The Medicine Hat Tigers paid tribute to one of their best, but the Prince Albert Raiders took care of the rest.
The Eastern Conference leading Raiders did not get caught up in the fanfare surrounding Trevor Linden Night as Prince Albert skated to a 7-0 Western Hockey League victory in Medicine Hat on Saturday.
“Medicine Hat is a tough building to play in,” acknowledged Raiders’ head coach Steve Young. “We scored that first goal and just went from there.”
Linden, who starred for the Tigers when the club won back-to-back Memorial Cups in 1987 and ’88 and was the second overall pick in the 1988 NHL entry draft behind Prince Albert’s Mike Modano, dropped the puck for a ceremonial opening face-off, but from then on the Medicine Hat fans had little to celebrate.
Carson Perreaux opened the scoring six minutes into the game and goals 30 seconds apart by Anthony Bardaro and Sawyer Lange in the first minute of the second period blew the match wide open.
Mark McNeill and Reid Gardiner, with a shorthanded effort, increased the lead to 5-0 by the end of the middle stanza and Logan McVeigh and Dakota Conroy completed the onslaught with goals in the final 20 minutes.
“We played good as a team,” said Young. “Our special teams were good and it was nice to see everyone get in on the scoreboard.”
The win, Prince Albert’s 21st of the season, which equals their total for the entire season last year, came on the heels of a disheartening 3-2 setback in Cranbrook, B.C., one night earlier.
“I thought Kootenay played a good game,” said Young. “We had a lot of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on and I felt we had energy carry over from there. We started (the game in Medicine Hat) with a lot of energy.”
Prince Albert vaulted past the Calgary Hitmen and Edmonton Oil Kings back into first place overall in the Eastern Conference standings and reclaimed their 13-point cushion over the Moose Jaw Warriors, Swift Current Broncos and Saskatoon Blades for top spot in the East Division.
RAIDER NOTES: Luke Siemens turned aside all 24 shots to record his third shutout of the season while Prince Albert fired 28 shots at the Medicine Hat tandem of Marek Langhamer and Cam Lanigan…Conroy, who was playing in his 100th WHL game, also collected two assists to go with his third-period tally…Davis Vandane also reached a personal milestone as Saturday’s contest was his 150th in the WHL. The overage defenseman started his career with Saskatoon before moving over to the Spokane Chiefs and finally landing in Prince Albert earlier this year…Mike Winther picked up a pair of assists to give him 96 points in his WHL career…The Raiders were without defenseman Evan Morden, Jonas Knutsen and Joey Santucci. Morden sat out the game while he waits for a league ruling, expected today, on his head contact major penalty late in Friday’s game against Kootenay. Knutsen is in France with the Norwegian national junior team that is competing at the Division 1 IIHF world junior championships. Santucci is still on the injured list with a lower-body injury…Saturday’s game was the last for a while for McNeill and Leon Draisaitl. McNeill is in Calgary today for the start of the Team Canada selection camp for the world junior championships that will be held in Ufa, Russia, over the Christmas holidays while Draisaitl is heading to Germany to play for his national team at the same tournament…The Raiders have a few days off before they play three games in four nights to complete their pre-Christmas portion of the schedule. Prince Albert is in Regina on Thursday to take on the Pats and then home on Friday for a return match against Kootenay. The Brandon Wheat Kings visit the Art Hauser Centre on Sunday before the team has 12 days off for the holidays…One note from around the league on the weekend had Prince Albert product Miles Warkentine score his first-ever WHL goal as the 16-year-old Warrior forward helped Moose Jaw end the Spokane Chiefs’ undefeated swing through the East Division. The Warriors won 4-3 leaving Spokane with a 5-1-0 record on the trip.