© Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Brandon defenseman Colton Waltz rubs out Raider forward Matteo Gennaro during Western Hockey League action on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre. Prince Albert improved its record to 3-0 and will look to remain undefeated tonight when they once again host the Wheat Kings at 7 p.m.
The Prince Albert Raiders are 3-0 to start the Western Hockey League season, but keeping the foot on the gas seems to be a problem as the Raiders barely held on for an 8-6 triumph over the Brandon Wheat Kings at the Art Hauser Centre on Friday.
It was the third straight game that the Raiders had built a sizeable lead only to see their opponent gain some late momentum and that is an area of concern for Prince Albert head coach Cory Clouston.
“We just can’t survive when we get up on a team,” said Clouston. “We had a good first period; a good first 25 minutes, but we can’t let off the gas. We see how good we play when we play the way we need to.”
“We can’t share momentum,” added Clouston.
The Raiders exploded out of the gate scoring four times in the first 20 minutes and outshooting the previously undefeated Wheat Kings 16-5 in the opening frame.
Carson Perreaux, with two, Matteo Gennaro and Leon Draisaitl staked Prince Albert to the advantage with Josh Morrissey and Craig Leverton extending that lead to 6-1 midway through the middle session.
Eric Roy, Richard Nejezchleb and Tim McGauley got the Wheat Kings to within three after 40 minutes of play and Jack Palmer scored for Brandon four minutes into the third frame to make the crowd of 2,450 start to get a little nervous.
Morrissey, who was playing his first game since returning from the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets training camp earlier in the week, restored Prince Albert’s three-goal cushion, but John Quenneville and Rihards Bukarts got Brandon to within one before Perreaux sealed the win with an empty-net marker.
“They’ll have a lot of confidence and they should,” noted Clouston of the momentum Brandon gained late in the game and will likely use to build on when the two clubs square off again tonight at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre.
RAIDER NOTES: Cole Cheveldave finished the game with the game with 29 saves while Brandon netminder Curtis Honey turned aside 37…Prior to the game the Raiders welcomed three new members to their Wall of Honour. Going into the builder category are Jim Bristowe and Doug Winterton. The athlete category grew by one with Brad McCrimmon being honoured posthumously. McCrimmon played with the Raiders from 1974-76 before going to play over a 1,000 games in the NHL. He is the older brother of Brandon coach and general manager Kelly McCrimmon who watched the ceremony from the Wheat King bench while his parents accepted the honour on his behalf…For the third straight game the Raiders scratched Tyler Dea, MacKenzie Stewart, Lance Yaremchuk and Darcy Zaharichuk. All four are first-year players waiting for their first taste of regular-season action.