With 10 games remaining on the Western Hockey League schedule, the Prince Albert Raiders know they are going to be in a battle right to the end to try and secure home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
They took a big step in getting to that goal with a 4-1 win in Moose Jaw on Tuesday over the Warriors.
The win gives Prince Albert 74 points and moves them into a tie with the Red Deer Rebels for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Raiders, who have a game in hand on the Rebels, also kept pace with the Saskatoon Blades for first place in the East Division with the winner of the division getting the No. 2 seed in the playoff pairings.
The Blades won their 16th consecutive game by knocking off the Rebels 4-0 on Tuesday and maintain a seven-point cushion on the Raiders, but the final two games of the season are in Prince Albert with Saskatoon being the opponent on both nights.
Mike Winther with two goals, Dakota Conroy and Jayden Hart scored for Prince Albert on Tuesday with Mark McNeill assisting on three of the markers.
‚ÄúI thought Mark (McNeill), Mike (Winther) and Shane (Danyluk) had their best effort since getting together as a line,‚ÄĚ said Raiders‚Äô head coach Steve Young. ‚ÄúNot just on the scoresheet, but at both ends of the ice.‚ÄĚ
Raider netminder Luke Siemens also turned in another solid performance as the former Warrrior turned aside 41 shots in helping Prince Albert square the season series against Moose Jaw at four wins apiece.
Prince Albert will be looking to build on the momentum from Tuesday‚Äôs win when they host the Regina Pats tonight at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre. Young says it is always easier to get more confidence after a win.
‚ÄúWe needed these two points,‚ÄĚ said Young. ‚ÄúIt makes you know what you can do and it is always easier to build confidence when you win a game.‚ÄĚ
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Tuesday were Riley Guenther, Tim Vanstone and Austin Daae. Vanstone is still on the mend from a concussion suffered earlier this month while the other two were healthy scratches‚Ä¶Tonight‚Äôs game will be another Las Vegas Night with one lucky fan winning a trip for two to Las Vegas. Fans must be 21 or older to enter the draw with the prize including return airfare from Saskatoon and two nights accommodation.