The Prince Albert NAPA Raiders aren’t wasting any time getting back to work as the two-time provincial pee wee finalists have a heavy schedule to start the New Year.
Already saddled with three league games – all against the West Central Wheat Kings – this week, the Raiders have also scheduled the opening matches of their Saskatchewan Hockey Association playoffs with Melfort.
The NAPA Raiders, who were in Dodsland on Saturday and Kerrobert on Sunday for Centre-Four Hockey League regular-season matches with West Central before the Wheat Kings make a visit to Prince Albert for an 11:15 a.m. date on Sunday at the Steuart Arena, will travel to Melfort on Thursday for the opening game of the provincial playoffs.
Melfort and the Raiders will then square off in the second game of the two-game, total-goal affair on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Northern Regional Recreation Centre in Buckland. The NAPA Raiders, who have lost the provincial final in each of the last two years to a team from Yorkton, will be looking to take that one final step and it all begins this week against Melfort.
The weekend games against West Central were a bit of a struggle for the Raiders as they fell 5-2 on Saturday before battling them to a 5-5 draw on Sunday. John Kalmakoff and Jackson Hope had the Prince Albert goals in the opener while Kevin Ledoux, with two, Ben Zultok, Abby Soyko and Dylan Scriven scored on Sunday. Prince Albert’s record in CFHL play is now 8-5-2.
Venice House Raiders
The Prince Albert Venice House Raiders are also getting the Christmas rust off in a hurry as they have four Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League games scheduled this week.
Venice House opened the busy stretch with an 8-7 triumph over West Central on Saturday in Kindersley as Riley Sawchuk led the way with a hat-trick. Kyle Schneider with two goals and two assists and Mikhail Tait with a goal and four helpers also had explosive starts to the second half of the season. Owen Ozar and Ty Stone also scored for Prince Albert in the win over West Central with Ryan Hordal chipping in with three assists.
Matthew Guitard picked up the win in the Venice House net as the Raiders outshot West Central 38-20.
The Raiders, who improve to 9-4-4 on the season, will host the Saskatoon Bandits on Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. at the Kinsmen Arena before the Regina Monarchs come to Prince Albert on Saturday for a 3 p.m. match at the Art Hauser Centre and Swift Current pays a visit to the Steuart Arena for a 4 p.m. contest on Sunday.
All three of the upcoming opponents are well below Venice House in the standings so it is a great opportunity to put together a streak, something that will be needed if the Raiders hope to keep their sights on the North Division-leading Sask Valley Vipers or the second-place North East Wolf Pack. Prince Albert trails Sask Valley by 12 points and they are seven back of the Wolf Pack, but the Raiders have games in hand on all teams in the league.
Dmyterko Enterprises Raiders
While the NAPA Raiders and Venice House Raiders have their slates full, the Dmyterko Enterprises Raiders don’t return to Centre-Four Hockey League midget division action until Jan. 13 when they will host Warman at 6:15 p.m. at the Kinsmen Arena.
Dmyterko Enterprises posted an 8-9-4 record in the first half of the season and begin the New Year in fifth place in the standings.