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Monday, May 27, 2024
Home Sports Raiders take down Blades 5-1 in first meeting of the season

Raiders take down Blades 5-1 in first meeting of the season

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Raiders take down Blades 5-1 in first meeting of the season
Reece Vitelli celebrates after tying the game 1-1, scoring on a breakaway Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre. -- Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

It was the Serhyenko show Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre, as Carter Serhyenko lead the Raiders to a 5-1 win against the Saskatoon Blades in their first meeting of the season.

The Raider netminder made 24 saves on 25 shots, including a number of highlight reel stops in the second and third periods.

“We’ve been getting better,” head coach Marc Habscheid said after the win. “Your overage guys have got to be contributing all the time. I think this was Vitelli’s best game, and it was Wiesblatt’s best game as well.”

Jayden Wiens opened the scoring for the Blades less than four minutes into the game, when he capitalized on a pretty feed in front of the net from teammate Brendan Lee behind the net.

Raider goalie Carter Serhyenko was caught looking the wrong way behind his goal, and the puck snuck through his legs for the opening marker of the contest.

Reece Vitelli tied the game on the breakaway, after he was set free on a beautiful lead pass from Tyson Laventure. He beat Blades goalie Nolan Maier on the glove side and you could tell he was pumped to make the game even once again.

Nolan Allan struck on the second period on a shot from the point that hit the left post and went in past the glove of Maier. Allan’s first goal of the season put the Raiders on top 2-1.

“This is a lot of our guys’ first game against Saskatoon,” Allan said about the rivalry these two teams have. “They got a good taste of it tonight. Everyone knows how big this rivalry is, and they’re jumping right into it, and it’s good to see.”

It seemed like Prince Albert extended the lead with another powerplay marker, when Kaiden Guhle let a shot go from the point that Maier didn’t see. The Raiders looked to be up 3-1, but the Blades challenged the play for offside, and after a lengthy review, it was deemed the play was offside on the zone entry. The goal was waved off, denying Guhle his first goal of the season.

Carter Serhyenko stood on his head in the late stages of the second period, absolutely stoning Kyle Crnkovic twice in front of the net. His big stops helped the Raiders into the second intermission with a one goal lead.

The Raiders continued to work on Maier’s glove side in the third period, and they did so again during a 4 on 4. Ozzy Wiesblatt found Reece Vitelli streaking up the right wing, allowing Vitelli and Kosior to break in on a 2 on 1.

Vitelli sent a pass on the tape to Kosior, who sniped a shot under Maier’s arm, giving Prince Albert a two goal lead, making up for the goal that was disallowed in the second frame.

Ozzy Wiesblatt sealed the deal for the Raiders, scoring an empty netter with 1:56 left in the third. And as if thar wasn’t enough, Terrell Goldsmith scored with 1:19 left to put the Raiders up 5-1. Wiesblatt picked up his fifth goal of the year, while Goldsmith notched his second, as Prince Albert won 5-1 in the first meeting of the year with their biggest rival.

“We played a full 60,” Allan added. “It’s just about consistency, we have to play like that night in night out.

“There are a lot of new guys on this team, and it takes a little bit of time to get them integrated into our culture and our team. I think they’re coming along great, and I think we’re going to keep improving.”

Despite picking up their largest margin of victory this season, Habscheid said his team still has room for improvement, particularily when it comes to staying out of the penalty box.

“Our goal is three (penalties) or less, and we took three in the first five minutes,” he said. “There were too many penalties, but on the other side of it, our powerplay had their best game all year. The guys moved the puck really well. Lots of shots and plays on net. It was too bad that (Guhle’s) got disallowed, because that could’ve been a huge turning point in the game.”

The Raiders have had a huge turnaround with their roster this year, with trades and new players coming in, and Habscheid thinks his team is finally starting to settle down now that all the pieces are together.

“We’re getting there. I think every game it gets better. But before you can instill systems and everything, the players have to buy into culture. We’ve established some culture here in winning, and moving guys on to the next level, so it certainly helps everyone buy in.”

The Raiders will head into Saskatoon for the rematch on Saturday night, and Allan says his team will need to put in the same performance they did on Friday to come out of the weekend with all four points.

“We’re going to stick to our gameplan, and do the same thing we did tonight,” Allan said. “We have to play a full 60 again, and play a fast, hard style game.”

Friday marked the first time the Raiders have won consecutive games this season. They’ll look to add to their winning streak on Saturday, when the second half of the home and home series shifts to Saskatoon.

The Raiders will visit the SaskTel Centre for the first time this season, and have a chance for their first home and home sweep of the year. Puck drop is at 7pm.