The smile was back on Steve Young’s face on Sunday.
The Prince Albert Raiders’ head coach had a look of relief and a somewhat reluctant smile, but he said he was very pleased in the effort turned in by his team following a 5-1 Western Hockey League victory over the Swift Current Broncos at the Art Hauser Centre.
“I would say from start to finish it was the best game we played all year,” said Young. “We needed that.”
The Raiders, who started the season with a 7-0-0-1 record, put the brakes on a four-game losing streak with the win.
“We saw some good things in those games, but we needed one like this,” admitted Young.
“As coaches we believe we can do more and we expect the players to do the same so we can get to where we want to get,” added Young.
The win keeps Prince Albert alone in the East Division standings with an 8-3-0-2 ledger. A loss to the Broncos on Sunday would have created a tie at the top, but Prince Albert now has some breathing room again as they prepare for a rare weekend doubleheader against the Moose Jaw Warriors with both games being played in Prince Albert.
Dakota Conroy led the Raider attack on Sunday scoring twice with singles coming from Mike Winther, Chance Braid and Anthony Bardaro. Mark McNeill chipped in with three assists for the Raiders, who chased starting Swift Current netminder Eetu Laurikianen to the bench after two periods of play. Landon Bow came on in relief for the final 20 minutes and together they faced 47 Prince Albert blasts.
Luke Siemens turned in another strong game in the Raider goal blocking 28 shots to record the victory.
RAIDER NOTES: Raider rookie Tim Vanstone sat out the game to complete a four-game suspension for checking from behind that he picked up Oct. 13 in Moose Jaw. Also not dressed on Sunday were Mackenzie Stewart, Zach Hodder and Reid Gardiner. Hodder is still recovering from an injured shoulder suffered in the second game of the season while Stewart and Gardiner were healthy scratches… After the weekend series with Moose Jaw, Prince Albert will still have two games remaining on a seven-game homestand including a rematch with Swift Current on Oct. 30. That game could be interesting as a lot of bad feelings ended Sunday’s contest with six 10-minute misconducts (four to the Broncos and two to Prince Albert) being handed out in the final six minutes of play.