After a pair of consecutive losses, the Prince Albert Raiders will look to get back in the saddle against the Vancouver Giants at the Art Hauser Centre on Tuesday.
Starting the season 5-0-0, the Raiders five-game win streak was thwarted in a 9-1 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings at home on Friday.
In their second road game of the season, the Raiders suffered a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday, falling from first to third place in the Eastern Conference.
The latest addition to the Raiders roster, Swift Current native MacKenzie Johnston, acquired in a deal with the Kelowna Rockets last week, said the Raiders are not in a position to take any team lightly.
“We are not world beaters,” Johnston said. “We can’t just go out there, show up and expect to win. We gotta work hard every night, nothing is going to come easy especially against teams that have won before like Edmonton, they know how to win. The next step we have to take is to learn how to win day in and day out.”
The Vancouver Giants are the league’s worst team, sitting dead last in the Western Conference with a record of 1-5-0. The Giants have scored a league worst nine goals, the only team in the league without goals in the double digits.
A quarter of the Giants goals are from their leading scorer, center Anthony Ast who has four points.
“Biggest thing is to get back on track, work hard and stick to our systems and trust ourselves and our teammates.” Johnston said. “It’s the only time we see Vancouver so hopefully they got some video for us. Basically just go out and play our game.”
A rare opponent, the Raiders have faced the Giants just three times over the last three seasons, outscored by the Western Conference opponent 11-10 with a record of 2-1-0 over that span.
Prince Albert will be the third stop on the Giants six-game road stand. They suffered a fourth straight loss against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Saturday.
Johnston fills the Raiders third and final overage player slot on the roster and in due time, will provide veteran leadership to the team with his 235 WHL games of experience.
“They have a leadership group here and I just want to lead when I can, get comfortable with the guys first and then as we get going here, start practising and being around the guys, “ Johnston said. “I can really help out those guys that have the letter on, and just be a mentor to some of the younger guys to,” he said.
Johnston notched an assist in Saturday’s loss to the Broncos.
“For me, its just shutting things down in the defensive zone and just being solid and reliable,” Johnston said.
Forwards Mike Winther and Gage Quinny are not expected to be in the Raiders lineup on Tuesday, both sitting day-to-day with injuries. Also out of the lineup, will be centre Jayden Hart who is awaiting disciplinary action from the league for his late hit on Edmonton’s Curtis Lazar on Friday.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Art Hauser Centre on Tuesday.