Raiders top Giants in 2019 WHL Final rematch

Photo by Nathan Reiter. Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Landon Kosior handles the puck at a home game during the 2022-2023 season

The Prince Albert Raiders stayed perfect on their road trip through the BC division with a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Giants at the Langley Events Centre Wednesday night.

It was the first game at the Langley Events Centre for the Raiders since Game 5 of the 2019 WHL Final, a 4-3 defeat at the hands of Vancouver.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says that Prince Albert played a strong game to earn the two points.

“We came out here and we talked about the opportunity that we are given. We got off to a good start. I thought our details as a team were really good here tonight. We won a lot of battles and defended extremely well I thought. We didn’t give up an awful lot. I thought that this was one of the most complete games I’ve seen our team play.”

Truitt gives credit to the Raider leadership group that provided a boost on the bench to help the club to the victory. 

“[Our composure] was good.I give our leadership group a lot of credit. They were addressing that we want to control things but we want to be aggressive, but be smart aggressive. I thought our leadership group did a good job on the bench about staying under control and to have that real calming effect. When mistakes were made, they were accountable to each other. That’s where that leadership takes over a little bit. You’re not the one who has to do all the correcting, and I’m happy with that.”

It would be Niall Crocker, the product of Delta BC, who opened the scoring for Prince Albert giving a small section of family and friends something to cheer about with his 8th goal of the campaign coming at the 6:45 mark of the first period. Landon Kosior and Erik Johnston 

Vancouver would respond six minutes later as Skyler Bruce would find the back of the net for the 8th time this season, his first in a Giants uniform after being acquired from Winnipeg at the trade deadline. Ty Thorpe and Ty Halaburda would pick up the assists.

The Raider power play would give Prince Albert the lead in the second period, Damian Palmieri would be sent off for a cross checking minor and just 13 seconds in the power play, Keaton Sorenson would strike for the 17th time this season to give the Raiders a 2-1 advantage. Aiden Oiring and Ryder Ritchie picked up the assists on the go-ahead tally.

Prince Albert outshot Vancouver 18-3 in the second period.

Just 5:32 into the third period, the Raiders would pick up a key insurance goal of the 4-on-4 variety.

Landon Kosior would pick up his second point of the contest with his 14th goal of the season to give the Raiders crucial breathing room. Sloan Stanick and Aiden Oiring picked up the assists on the play.

Truitt says Kosior’s offensive contributions make him a key contributor on the Raider blue line.

“Few years ago, we were getting contributions from a lot of guys. But he has stayed true to the course. We don’t have the most offensive group back there, but he continues to put up points, he continues to battle, he continues to lead our guys on the back end without missing a beat. He’s a special player who can not only play good defense, but come up the ice with speed and make plays in the offensive zone. He’s done a wonderful job here.”

After missing on his first attempt at the empty cage, Evan Herman would pick up an empty net goal to ice it for Prince Albert with his 12th of the season at the 18:39 mark of the third period

Max Hildebrand would earn the win in net for the Raiders stopping 23 Vancouver shots.

Jesper Vikman made 39 saves in net for Vancouver in the loss.

The Raiders return to action on Friday night when they travel to visit the Kamloops Blazers at the Sandman Centre.