Raiders falter on home ice in loss to Warriors

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Raider forward Oli Chenier dropped the gloves with Moose Jaw Warriors forward Max Finley during WHL action on Saturday night.

The Prince Albert Raiders took to the ice for the first time following the Christmas break, but couldn’t pull out a victory falling 2-1 to the Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt said he didn’t see enough drive out of Prince Albert in the loss.

“I think we had too many passengers here tonight. I thought we had guys that cheated in some areas. First period I don’t have a problem with. But when it’s 1-0 and you need to build on, you need to score. We needed to score and generate some more real good quality opportunities but when there’s battles and when there’s a little bit of adversity, you can’t cheat on things. And I thought some of our guys cheated in some areas here tonight which opened up things for them. 2-1, we tried to battle back. We didn’t get it done because we just didn’t score. But we needed a lot more push from a lot more guys. “

Easton Kovacs would open the scoring for the Raiders at the 19:13 mark of the first period. 

The 19-year-old defenceman would rifle a shot from just inside the blue line past Warrior netminder Jackson Unger for his fourth goal of the season. Niall Crocker provided the helper on the play.

Shots favored the Raiders 10-6 after the opening frame.

Pavel McKenzie would knot up the score at one with his eighth goal of the season at the 5:09 mark of the second period.

The 18-year-old forward would pick a corner on a wrist shot. Atley Calvert had the lone assist on the play.

Brayden Schuurman would give the Warriors the lead with his 10th goal of the season at the 13:10 mark of the middle frame. Ethan Semeniuk had the lone helper.

Shots favored the Warriors 22-18 after forty minutes of play.

The Raiders would attempt to push back and find the equalizer, but they couldn’t solve Warrior netminder Jackson Unger who made 25 saves in the victory. Max Hildebrand made 23 stops for the Raiders.

Moose Jaw was missing three of their top players in Denton Mateychuk, Brayden Yager and Jagger Firkus who are away with Team Canada at World Juniors in Sweden.

Truitt says the fact Moose Jaw is missing three key contributors does not affect the way the Raiders play.

“We’ve got guys out of the lineup as well that certainly help us. They’ve got three of their big guns out. It doesn’t matter if they’re in or they’re out. You got to find a way to win.”

The Raiders will travel to Moose Jaw for their first game in 2024 on Friday night. Puck drops at 7 p.m.