The Prince Albert Raiders might have to consider moving Leon Draisaitl’s family to Canada.
The German rookie took advantage of an extended stay from his mother and sister to score the lone Raider goal in regulation time and the 17-year-old from Cologne then potted the only goal in the shootout as Prince Albert edged the Swift Current Broncos 2-1 in Western Hockey League action on Tuesday at the Art Hauser Centre.
“We had put him in a shootout earlier in the year and tonight we felt it was an opportunity to go again,” said Raiders’ head coach Steve Young. “It was a little more special with his mom and sister still here.”
The Draisaitl reunion started on the weekend when Leon celebrated his birthday on Saturday with three assists in a convincing 5-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors.
Against the Broncos, the Raiders had to battle to get the win with Draisaitl banging home a rebound early in the third period while Prince Albert was on its one and only power play of the game.
After a scoreless overtime session, and Raider captain Mark McNeill being stopped on the opening chance in the shootout, Draisaitl made a nice play on Swift Current goaltender Eetu Laurikainen and slid the puck between the sprawling goaltender’s legs.
Prince Albert goaltender Luke Siemens stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout in addition to 30 more in regulation and overtime. Young says having a goaltender like the overage Siemens gives the team a lot more confidence.
“Luke was a big part of the win,” admitted Young. “He made some timely saves and he has done a good job helping out the guys.”
“We weren’t at the top of our game tonight,” added Young. “We weren’t at the top of our speed and Swift Current obviously had something to do with that.”
The Raiders dressed only 19 players in the game as three – Shayne Gwinner, Dakota Conroy and Davis Vandane – were all suspended for violating team rules. Reid Gardiner also did not dress as he is still recovering from an upper-body injury suffered two weeks ago.
Prince Albert will complete its longest homestand of the season on Friday when they will host the defending WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
RAIDER NOTES: The Raiders won just 21 games all last season and Tuesday was the club’s 10th already this year. Last year they did not win their 10th game until Dec. 11…Swift Current has now lost five of its last six games…The win for Prince Albert improved their record to 3-2-0-1 during the homestand and 5-3-0-2 overall on home ice…It was Prince Albert’s fifth shootout game of the year with the Raiders having won three…Friday’s game will feature former NHL goaltender Curtis Joseph as a special guest. Joseph will be in town for Saturday’s sportsman banquet and during Friday’s game, the Olympic gold medalist will take shots from select fans during the first intermission…Friday’s game will also be Conexus Special Jersey Night with the players wearing specially designed uniforms that will be auctioned off after the game.