Wheat Kings spoil Raiders comeback bid

Photo Courtesy of Keith Hershmiller/WHL Brandon Wheat Kings blueliner Braden Schneider turns around to see the puck trickle past Prince Albert Raiders netminder Max Paddock as the Prince Albert product gave his team a 5-4 overtime win on Saturday night in Regina.

Schneider scores overtime goal in potential final meeting with his hometown team

While there won’t be any playoffs in the Western Hockey League this year, the Prince Albert Raiders are making sure that the rest of the East Division knows that they are still the reigning Ed Chynoweth Cup champions.

The Raiders clawed back from a 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 lead midway through the third period on Saturday night at the Brandt Centre, but the Brandon Wheat Kings responded and skated away with a 5-4 overtime triumph to pick up their sixth straight win.

“I thought our last game was a pretty emotional one (which saw the Raiders shutout the Saskatoon Blades 4-0) and there could have been a bit of a letdown coming into this one,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said.

“Maybe there was a little bit of a letdown during the last two-thirds of the third period, but after that, I thought our guys were energized and engaged out there. Brandon competed hard and we played pretty hard as well after the first period.”

In what will more than likely be his final meeting with his hometown team, Wheat Kings blueliner and New York Rangers prospect Braden Schneider was the hero for the Wheat Kings as he raced down the right wing and tucked a shot by Raiders netminder Max Paddock at the 2:30 mark of the extra frame.

“I had no idea it went in,” Schneider said during a post-game press conference.

“P.A. has always been a good team every year I’ve been in this league. To finish it off with the winner against them is big. I’m jacked about it and jacked I got the goal but I’m just more happy to get the extra point.”

“I missed my check there (on Schneider) at the end and I take ownership on that one,” Raiders forward Evan Herman added.

“I thought we had a good response though, especially after the first period, as we were able to claw our way back into the game.”

Herman, Landon Kosior, Matthew Culling and Dallyn Peekeekoot all scored for the 8-10-3-1 Raiders, while Paddock had a 29-save outing in the overager’s final game against his hometown team.

Nate Danielson had a trifecta of assists to lead the way on offence for the 17-3-2-0 Wheat Kings, who also had a pair of goals from Lynden McCallum and two-point nights from Schneider and Ben McCartney.

Brett Hyland also had a goal in the triumph, which saw Ethan Kruger stop 23 shots.

The Raiders will return to action on Monday at 4 p.m. against the Winnipeg Ice before wrapping up their season against the Swift Current Broncos at 8 p.m. Wednesday, in what will be the final game of the East Division hub.

“There’s always something to play for,” Herman said. “Right now we’re playing for our 20’s (Paddock, Justin Nachbaur and Spencer Moe) and doing everything we can for them.

“We’re also playing for ‘Raider Pride’ as we’ve built a winning culture here a few seasons ago and we’re looking to carry that over into next year.”

–With files from Perry Bergson of The Brandon Sun

Post-Game Notes

The Wheat Kings took three out of four meetings over the Raiders in Regina and clinched the season series for the first time since 2014-15, when they won four of their six matchups with their divisional rivals.

With his two-point effort on Saturday, Schneider moved into third place in defensive scoring in the WHL with 23 points in 20 games.

The 19-year-old, who is expected to begin his pro career with the Rangers next year, had nine points in 20 regular season meetings with the Raiders during his WHL career.

Arizona Coyotes draft pick Ben McCartney extended his point streak to eight games on Saturday and is now second in league scoring with 34 points.

Ozzy Wiesblatt recorded an assist on Evan Herman’s third period goal as he the San Jose Sharks prospect now has points in five straight games, which matches his run of form that lasted from April 3 to 11.

Kaiden Guhle, Nolan Allan, Tre Fouquette, Logan Danis and Max Hildebrand did not dress for the Raiders, while the Wheat Kings were without the services of Tyson Zimmer, Jaxon Dube, Jacob Hoffrogge and Logen Hammett.

World Under-18’s Update

It was a balanced effort for Canada’s Under-18 team on Saturday as they picked up a 5-1 win over Finland in Plano, Texas during their lone pre-tournament game ahead of the IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship, which starts on Monday.

Olen Zewellger (Everett Silvertips) had a pair of assists to lead the way for Canada, which features Nolan Allan of the Prince Albert Raiders on the blueline.

Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads), Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs), Connor Bedard (Regina Pats), Francesco Pinelli (Kitchener Rangers) and Chase Stillman (Sudbury Wolves) found the back of the net in the triumph, which saw
Thomas Millic (Seattle Thunderbirds), Tyler Brennan (Prince George Cougars) and Benjamin Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting) combine for a 28-save showing.

Canada will begin their round-robin slate on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Sweden.
Meanwhile, 2020 Raiders import draft pick Uladzislau Shyla found the back of the net for Belarus in their 3-2 exhibition loss to Russia on Saturday.

His first game at the tournament will be on Monday at 3 p.m. as Belarus will take on Sweden.

Friday’s Scores

  • Calgary 6 Lethbridge 3 (Adam Kydd – Two Goals)
  • Winnipeg 4 Saskatoon 1 (Connor McClennon – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Everett 6 Spokane 1 (Zach Ashton – Two Goals)
  • Regina 4 Moose Jaw 1 (Roddy Ross – 30 Saves)
  • Kamloops 3 Victoria 2 (Matthew Seminoff – One Goal and One Assist)
  • Kelowna 5 Prince George 1 (Jake Poole – One Goal and Two Assist)

Saturday’s Scores

  • Portland 6 Seattle 3 (Seth Jarvis – Three Goals – Third Career Hat Trick)
  • Edmonton 4 Medicine Hat 1 (Jake Neighbours – One Goal and Two Assists)
  • Calgary 7 Lethbridge 2 (Sean Tschigerl – Three Goals – First Career Hat Trick)
  • Kelowna 4 Vancouver 3 (Kaedan Korczak – One Goal and One Assist)

Pre-Game Notes

The 16-5-1-0 Ice, who are on a three-game win streak, have beaten the Raiders in all three meetings thus far in Regina.

While the Ice have already won the season series for the first time since 2012-13, they have a chance to complete a clean sweep of the Raiders on Monday, which will be the first time the franchise would have accomplished that feat since the 2010-11 campaign when they were based in Cranbrook, B.C.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Peyton Krebs, who leads the league in scoring with 41 points, is on a 21-game point streak heading into Monday’s game.

It’s the longest run of form since Brett Leason had a 30-game streak for the Raiders in 2018-19 and is tied with Mike Comrie’s 21-game streak during the 2000-01 campaign for the Ice franchise record.

The Raiders will be donning special jerseys for Monday’s game, with a logo that’s based off of what the team used during their time in the SJHL and their early years in the WHL.

Some of the uniforms, which were supposed to be worn against the Moose Jaw Warriors last March before the season was cancelled, will be auctioned off after the game with some of the proceeds going to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.

The auction will start Monday at noon on 32auctions.com and will close on Monday, May 3 at noon.

Sunday’s Schedule

  • Swift Current vs. Moose Jaw – 4 p.m.
  • Seattle vs. Portland – 6 p.m.
  • Kamloops vs. Vancouver – 7 p.m.
  • Medicine Hat vs. Edmonton – 7 p.m.
  • Lethbridge vs. Calgary – 7 p.m.
  • Regina vs. Brandon – 8 p.m.

Monday’s Schedule

  • Winnipeg vs. Prince Albert – 4 p.m.
  • Moose Jaw vs. Saskatoon – 8 p.m.
  • Victoria vs. Prince George – 8 p.m.