A quick start helped the Prince Albert Raiders defeat the defending WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings 4-2 at the Art Hauser Centre on Friday night.
Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says that strong structure was a key to the Raiders success
“Great start, twelve seconds in we get a goal. We were in command there for quite a bit. They battled back and I thought at certain times in the third period our composure needed to be a little bit better. I thought we played hard around the walls gaining blue lines, getting pucks out, getting pucks in. we played a pretty good structure tonight. We had some guys who really elevated their level here tonight.”
With the Art Hauser Centre charged with emotion following Remembrance Day ceremonies prior to puck drop, the Raiders wasted no time opening the scoring.
Carson Latimer left a puck in front of the net for Harrison Lodewyk who made no mistake scoring his second goal of the campaign just 0:12 into the hockey game.
Truitt says the Raiders wanted to set the pace to start off the game.
“We wanted to set the tone early, we wanted to put as much pressure on them as we coud. The goal was a bonus that early”
Coming into play Saturday, the Raiders had converted at a 30.23% clip on the man advantage at the Art Hauser Centre.
Prince Albert would continue to find success on the man advantage at home as Landon Kosior would find the back of the net at the 13:57 mark for his 8th of the season.
Carson Latimer would find the back of the net for the third consecutive game with his sixth goal of the season coming at the 3:28 mark of the second period extending the Raider lead to 3-0.
“I think every goal is by committee, the last few I had an empty net in Medicine Hat, a nice shot by Johnny [Erik Johnston] last game and then tonight Paks [Hayden Pakkala] makes a good play and I’m able to finish. Anytime you are able to score, it’s through good teamwork and I think that’s the most important thing right now.
Edmonton would answer at the 14:48 mark of the second period as Carter Kowalyk would take a rebound and put it past Raider netminder Tikhon Chaika for his first goal of the season to bring the score to 3-1.
The Oil King comeback would continue as Mason Finley would score his 4th goal of the season 5:37 into the third period to cut the Raider lead to 3-2.
But the Oil Kings would not complete the comeback as Keaton Sorenson iced it for the Raiders with a power play goal at the 19:02 mark of the third period.
With the win, the Raiders improve to 6-12-2 on the season and have won two out of their last three games.
Truitt says the Raiders are showing some promising signs.
“You win, you feel like you are succeeding. You lose you don’t We know we have a ways to go. We’re climbing, we’re getting betters and finding ways to win here short term. Consistency is what we want for sure.
Tikhon Chaika earned the win in net for Prince Albert turning aside 30 out of 32 Oil King shots. Kolby Hay took the loss for Edmonton making 23 saves.
The Raiders are back in action Tuesday night when they travel to Moose Jaw to take on the Warriors.