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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Home Sports Raiders looking to build on success in rematch with Warriors

Raiders looking to build on success in rematch with Warriors

Raiders looking to build on success in rematch with Warriors
Kaiden Guhle (Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald)

It was a welcome sight for the Prince Albert Raiders on Wednesday night as captain Kaiden Guhle returned to the lineup for the first time since the hub season.

It was a game that saw a 3-0 third period lead dwindle into a 3-2 nail biting win for the Raider squad, as they picked up their first victory of the season after an 0-4-0-0 start to the year. Guhle recently returned to the lineup after spending the start of the year at Montreal Canadiens training camp. It was an impressive performance in his return, as he tallied a pair of assists in the win. Guile said it was all about keeping it simple on the ice.

“I didn’t want to go out there and try and do too much just because the pace is a little bit different,” he said on Thursday. “We all tried to keep it simple, and the team did well. We had a really good game and came out with the win, so that was huge for us last night.”

Guhle returned to play with an experienced defensive core that includes Remy Aquilon, Nolan Allan, and Landon Kosior, as well as the new additions like Terrell Goldsmith. He gave credit to the rest of the group for playing a sound game against Moose Jaw.

“We had a good defensive core before I was here, and I think we were just excited last night to finally get our whole lineup back in,” he said. “It was a good team win. Obviously we weren’t happy with our first four games, so I think we needed that one last night, and we did well.”

Guhle spent his summer in Montreal after being selected 16th overall in the 2020 NHL draft. He got experience playing with and against veteran NHLers, and he said it prepared him for the upcoming season after getting some advice from the leaders on the team.

“Those guys brought me in with open arms and taught me a lot about being a pro and what it takes to be in the NHL,” Guile said. “It was a good experience for sure. Obviously those guys are a world class skill (level), and if you make a mistake the puck will end up in the back of your net. You’ve got to be consistent all the time, and you have to make sure you don’t make the little mistakes when you go up against those big guys.”

Guhle wasn’t the only Raiders defenceman who took part in an NHL training camp. Nolan Allan, who was selected 32nd overall in the 2021 entry draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, also spent time on the professional stage where he played with high calibre NHL’ers, like Blackhawk’s defenceman Connor Murphy.

“I think talking to some of the guys there and seeing what they do and picking their brain helps a lot, but you know, (so does) watching what they do and how they carry themselves,” Allan said. “(Connor) Murphy is a good defenceman over there for the Hawks and he’s a leader over there. He showed me a couple of things over there, and he was good to work with.”

Allan said the Raiders focused on their own play against the Warriors on Wednesday night, and that’s a big reason why they won.

“I think we were just playing more of our game out there,” he said. “We weren’t really worried about what they were doing. It was just kind of getting back to our game and focusing on ourselves. We had some things to clean up and I thought we did a good job of that last night.”

The Raiders went into the third period with a comfortable 3-0 lead, but Moose Jaw climbed back in, scoring twice with under five minutes left in the game. Allan pointed out the sense of urgency his team responded with after it became a one goal game late in regulation.

“You obviously don’t want to let the other guys score in the last minute to tie it, but we were confident in our penalty kill and our guys to do the job and block the shots,” he said. “I don’t think we were too worried.”

Allan also pointed out how big it was to have Guhle return to help out on the back end.

“He’s huge, not only to have on the ice, but in the room too. He’s our captain and our leader, so that was huge to get him back, and he helped us out in all areas,” Allan explained.

Meanwhile, Ozzy Wiesblatt has been the Raiders best forward to start the season, with two goals and two assists in the first four games this year. For Ozzy, it’s been a good start personally as he gets used to playing with some of the new guys on the team.

“It’s nice to get started again,” he said. “There’s some new faces, new guys on the team, so you’ve got to build some more chemistry, and I think it’s all starting to wrap up here, so I’m just looking forward to these next few games here.”

Wiesblatt said the preparation heading into the second game of their home and home series with the Warriors will remain unchanged.

“We just have to play hard and play as a team,” he said. “I think that’s where we’re most successful. Just keep it going, and keep doing what we’re doing right.”

Having Guhle back in the lineup was a big boost for Wiesblatt, and overall for the team to build more confidence.

“It builds more chemistry and confidence in the whole team, knowing that you have another great defenceman to add back on the team,” Wiesblatt said. “Kaiden’s a special player, and it really gives you that confidence that you have a solid d-man back there. It helps a lot.”

The Raiders are back in action on Friday night for the second game of their home and home series with Moose Jaw, and for Guhle, the plan is to build on their success after their win on Wednesday.

“We’re just going to do what we did last (game). We’re going to try and outwork (them). We never get outworked here, so we just have to work hard and everything will fall into place, so that’s really all our mindset is for our next game,” he said.

Puck drop is at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.

Raider news and notes

Prince Albert traded overage forward Eric Pearce to the Brandon Wheat Kings in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2023 WHL Prospects Draft on Thursday.

The Regina product had seven goals and nine assists in 24 games last season. He was orginally drafted by Prince Albert in the second round of the 2016 prospects draft.

“This was a difficult decision with a four-year Raider, a leader, and a champion,” Raiders GM Curtis Hunt said. “We believe this is a great opportunity for Eric. We thank him for his commitment to the Raiders on the ice and in the community, and we wish him the best.”

The Raiders also announed their 2021-22 leadership group on Thursday. Kaiden Guhle will wear the “C” for a second straight year, while Remy Aquilon, Reece Vitelli, and Ozzy Wiesblatt were named the three alternates.
Vitelli and Wiesblatt were also assistants last season.

Guhle is the 44th captain in team history.