The final bow

The Prince Albert Raiders’ season finale against the Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday night was the final WHL game for Raiders Tim Vanstone (pictured), Kolten Olynek and Cavin Leth. Vanstone played his entire five-year WHL career with the Raiders and was named this year’s team MVP. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

Raiders end season with 5-1 win over Blades; say goodbye to three veterans

“It’s a good way to end the season,” Prince Albert Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said following P.A.’s 5-1 win over the rival Saskatoon Blades at the Art Hauser Centre on Saturday night.

P.A. leading scorer Simon Stransky had a two-goal night and added an assist and goalie Ian Scott made 24 saves for the win, but the “Stars of the Game” were overage players Tim Vanstone, Kolten Olynek and Cavin Leth, who were playing in their final game of their WHL careers.

“They’re proud Raiders and they’re sad to go and we’re sad to see them go but they’re moving on and we know they’ll be successful because they’ve got very good character,” Habscheid said.

Vanstone spent his entire five-year junior hockey career in P.A., Olynek was a Raider for parts of the last two seasons and Leth joined the team this year. Vanstone said it was nice to wrap up his tenure with a big win over the Blades.

“I didn’t script it like this for sure but it just shows how much everyone cared,” the Raiders captain said.

“We pulled for each other and it wasn’t just for me, Cavin and Oly, it was for everybody. This crest means way more than gold to a lot of guys in that room so I think the foundation has been set and they’re going to roll with it next year.”

The Blades were first on the board, with forward Mason McCarty scoring off a huge Michael Farren rebound on the power play. That would be Saskatoon’s first and last goal of the night.

The Raiders’ offence came to life in the second period. Stransky tied the score off an Olynek faceoff win and then put the Raiders ahead 2-1 on the power play, beating Saskatoon netminder Brock Hamm with a low shot through a screen. In the closing minutes of the frame P.A. found more power play success when Curtis Miske buried a Stranksy pass in the wide-open Blades net.

In the third period P.A.’s Adam Kadlec scored on a high shot from the right faceoff circle to give PA a 4-1 lead. A minute and a half later Raiders defenceman Cody Paivarinta notched his second goal of the year to extend the lead to 5-1.

After the match the Raiders handed out their team awards for 2016-17. Vanstone was named Raiders MVP and after the trophies were presented he skated to centre ice with a microphone to thank his family, the Raiders organization, his teammates and the fans.

“You guys are always going to be in my heart,” he said.

“He (was) captain for two years for us, a very good captain, and we just thought it was important, especially this year, that we graduate him as a Raider,” Habscheid said.

“He didn’t want to go anywhere. He was proud to be a Raider and we’re proud to graduate him as a Raider and he won the MVP for a lot of reasons: for being a good teammate, a good leader, a good human being on and off the ice and he was well deserving of it.”


Game Summary

Prince Albert 5, Saskatoon 1

First Period

  1. Saskatoon, McCarty 21 (Farren, Christensen) 5:39 (pp)

Second Period

  1. Prince Albert, Stransky 21 (Olynek) 5:24
  2. Prince Albert, Stranksy 22 (Martin, Miske) 11:35 (pp)
  3. Prince Albert, Miske 20 (Stransky, Leth) 18:06 (pp)

Third Period

  1. Prince Albert, Kadlec 5 (Moe, Fonstad) 6:11
  2. Prince Albert, Paivarinta 2 (unassisted) 7:45

Goalies: Prince Albert –­ Ian Scott, 24 saves (W, 12-31-3-0); Saskatoon – Brock Hamm, 26 saves (L, 6-15-3-2).

Three Stars: 1. Tim Vanstone; 2. Kolten Olynek; 3. Cavin Leth.