
Wiesblatt had three assists in the triumph, while linemate Reece Vitelli dished out a pair of helpers.
Spencer Moe found the back of the net in the second period for his first goal of the year and Max Paddock made 19 saves to help the Raiders improve their record to 4-6-1-1.
“I thought all three of our 20’s were good tonight,” Habscheid said. “It was good to see Spencer get that goal as he’ll feel a lot better about things going forward. That was probably his best game of the year tonight.”
The 3-8-1-0 Broncos got their goals from Josh Filmon and McGinley, while Isaac Poulter turned aside 22 shots.
After taking Easter Sunday off, the Raiders will start their third go-around with the teams in the East Division hub on Monday with an 8 p.m. meeting against the 8-2-1-0 Brandon Wheat Kings.
“Consistency is the big thing for us right now,” Nachbaur said. “We need to play a full 60 minutes. We can’t play 58 or 59 minutes.
“If we play a full game every night, we’ll be successful.”
With the win over the Broncos, Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid picked up his 549th career WHL victory and moved ahead of Ernie “Punch” McLean for sixth place on the all-time list.
He’s 77 wins behind Lorne Molleken for fifth place.
Saturday’s game marked the fourth time that Justin Nachbaur had recorded three points in a contest during his WHL career.
He had a goal and two assists in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Red Deer Rebels on Jan. 7, 2020, and scored two goals and dished out a helper in a 5-3 win on Nov. 10, 2017 against the Kootenay Ice and an 8-2 triumph over the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Feb. 21, 2018.
Wiesblatt’s three assist showing was his second in the Regina hub as he accomplished that feat in a 5-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings on March 16.
The Broncos’ loss also saw the end of a seven-game point streak for blueliner Owen Williams and six-game runs of form for forwards Mathew Ward and Michael Farren.
Evan Herman, Michael Horon, Kaiden Guhle and Max Hildebrandt did not dress for the Raiders on Saturday, while the Broncos were without the services of Raphael Pelletier, Carter Stebbings, Brady Birnie, Karson King, Chase Lacombe, Alex Moar and Daylan Weigel.
- Edmonton 5 Red Deer 1 (Liam Keeler – One Goal and Two Assists)
- Winnipeg 5 Regina 2 (Peyton Krebs – Two Assists)
- Medicine Hat 6 Calgary 5 (Brett Kemp Overtime Winner – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Tri-City 3 Spokane 2 (Luke Zazula Overtime Winner – Samuel Huo – One Goal and One Assist)
- Everett 4 Portland 1 (Hunter Campbell – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Kamloops 4 Victoria 3 (Logan Stankoven Overtime Winner – Two Goals and Two Assists – Adam Evanoff – 48 Saves)
Ahead of a Sunday evening meeting with the Saskatoon Blades, the Wheat Kings are tied with the Medicine Hat Tigers for the longest win streak in the WHL with five.
After dropping a 5-3 decision to the Raiders on March 16, the Wheat Kings cruised to a 7-1 win in the rematch last Tuesday.
Rookie forward Jaxon Dube is the lone player with a long-term injury for Brandon as he’s out for one to weeks with a lower body injury according to the latest WHL Weekly Report.
Prince Albert’s Braden Schneider, who is a signed prospect of the New York Rangers, leads all blueliners on the team in scoring with 10 points in nine games.
- Brandon vs. Saskatoon – 6 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Spokane – 6 p.m.
- Vancouver vs. Prince George – 7 p.m.
- Moose Jaw vs. Regina – 4 p.m.
- Calgary vs. Medicine Hat – 7 p.m.
- Edmonton vs. Red Deer – 7 p.m.
- Brandon vs. Prince Albert – 8 p.m.
- Kamloops vs. Vancouver – 8 p.m.