Carson Perreaux has bided his time and now it is time to reap the rewards of all his hard work.
The 18-year-old forward for the Prince Albert Raiders is in his second season with the Western Hockey League club and after seeing spot duty during his rookie campaign, he has progressed into a larger role with the team as this season has moved along.
“Last year was a good experience for him,” says Raiders’ head coach Steve Young. “He got to learn what the league is all about.”
“Originally he started on just five-on-five (situations), but now he is penalty killing (too),” added Young. “He has gotten stronger as the year has gone on. Playing with Leon (Draisaitl) obviously is a bonus for him.”
The 6-foot-2, 183-pound product of Brandon has seen his offensive numbers increase sharply with the added playing time as last year he had just two goals and three assists in 43 games while this year he has collected 12 goals and 12 helpers in 63 contests.
Those numbers and his improved play have caught the attention of NHL scouts as he was projected to be a fifth-round selection for this summer’s Entry Draft in the mid-season reports.
“I’m always just trying to get better every day,” says Perreaux. “I think about it here and there, but it is all about this season. I don’t worry too much about myself.”
Since being put on a line with Dakota Conroy and Draisaitl several games ago, he has become a bigger threat, which suits him just fine.
“I enjoy playing with Conroy and Leon,” says Perreaux. “We have a lot of chemistry and hopefully it will continue.”
Perreaux, who was named the game’s first star on Wednesday when the Raiders crushed the Regina Pats 7-0, will be looking to continue his improved play tonight when his hometown Brandon Wheat Kings make their final appearance of the season at the Art Hauser Centre.
Prince Albert has won all four previous meetings against the Manitoba foes, including two by shutout, and Perreaux insists he treats all games the same even if they are against the team from where he calls home.
“In some ways they get me going more, but I like to treat it like any other game,” says Perreaux.
A win tonight will all but guarantee the Raiders a return to the post season as they will need just one point in their final seven games to nail down a playoff berth. More importantly, a victory tonight will keep Prince Albert alone in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings and allow them to keep pace with the East Division-leading Saskatoon Blades, who won for the 18th straight time on Friday when they outscored the Wheat Kings 4-1.
RAIDER NOTES: It is the fifth annual Raider Faith Night tonight with groups from churches, youth organizations and schools in attendance at the game…Prince Albert will have a busy week next week as they play four games in five nights beginning with a final trip to Swift Current on Tuesday to take on the Broncos. The Raiders will then be home to Calgary on Wednesday, travel to Regina on Friday and then host Medicine Hat on Saturday…Wednesday’s game against Regina was the 100th game of Jonas Knutsen’s WHL career and should Mike Winther play in the final eight games he will reach the 200-game plateau.