For the second straight game the middle period was tilted in favour of the home team as the Prince Albert Raiders dropped a 6-3 decision to the Saskatoon Blades in Western Hockey League pre-season action on Saturday in Warman.
In the opening game of the home-and-home series on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre, the Raiders scored six times in the second period to record a 6-2 victory, but on Saturday, the Blades notched four tallies in the second period to gain control of the contest and get the split in the series.
“The guys got off to a good start,” said Raiders’ head coach Steve Young of the game on Saturday. “The guys were definitely being challenged by Saskatoon, but they came out very strong.”
Logan McVeigh and Shane Danyluk staked the Raiders to a 2-0 advantage by the time the game was two minutes old, but the Blades cut the deficit in half before the first period ended. Saskatoon then took control of the game with four unanswered markers in the second period and added another early in the final frame before Shayne Gwinner completed the scoring for Prince Albert late in the final stanza.
Rylan Parenteau, a 16-year-old who played last year with the Midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts, started the game and allowed two goals on 17 shots with Cole Holowenko coming in midway through the game for his first taste of pre-season action and letting four get past him on 26 shots.
Three other 16-year-olds got another look during the game for Prince Albert with Reid Gardiner, Tim Vanstone and Spencer Meyer all seeing a regular shift. Young said he was especially pleased with the play of Gardiner, another product of the Contacts.
“Reid Gardiner was really good,” said Young. “He has been one of our most consistent players.”
Following the game, the Raiders trimmed their roster by three players bringing the total still in camp down to 26. Brendan Guhle and Matteo Gennaro, a pair of 15-year-olds who were selected in this year’s bantam draft, were returned to the midget AAA teams in Alberta as both are too young to play in the WHL this season.
Also returned to Alberta was defenseman Matt Waseylenko. The 19-year-old will play this year with the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and Raider general manager Bruno Campese said Waseylenko’s age played a factor in the decision.
“As a 19-year-old he would have to log significant minutes and we didn’t think that would happen,” said Campese, who added Waseylenko is still on the Raiders’ 50-player protected list, but suspected that would likely change in the future.
With the moves, the Raiders now have eight defensemen in camp to go with three netminders and 15 forwards. At least two more players, and possibly three, will be moved prior to opening night on Sept. 21, but the team will use a pair of exhibition games this week against the Swift Current Broncos to further evaluate the players remaining in camp.
The Broncos will be at the Art Hauser Centre on Thursday with the return match set for Saturday in Swift Current.