Prince Albert Raiders forward Carson Perreaux gets hauled down as he tries to skate between Regina Pats defenceman Kyle Burroughs and winger Geordie Maguire late in the third period of Friday’s WHL action at the Art Hauser Centre. Burroughs took a penalty on the play. Herald photo by Perry Bergson
With Mike Modano's no. 9 freshly hanging above their heads from the rafters of the Art Hauser Centre, the Prince Albert Raiders scored five power play goals to lift the Prince Albert Raiders to a 7-1 win over the Regina Pats on Friday.
Defenceman Josh Morrissey scored four points in the Raiders third win in four games to keep them atop the East Division and three points behind the Medicine Hat Tigers for no. 1 in the Eastern Conference.
Raiders coach Cory Clouston said his team was prepared for the 40-minute pre-game ceremony retiring Modano’s jersey.
“Obviously it was a special night but we weren’t focused on that,” Clouston said. “We were trying to enjoy it but at the same time we knew we had a game to win, especially after the effort that we had last game (a 3-1 loss at home to Medicine Hat.)”
The sparks were flying as the Raiders hit the ice with energy after an emotional pre-game ceremony honouring Modano. Just over six minutes into the opening period, Raiders left wing Darcy Zaharachuk dropped the gloves with Pats defenceman Colby Williams.
The Raiders appeared to feed off the energy of the fight and the sold-out building in the first period, but the Pats followed suit, equalling the Raiders eight shots in the opening frame.
The Raiders specialty unit continued to dominate the Pats, who after the first period, were 0-for-11 on the power play in three games against the Raiders. Scoring the first period's lone goal, Raiders defenceman Dylan Busenius beat winless Pats goaltender Mac Engel with a wrist shot from the point to put the Raiders ahead 1-0.
The Pats struck back early in the second period when Raiders backstop Cole Cheveldave had a loose puck roll off of him into the crease and Pats left wing Geordie Maguire tapped it in to tie the game. The Raiders power play was quick to respond however, with center Leon Drasaitl scoring his first of November just over a minute later in similar fashion.
The Raiders power play continued to wreak havoc of the Pats in the second period, as Morrissey tallied his 31st WHL career goal, a slap shot from the point, tying him for fifth with Todd Nelson for all-time goals scored by a Raiders defenceman.
Clouston obviously liked what his powerplay had to offer.
“I thought we did a real good job, first of all, of entering the zone,” Clouston said. “You can draw up any powerplay you want but if you don’t have entry, it won’t be very effective. Once we gained entry, I thought we did a real good job of executing.”
Working four-on-four, the Raiders continued to pour it on the Pats in the second period with a wrap-around goal from center Jayden Hart, who scored yet again on the power play a minute later to give the Raiders a four-goal cushion.
Cheveldave, who made 47 saves in a losing effort on Tuesday against the Medicine Hat Tigers, continued to make his case as one of the league's elite goaltenders. Cheveldave stopped all 13 Pats shots in the second period.
Despite outshooting the Raiders 34-31, the Pats could not beat Cheveldave, who made 33 saves, recording his ninth win of the season.
Fights have been rare for the Raiders at home this season, however Pats left wing Dyson Stevenson and Raiders defenceman Mackenze Stewart treated fans and the guest of honour Modano to a dandy. Stevenson and Stewart exchanged blows five minutes into the third period, igniting Raiders left wing Dracy Zaharichuk, who scored a meaningless sixth goal shortly after to put the game out of reach for the Pats.
With six minutes remaining, the pot boiled over when Raiders left wing Gage Quinney hit Engel in his crease, igniting a line brawl which saw Cheveldave skate out to the neutral zone to challenge an irate Engel with nothing but the refs holding him back. Engel was ejected from the game, giving Prince Albert native Dawson MacAuley some time in net in front of the hometown crowd.
RAIDERS NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Friday were Craig Leverton, Lance Yaremchuk, Tyler Dea and Mike Winther ... Leverton is out with an undisclosed injury ... Raiders centre Winther is serving the third game of a four-game suspension for his check to the head on Regina Pat's right wing Connor Gay on Oct. 23. Winther is the second Raider to be suspended this season, along with centre Jayden Hart... Draisaitl has points in 12 of 16 games this season... Defenceman Josh Morrissey is tied for fifth overall in Raiders franchise goals by a defenceman with 31 ... Morrissey has recorded a point in 12 of 15 games this season... The Regina Pats power play is scoreless in three games against the Raiders this season, going 0-for-17 ... The Raiders lead the season series against the Pats, 3-0.
With files from Perry Bergson