The Prince Albert Raiders will look to break a few trends when they meet the Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday.
The Riders and Blades have met eight times this season, with the visitors winning on six occasions. That includes three wins for Saskatoon at the Art Hauser Centre, the most recent of which came in a 3-2 overtime thriller on March 11.
“They’re a rival,” Raiders forward Evan Herman said. “Every time we play our biggest rival, it should be pretty easy to get yourself psyched up for the game.”
The Raiders will look to bounce back from a 6-3 drubbing at the hands of the Swift Current Broncos on Wednesday. The Blades, meanwhile, are coming off a 5-3 victory over the conference leading Edmonton Oil Kings, despite being outshot 46-27.
Prince Albert enters Saturday’s contest one point back of the Regina Pats for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. However, they’ll have to leapfrog the ninth-place Calgary Hitmen to get there.
Both the Raiders and Hitmen have 50 points, but Calgary has played two more games and has one less regulation win.
“For the last few games here, every game has been a four-point game,” said Herman, who had a goal and an assist in the 6-3 loss to Swift Current. “We’ve got to capitalize on our opportunities and win a few games going down the final stretch.”
Coach Marc Habscheid said he expects his club to quickly bounce back from Wednesday’s loss. However, he said their window of opportunity to get in the playoffs is closing.
“We don’t have a large margin of error,” Habscheid told reporters after Wednesday’s game. “We went through the schedule. This is a game we have to have, so now we’ve got to find it someplace else.”
The Raiders hope leading scorer Ozzy Wiesblatt will be back in the lineup after missing Wednesday’s game with an upper body injury. They’ll also look for a bounce back game from goaltender Tikhon Chaika, who was pulled after giving up four goals on 14 shots.
Scoreboard watchers will have three other games to keep an eye on. The seventh-place Lethbridge Hurricanes take on the Rebels in Red Deer. Meanwhile, the Regina Pats face the Moose Jaw Warriors, and the Swift Current Broncos take on the Medicine Hat Tigers. Puck drop for all three games is 7 p.m.
The Prince Albert Raiders take on the Saskatoon Blades Saturday in Prince Albert. Puck drop is also at 7 p.m.