Raiders down Pats, honour Bruce Vance

Photo by Mark Peterson Media. Bruce Vance prepares to the drop the puck for the ceremonial faceoff between Regina Pats captain Tanner Howe and Raider captain Eric Johnston prior to Friday's game at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Prince Albert Raiders welcomed a long time member of the organization into the Wall of Honour and defeated the Regina Pats 6-4 on Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre.

Bruce Vance served as the Raiders Director of Marketing and Business Manager from 2001-2015 and was a part of several key moments with the organization including the “Bring Back The Magic” campaign that saw the Comuniplex renamed to the Art Hauser Centre.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says it was special to see a longtime friend in Vance recognized.

“Bruce has been such a great person in the community and for the Raider organization. I know from being a visiting coach here, he would come down and say hello. I worked with Bruce in Lethbridge when he first started and I first started, we had that relationship from there. I am proud to call him a friend. It was great to see that honored tonight.”

Focusing on the hockey game, Truitt says the Raiders had a shaky first period, but really came out strong as the game went on.

“We dug in during the second and third periods. We got the puck simplified and going north making good, aware plays. Awareness plays off on the rush, getting more quality shots then what we did during the third period.” 

Sloan Stanick would open the scoring for the Raiders at the 4:30 mark of the first period. Ryder Ritchie would feed a centering pass from just below the goal line and the overager Stanick would capitalize with his fourth goal of the season. Easton Kovacs recorded a secondary assist on the play.

The Pats wouldn’t stay down for long as a scramble in front of Chase Coward would lead to a rebound on the tape of Matteo Michels who would put it home for his fifth goal of the season at the 5:23 mark. Jaxin Vaughan and Jared Brinson would receive credit for assists on the play.

Regina would take their first lead of the hockey game later in the frame. As a power play was expiring, Borya Valis would sneak a slapshot past Coward at the 11:39 mark. Tanner Howe and Corbin Vaughan were credited with the helpers.

Shots would be even on the scoreboard after the first period 11 apiece.

The Raiders would take the lead in the second period with goals from unlikely sources.

Easton Kovacs would strike for his first goal of the season at the 5:54 mark. It was the second career WHL goal for Kovacs and first as a Prince Albert Raider. His first career goal came 581 days ago in a Lethbridge Hurricanes 5-2 win over the Red Deer Rebels. Sloan Stanick had the only assist.

Tyrone Sobry would get his first career WHL goal at the 9:14 mark to give the Raiders the lead. Grady Martin would pick up a helper on the play.

Sobry says he didn’t even realize the puck had crossed the goal line.

“It was unreal. I didn’t even know it went in. I just heard the ‘clunk’ back in the bottom of the net.”

The 17-year-old Sobry was taken with the 189th overall pick, in the 9th round of the 2021 WHL Prospects Draft by the Raiders. Although he was not the top selection off the board, the Saskatoon product has never let his draft status hold him down.

“I was a later pick, I never let that judge me. I just keep it simple and play out there, it’s unreal.”

Truitt says he was pleased to get depth scoring in the victory.

“We got a lot of depth scoring tonight which was great. The defenceman shooting from the point and getting shots through was huge. It’s great anytime a defenceman gets a goal, it’s a great feeling.”

Hayden Pakkala would finish out the trio of Raider goals in the second period with his second of the campaign at the 15:41 mark. Cole Peardon and Oli Chenier assisted on the play.

Niall Crocker would add an insurance marker for the Raiders at the 17:02 mark with his fourth goal of the season. Harrison Lodewyk and Cole Peardon assisted on the play.

The Pats would respond just thirty six seconds later as Sam Oremba would find the back of the net for the first time since season. Howe and Michels assisted on the play.

Brayden Dube would add an empty netter at the 19:00 mark to ice the win for the Raiders.

Cole Temple would score in the dying seconds to make the score 6-4.

The Raiders return to action on home ice Saturday against the Moose Jaw Warriors