© Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Edmonton Oil Kings netminder Tristan Jarry makes a toe save as Prince Albert Raiders forward Dakota Conroy lies in wait for a rebound during first period action at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert on Friday evening. Oil Kings forwards Brandon Baddock (13), Cole Benson and (12) and defenceman Ben Carroll were also keeping close watch in what turned into a lopsided Oil Kings victory.
Probably the only person among the 2,721 people at the Art Hauser Centre on Friday not surprised with the outcome is the one you would expect to have the fiercest reaction.
That is not to say Prince Albert Raiders head coach Cory Clouston was passive in assessing his club’s 9-1 setback to the Edmonton Oil Kings; Clouston just saw it coming.
“Our practise yesterday carried into today’s game,” said Clouston after suffering his first loss behind the Raider bench. “They (Edmonton) were ready. They lost in Brandon the other day and they were hungry.”
Starving is more like it!
The Oil Kings scored 32 seconds into the game and never let their foot off the accelerator as they finished the game with 51 shots in building period leads of 4-0 and 8-0.
“It’s a wake up call,” said Clouston. “It’s not so good to go through the motions.”
“Right from the goaltender out, the whole team was poor,” added Clouston. “You can’t point the finger at any one thing.”
The Oil Kings used their size and speed to their advantage in controlling the game from the opening face-off. Prince Albert tried to counter with some physical play of its own, but that didn’t change the pace of the game. In fact, it could prove to be quite costly.
When Edmonton captain Curtis Lazar potted his first of three on the night to make the score 2-0, Prince Albert’s Jayden Hart did his best Dale Hunter impression by charging the Ottawa Senator’s first-round pick into the boards while the Oil King winger was celebrating the goal.
Hart and Mitchell Moroz then engaged in some fisticuffs and while Moroz, who has been on a tear of late scoring five times in the Oil Kings’ three previous games, was given a fighting major and double 10-misconduct penalties, Hart was tossed from the game and will likely face some disciplinary action from the league for his actions.
There were other heated exchanges throughout the night, but Edmonton remained composed and came at the Raiders in waves.
In addition to Lazar’s hat-trick, the Oil Kings got two goals from Riley Kieser and singles from Cody Corbett, Henrik Samuelsson, Mads Eller, with his first WHL goal, and Edgars Kulda.
Carson Perreaux, who had a tussle of his own early in the first period when he came to the defence of Raider captain Josh Morrissey who had been checked hard into the boards, had the only Prince Albert goal.
Tristan Jarry had a relatively quiet night in the Edmonton net facing just 18 shots while Cole Cheveldave allowed four goals on 16 shots before being pulled in favour of 16-year-old rookie Nick McBride at the start of the second period. It was McBride’s first taste of regular-season action and despite allowing five goals on 35 shots he handled himself reasonably well while sitting in the shooting gallery.
The Raiders, who remain in first overall in the Eastern Conference standings with a 5-1-0 record, will take to the road for just the second time this season when they are in Swift Current tonight to face the Broncos. Edmonton, meanwhile, is now 3-3-0 as they face the Saskatoon Blades at Credit Union Centre tonight.
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Friday were Tyler Dea, MacKenzie Stewart and Lance Yaremchuk, all out as healthy scratches, while Mike Winther remains sidelined on a week-to-week basis with an upper-body injury…Newly acquired overage defenseman MacKenzie Johnston made his debut in a Raider uniform and he was arguably the best player for Prince Albert…The provincial under-16 roster was released on Friday with none of the players picked belonging to the Raiders. A pair of Prince Albert Mintos are on the list – defenseman Matthew Parsons and forward Cole Young -and Prince Albert native Drew Warkentine, who is playing for the Tisdale Trojans, will be on the team that plays in the Western Canada Under-16 Challenge in Calgary at the end of the month.