Raiders snap two game skid with physical win over Broncos

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Harrison Lodewyk of the Prince Albert Raiders and Ryan McCleary of the Swift Current Broncos fight during the third period of Saturday's game at the Art Hauser Centre

It appeared to be a hockey game out of 1983 rather than 2023, but the Prince Albert Raiders picked up two points regardless with a 4-2 win over the Swift Current Broncos at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says Prince Albert played a strong team game in the victory

“We battled hard, we took care of each other when liberties were being taken. Our guys responded and helped each other out that way. That’s a team effort and that’s good to see out of our guys that, when things like that happen, our guys are responding.”

The Raiders would break the seal on the scoring. After a Krzyzstof Macias wraparound attempt would be stopped by Bronco netminder Joey Rocha, Brayden Dube would find the loose puck and put it home for his fifth goal of the campaign at the 6:18 mark of the first period.

With his fifth goal of the season, Dube matched his season total in 57 games last year split between the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Raiders.

The Roblin, Manitoba product says he is feeling more sure of himself in his 18-year-old season.

“I’d say confidence, I’m feeling more confident out there at the puck and holding on to it longer, making the right plays instead of throwing it away.“

Niall Crocker would put home his fifth goal of the season on the power play at the 13:41 mark. Crocker put a rebound past Rocha as he was pushed by a Broncos player into the Swift Current netminder after the puck crossed the goal line. Jacob Hoffrogge and Sloan Stanick provided assists on the play.

Hayden Pakkala would add to the Raider first period onslaught with his third goal of the season coming at the 15:13 mark. Cole Peardon provided a helper and Niall Crocker picked up his second point of the night with the secondary assist. 

Swift Current would cut into the deficit with an odd man rush late in the first period. Mathew Ward would feed Clarke Caswell and the 17-year-old forward would make no mistake for his sixth goal of the season.

Prince Albert led the shot clock 15-4 after twenty minutes.

Raider goaltender Chase Coward did not see many shots in the first period, but the 20-year-old netminder says he was finding other methods to staying involved in the game.

“It’s always nice to see a lot of shots early, you get engaged in the game. I don’t mind the challenge of not too many shots, because you just gotta stay in it and find ways to stay warm and stay loose and not get locked up.”

Ryder Ritchie would restore the three goal advantage for the Raiders at the 10:22 mark of the second period with his ninth goal of the season on the power play. Aiden Oiring and Jacob Hoffrogge provided helpers on the play.

The Broncos would cut their deficit to 4-2  just under seven minutes later as Tyson Laventure would score his fifth of the season on a wraparound against his former team. Clarke Caswell would record his second point of the night with an assist on the play.

Tempers would flare between the two sides at the 10:13 mark of the third period. Van Eger would run over Raider netminder Chase Coward causing a full scale line brawl between both teams.

Three Broncos and two Raiders received game misconducts as a result of the play and subsequent brawl.

Coward says he was happy to see his teammates stick up for him after he was taken down by Eger.

“That was great, the guys are great here. I knew that these guys would have stood up for me, so I wasn’t too worried and then it kind of turned into a big line brawl.”

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says the team was happy to pick up the two points with all the extracurricular activity that took place in the hockey game.

“When you’re down, you try to drag a team into the mud and hopefully you get on the right side of the power plays, but (it) wasn’t unexpected. It’s junior hockey, it is going to happen. Our guys stood tall for us. That was great. They’re in our building. There’s lots of games left with them as well. The two points are what we needed. That’s what we got.”

Coward would go on to make 19 saves in the contest for the Raiders to earn the victory in net.

Truitt says Coward gave a quality performance that gave Prince Albert a strong chance to win. 

“I thought he was really good. Early on, he didn’t see a lot of shots, but he saw some dangerous ones. They spring guys all the time, and you might have to face a two-on-one, which he did. And a couple of clean looks, and that’s what you expect from a 20-year-old.  They’ve got to be your best players, and he’s got to hold that line. He certainly did tonight.” 

The Raiders return to action on Sunday afternoon in Moose Jaw. Puck drops at 2 p.m.