Motivation shouldn‚Äôt be an issue for the Prince Albert Raiders when they travel to Moose Jaw tonight to play the Warriors.
The last time the Raiders were at Mosaic Place, they had a five-game road winning streak snapped. Actually it was shattered as the Warriors blasted Prince Albert 9-0 in that Oct. 13 contest.
The two divisional rivals have met twice more since that outing, both times at the Art Hauser Centre, with Moose Jaw winning 3-2 and the Raiders rebounding 5-1 in a rare twin bill played on consecutive nights in the same city.
Another factor that will come into play tonight is Prince Albert will be looking to rebound from a 6-1 setback in Red Deer on Sunday against the Rebels. That loss ended a two-game winning streak, but still left the Raiders in first place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 15-7-0-2 record.
‚ÄúOur guys have listened every time we have lost and they have listened to things we have taught them this time beginning at practise today (Tuesday),‚ÄĚ says Raiders‚Äô head coach Steve Young.
Moose Jaw will be playing its final home game before heading out on a lengthy road trip that takes them through Alberta and British Columbia so the Raiders will have to be prepared for a tough opponent. In fact, Young knows exactly what to expect from the Warriors.
‚ÄúI expect them to be hard working and go hard to the net,‚ÄĚ Young says simply.
The injury bug continues to dog the Raiders as 16-year-old Reid Gardiner will return to the line-up tonight after missing a month with an upper-body injury suffered in a game against the Tri-Cities Americans in mid-October.
Taking Gardiner‚Äôs place in sick bay, however, is back-up goaltender Andy Desautels and forward Joey Santucci. Desautels has an ‚Äúupper-body‚ÄĚ injury and could be back by the end of the week, while Santucci suffered a lower-body injury last week and did not dress in any of the games in Alberta on the weekend. His recovery time is unknown.
With Desautels on the shelf, the Raiders had summoned 16-year-old Rylan Parenteau from the Saskatoon Contacts to complete the swing through Alberta. Parenteau has been returned to his Midget AAA team and for tonight‚Äôs game, and likely the home-and-home series against the Brandon Wheat Kings this weekend, Prince Albert has brought in 15-year-old Nick McBride from the Vancouver North East Chiefs of the British Columbia Major Midget Hockey League.
McBride was the Raiders‚Äô second pick and 23rd overall in the Western Hockey League bantam draft last spring and was at the Raiders rookie camp in September.
RAIDER NOTES: Raider defenseman Josh Morrissey has been ranked sixth among WHL skaters in the preliminary NHL Central scouting rankings that were released on Tuesday. The Raiders‚Äô rookie of the year last season is off to a great start in his sophomore campaign collecting four goals and 12 assists in 24 games‚Ä¶Gardiner, along with Parenteau and Prince Albert‚Äôs other 16-year-old Tim Vanstone, have all been selected to play for Team West at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Victoriaville and Drummondville, Que., beginning on Dec. 29‚Ä¶Prince Albert product Miles Warkentine, who plays for Moose Jaw this season, is also on the Team West roster‚Ä¶The Raiders could be a little thin during the Christmas break if everyone who is eligible to make an elite team does so. In addition to Gardiner and Vanstone going to Quebec, there is a real good chance captain Mark McNeill will make Team Canada for the world junior championships to be held in Russia over the holiday season and Leon Draisaitl will likely be getting the call to represent his native Germany at the same event. Draisaitl, the gifted winger from Cologne, Germany, has six goals and 13 assists to claim a share of second place in team scoring, trainling just McNeill. One other player that will likely miss some time in December is winger Jonas Knutsen. The 19-year-old from Oslo, Norway, is expected to represent his home country at the IIHF Under-20 Division 1 Group A championships to be held in Amiens, France, from Dec. 9-15. Knutsen was part of the Norwegian team that competed in the same tournament last year.