One year ago the Prince Albert Raiders won just 21 games all season.
That performance was the worst in the 22-team Western Hockey League, but on Sunday in Regina, the Raiders continued their incredible turnaround by posting their 20th win of the current campaign with an 8-2 thumping of the Pats and with that victory maintain their one-point lead over the Edmonton Oil Kings in the Eastern Conference.
Mike Winther collected his second straight two-goal game against the injury-riddled Pats as the Dallas Stars‚Äô draft pick also had a pair in a 5-3 triumph in Prince Albert on Friday. Josh Morrissey also tallied twice for the Raiders on Sunday with singles coming from Davis Vandane, Dakota Conroy, Carson Perreaux and Leon Draisaitl. Chance Braid was the top playmaker picking up three assists and newcomer Austin Daae also got into the act recording his first point, an assist on Conroy‚Äôs second-period marker. Daae joined the Raiders last week after spending the first part of the season with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League‚Äôs Estevan Bruins.
Colton Mayor was the lone Pat to beat Raider netminder Luke Siemens, who turned aside 22 shots for the victory. Matt Hewitt was tested 54 times in absorbing the loss and it marked the third time this weekend that Regina netminders were bombarded with rubber. Hewitt faced another 53 shots in the loss on Friday in Prince Albert and in a 6-5 overtime setback to the Spokane Chiefs on Saturday, Teagan Sacher had 60 shots fired his way.
Regina was missing as many as eight regulars on Sunday due to injury or the flu and fatigue from playing three games in three nights certainly had to have played a factor in the outcome.
Prince Albert returns to action on Tuesday when they will host Spokane at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre. Spokane, which is the last American-based team to pass through the city this year, has won its first two starts on its East Division swing.
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for Sunday‚Äôs game were Joey Santucci, Zach Hodder and Tim Vanstone. Santucci remains sidelined with a lower-body injury while Hodder and Vanstone were healthy scratches‚Ä¶The third period of Sunday‚Äôs game got a little nasty with a trio of fights occurring late in the game. Conroy battled Tye hand, Evan Morden took on Bryar Ortynski and Riley Guenther squared off against Henry Hardarson‚Ä¶ Prince Albert is now 13 points ahead of the Swift Current Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors for first place in the East Division standings‚Ä¶Winther‚Äôs recent outburst leaves him just seven points shy of 100 for his career‚Ä¶Tuesday‚Äôs game against Spokane will be another Las Vegas Night with one lucky fan winning a trip for two to Las Vegas.