Although playoffs are not in the cards this year for the Prince Albert Raiders, the team finished the season on a high note with a 5-3 road victory over the Regina Pats at the Brandt Centre on Saturday night.
Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says the club’s 28th win of the season was a great way to close out the season.
“It’s very special. It’s always nice to win your last game and have something positive to remember the season by. Guys worked hard and it was great to see Evan Herman score, Sloan Stanick had a couple, Landon Kosior and Chaika played a good game for us. It’s very satisfying. I wish we could continue, but if there is a silver lining we came out with our 28th win.”
After a delay of game minor penalty against Regina’s Steel Quiring, the Raider power play would take advantage to open the scoring.
Aiden Oiring would strike for his 12th goal of the campaign and his 7th in a Raider uniform at the 16:39 mark of the first period. Easton Kovacs and Ryder Ritchie picked up helpers on the play.
Prince Albert outshot the homeside Pats 11-9 in the first period.
After the Pats would fail to clear the puck out of their zone, the Raiders would double their lead. Sloan Stanick recorded his 29th goal of the campaign at the 10:23 mark of the second period. Oiring and Ritchie would pick up their second points of the night with assists on the play.
Stanick wasn’t done there as he would sting his former club with his second goal of the evening and 30th on the season with a short handed goal at the 12:44 mark of the second period to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead heading into the dressing room after forty minutes.
Truitt says he was pleased with how the Raiders played on special teams.
“I thought we did some really good things. We had some really good looks moving the pucks well. Blocking shots and everything we needed to do on our special teams came together for us. They worked hard and it seemed to be the difference.”
Regina would chip into the deficit with Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Stanislav Svozil cutting the Raider lead to two with a backhand shot that fooled Radier netminder Tikhon Chaika for his 11th goal of the season just 2:59 into the third.
The Raiders wouldn’t take long to restore the three goal advantage as Sloan Stanick would finish off the hat trick at the 4:15 mark with his 31st goal of the season. Landon Kosior and Eric Johnston had assists on the play.
It was the first Raider hat trick against the Pats since Carson Miller potted three goals on Sept. 21, 2018. The most recent Raider hat trick was Evan Herman’s trio of tallies against the Edmonton Oil Kings on Jan. 2, 2022.
Truitt says Stanick played well, even with the game not having any meaning in terms of the postseason.
“He worked himself into some extremely good positions off the rush to get his shots. He just raised his level here at a time where there might not be anything to play for in terms of playoffs, but there was for pride and he rose to the occasion.”
In his final WHL game, Evan Herman would extend the Raider lead to 5-1 with his 18th goal of the season at the 8:54 mark of the third period. Hayden Pakkala would have the lone assist on the play.
Prince Albert product Tanner Howe would cut into the deficit with his 36th goal of the season at the 13:19 mark of the final frame to make the score 5-2 Prince Albert. Alexander Suzdalev had the lone assist.
Pat captain Connor Bedard would bring Regina within two with his league-leading 71st goal of the campaign at the 15:00 mark of the third period with a sharp wrist shot from the top of the left circle. Suzdalev and Howe had assists on the play.
That would be as close as Regina would get as Tikhon Chaika stopped 29 Regina shots in goal to earn the win for Prince Albert.
The game was also the final game in the WHL career for Evan Herman, Landon Kosior and Keaton Sorenson.
When asked for a word to describe the graduating Raider trio, he said he was proud with everything they did for the organization.
“It would be heart. All three of them have big hearts. Committed would be another good one. I’ll leave it at those two, but you could probably use a thousand [words]. All of them played with heart and they played strong for the Raider organization. Everything you could have wanted out of your 20-year-olds we got out of those guys and that will be the last memory for me.”