Strong power play lifts Raiders past Pats, to the verge of playoff berth

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald. Justice Christensen and the Prince Albert Raiders celebrate a first period goal in Wednesday night's win over the Regina Pats at the Art Hauser Centre.

The Prince Albert Albert Raiders are knocking on the door of a playoff berth after they knocked off the Regina Pats 5-1 at the Art Hauser Centre on Wednesday night.

Raider head coach Jeff Truitt says he was pleased with the level of desperation showed by Prince Albert.

“Power play was working outstanding here tonight. We kind of took control of this thing early, which is good. Hilty (Max Hildebrand) was on and we knew we had to play a desperate game and I thought that that’s exactly what we did.”

The Raiders would break the seal on the scoreboard at the 5:21 mark of the first period as a loose puck would bounce to Justice Christensen who found himself all alone in the slot and the 18-year-old defenceman would wire home his 13th goal of the campaign. The goal was unassisted.

After a high sticking minor against Regina’s Anthony Wilson, the Raider power play would go to work to double the Prince Albert lead.

On a redirection in front of Pat netminder Kelton Pyne, Brayden Dube would strike for his 17th goal of the season at the 11:48 mark of the opening frame. Ryder Ritchie and Oli Chenier assisted on the play.

Ryder Ritchie would stretch the Raider lead to three with his 19th goal of the season at the 16:35 mark. Turner McMillen and Eric Johnston picked up the assists on the play.

On another Raider power play later in the first period, a Krzysztof Macias point shot would miss wide of the net, Aiden Oiring would put home the rebound off the end wall at the 18:56 mark for his 19th goal of the season. Sloan Stanick picked up the secondary assist.

Shots favored Prince Albert 16-8 after twenty minutes.

The Raider power play would continue to click along at a high pace as Aiden Oiring would pick up his 20th goal of the season on a 5-on-3 man advantage at the 5:52 mark of the second period. Ritchie and Christensen assisted on the play.

The Raiders would finish the night three for six on the man advantage, making the most of their opportunities.

Truitt says the Raiders did a good job at getting shots on goal with the extra attacker.

“We were shooting the puck and we saw some lanes too. Some nice passes by Ritchie to Dube for the tip of the net. I thought that was a really good play. We control the puck and sometimes pucks bounce and then we got to go get them again. We made our plays, we’re moving the pucks well and seeing lanes and getting shots. That’s what we need.”

Tanner Howe would add a third period power play tally to get the Pats on the board at the 14:53 mark of the final frame.Ty Gibson and Tye Spencer received the helpers.

Max Hildebrand made 25 stops to earn the win for the Raiders. Kelton Pyne turned aside 32 Raider shots for the Pats on the evening.

Around The WHL

With the Calgary Hitmen losing in overtime in Saskatoon on Wednesday night, the Raiders are in need of just a single point over their final two games to secure the eighth and final playoff spot.

If the Raiders lose twice in regulation and the Hitmen win both of their remaining games, a tiebreaker game would be played to determine the eighth and final playoff spot at the Art Hauser Centre. A tiebreaker game is the best scenario for the Hitmen, as they can not pass the Raiders in points.

The Raiders return to action on Friday night as they welcome the Saskatoon Blades to the Art Hauser Centre. Puck drops at 7 p.m.