Raiders get split in Brandon
Daily Herald Staff
The Prince Albert Raiders’ recent trend of winning one and losing the next continued on Saturday when they fell 5-2 to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the finale to a weekend doubleheader played in the Manitoba centre.
The Raiders, who won the opening match Friday 4-3, are 3-3-0 in their last six games with each victory followed by a loss and as a result remain in a battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Hockey League’s Eastern Conference.
Prince Albert, which drops to 22-19-2-0 on the season with the loss, are deadlocked with the Red Deer Rebels and Kootenay Ice for the final two spots with the Raiders holding games in hand on both challengers. Kootenay, however, could break free of that group with a win at home on Sunday against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
On Saturday, Prince Albert missed a glorious opportunity to draw even with the Wheat Kings for sixth place, but as a result are now four points back of Brandon. The Raiders, however, are just five points out of fourth as the Medicine Hat Tigers, who also lost on Saturday 5-4 to the Kelowna Rockets, and the Regina Pats are just one point better than Brandon. The Swift Current Broncos lead the East Division and are six points up on Prince Albert with the Raiders also holding several games in hand on them as well.
Saturday’s game in Brandon was even at 2-2 entering the third period before the Wheat Kings pulled away with three unanswered goals. John Quenneville, with his second of the night, Jesse Gabrielle and Rihards Bukarts tallied for Brandon in the final frame with Beauval product Eric Roy also scoring for the Wheat Kings earlier in the game.
Carson Perreaux, who hails from Brandon, notched his sixth of the year against his hometown Wheat Kings while Josh Morrissey also scored for Prince Albert. Both Perreaux and Morrissey now have 14 goals on the season.
Defenceman Sawyer Lange continued to add to his career-best totals as he assisted on both Raider goals on Saturday giving the 19-year-old 29 points on the season.
Cole Cheveldave had another strong game making 37 saves in the Prince Albert net while Jordan Papirny was tested 25 times in the Brandon goal.
Prince Albert, like most of the WHL, will have several days off this week as the league breaks for the annual Top Prospects game slated for Wednesday in Calgary. Prince Albert import Leon Draisaitl, who played in his 99th career game on Saturday, is the lone Raider competing in the game.
The Raiders return to action on Friday when they travel to Saskatoon to face the Blades. Prince Albert will then host Regina on Saturday and Swift Current on Sunday. Before then there is bound to be some intense practises as the Raiders will finally have some time to work together as a group with four players – Collin Valcourt, Ryan Coghlan, Calder Brooks and Graeme Craig – joining the team in various trades since Christmas in addition to five others just recently returning from international tournaments over the holiday break.
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Saturday were Brendan Guhle, Craig Leverton and Gage Quinney, all were healthy scratches…Saturday’s win was Brandon’s first in five meetings with the Raiders this year…Prince Albert enters Friday’s game against the Blades having won all five previous tilts with their provincial rival.