It was another steady showing from top to bottom for the Prince Albert Raiders on Saturday night in Swift Current.
The defending Western Hockey League champions picked up their third straight triumph and their ninth in a row over the host Broncos as they prevailed in a 4-1 affair at the Innovation Credit Union iPlex.
“They are in a different spot in their cycle compared to us, so it’s a tough game in that sense,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said. “You are expected to win and anything other than a point isn’t great.
“The guys did what they needed to do in order to get the win tonight. It was a very workmanlike performance.”
The Raiders also had a strong special teams showing as they converted two of their three power play opportunities and killed off seven penalties.
“We’re getting rid of the fancy stuff on the power play right now until they want to shoot and screen,” Habscheid said.
“Once they get used to shooting and screening, we’ll go back to instituting some plays. Before you can run you have to walk and that’s what we’re doing right now.”
Raiders captain Zack Hayes led the way with a goal and an assist, with his marker in the middle stanza being his second straight on the power play in as many nights after not scoring on the man advantage in his first 256 career regular season games.
“He’s a machine,” Habscheid joked. “The other teams are going to start shadowing him now.”
Kaiden Guhle had two assists in the triumph, which also saw Ozzy Wiesblatt, Evan Herman and Jeremy Masella find the back of the net.
Carter Seryhenko made 23 saves for the visitors, with his lone blemish coming on a third period marker by Matej Toman.
“I felt bad for him there as it would have been nice for him to get his first shutout,” Habscheid said. “I thought he was good once again tonight.”
Isaac Poulter turned aside 29 shots for the 10-34-1-3 Broncos, who have lost their last three contests.
The 27-14-5-4 Raiders, who are now four points ahead of the Winnipeg Ice for first place in the East Division, will be back in action on Wednesday as they’ll pay a visit to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Thanks to his two-assist night, Kaiden Guhle has recorded a point in his last five games, which is the longest scoring streak in his WHL career.
Matej Toman’s third period marker was his first for the Broncos, who acquired him from the Saskatoon Blades at the trade deadline.
Daniil Stepanov was the lone scratch for the Raiders, while the Broncos did not dress Parker Hendren, Jordan Borysiuk, Justin Svenson and Kye Buchanan.
- Calgary 5 Red Deer 0 (Carson Focht – Two Goals – Jack McNaughton – 14 Saves – First Shutout This Season and Third Career)
- Vancouver 3 Kamloops 2 (David Tendeck – 40 Saves)
- Brandon 4 Medicine Hat 3 (Jiri Patera – 35 Saves)
- Victoria 7 Moose Jaw 2 (Carson Miller – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Seattle 4 Portland 3 (Simon Kubicek Shootout Winner – Cross Hanas – Two Goals and One Assist)
- Tri-City 3 Prince George 2 (Mason Dunsford – 37 Saves)
- Edmonton 4 Winnipeg 1 (Riley Sawchuk – One Goal and One Assist)
- Lethbridge 4 Saskatoon 3 (Brett Davis – Two Goals)
- Spokane 6 Kelowna 0 (Luke Toporowski – One Goal and Two Assists – James Porter Jr. – 17 Saves – First Shutout This Season and Fifth Career)
After losing all four matchups with the Raiders last season, the Tigers can return the favour on Wednesday in Medicine Hat as they’ve won their three previous encounters this year.
It would mark the first time that the Tigers have swept the season series with the Raiders since the 2016-17 campaign, when Medicine Hat won the Central Division crown but lost in seven games to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the second round of the playoffs.
After a 4-3 home loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings on Saturday, the 32-15-1-1 Tigers are in third place in the Central Division and are just one point back of the Hurricanes in the standings.
Overager James Hamblin is currently second in league scoring with 77 points, which is one back of Spokane Chiefs forward Adam Beckman, while Cole Sillinger leads all first-year players with 46 points.
Second year Tigers forward Nick McCarry will enter Tuesday’s contest on a five-game point streak, which is the longest of his junior career.
Forward Elijah Brown remains sidelined with a lower body injury that he suffered against the Brandon Wheat Kings on Jan. 7.
- Spokane vs. Portland – 9 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Prince George – 9 p.m.
- Tri-City vs. Vancouver – 9 p.m.
- Regina vs. Saskatoon – 7 p.m.
- Moose Jaw vs. Winnipeg – 7:30 p.m.
- Prince Albert vs. Medicine Hat – 8 p.m.
- Lethbridge vs. Red Deer – 8 p.m.
- Seattle vs. Prince George – 9 p.m.