Daily Herald Staff
The Prince Albert Raiders got off on the right foot to start their six-game Western Hockey League road trip, but they didn’t make it easy on themselves.
Leading 3-2 with one minute to play in their game in Brandon against the Wheat Kings on Friday, defenseman Josh Morrissey took a penalty for interference. The Raider bench argued the call putting Prince Albert down two men for the final stretch and when Brandon pulled goaltender Curtis Honey for another attacker, the Raiders were suddenly down three skaters.
As has been the case all year, goaltender Luke Siemens was unbeatable and the 20-year-old made a couple of key stops, most notably on Chad Robinson in the dying seconds, to preserve the win.
The win, the Raiders third of the season over the Wheat Kings, improves Prince Albert’s record to 27-15-1-3 and increases their lead atop the East Division standings to nine points over the Swift Current Broncos. The Raiders also maintain a 12-point cushion over the Saskatoon Blades, who edged the Moose Jaw Warriors 5-4 on Friday for their first victory since revamping their team at the trading deadline.
Raider captain Mark McNeill led the way offensively against the Wheat Kings scoring a pair of first-period power-play goals with Jonas Knutsen notching the game winner just over five minutes into the third frame. Leon Draisaitl assisted on all three Raider goals.
Marek Kalus, who was acquired from the Spokane Chiefs at the deadline for Swiss scoring star Alessio Bertaggia, scored both Brandon goals.
Siemens finished the game with 33 saves while Honey was tested 27 times.
The Raiders will return home today for a brief stopover before heading out to the west coast on Monday for a gruelling five-games-in-eight-nights swing that begins on Wednesday in Prince George.
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders were Riley Guenther, Austin Daae and Joey Santucci. All three were healthy scratches…Tickets are now on sale for the eighth annual SaskPower Training for Life Power Breakfast which will be held on Mar. 19 in the Ches Leach Lounge at the Art Hauser Centre. Former CFL commissioner and current director of operations for UFC Canada, Tom Wright, will be the guest speaker. Money raised from the event will be presented to Special Olympics Saskatchewan and the Prince Albert Raider Education Fund. Individual tickets can be purchased at the Raider office…McNeill and Draisaitl will be special guests during the inaugural Flaman’s Outdoor Classic today when they will drop the puck for the ceremonial opening face-off between the Prince Albert Mintos and Saskatoon Blazers at 4:30 p.m. The event starts at 10 a.m. with an atom division game with the Prince Albert A&W Bears squaring off against the Saskatoon Stars in a Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League contest at noon. One other atom division game will be squeezed in between the Bears and Mintos contests beginning at 2:30 p.m. All games are at the Crescent Heights Arena.