Raiders earn key victory over Broncos

Perry
Perry Bergson
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Prince Albert Raiders' defenseman Tomas Andrlik (right) denied a scoring chance from Broncos' forward Glenn Gawdin during a 3-1 win in Swift Current Monday.

After a weekend when the Prince Albert Raiders lost a pair at home and looked to be in big trouble to make the playoffs, they’ve shown some life on the road.

The Raiders scored a goal in each period en route to a 3-1 victory over the Swift Current Broncos during a rare Monday afternoon tilt at the Credit Union iPlex.

Collin Valcourt, Graeme Craig and Leon Draisaitl scored for the Raiders, with two of the goals coming on three chances with their resurgent powerplay.

Nick McBride made 31 saves for the win, the sixth of the 16-year-old rookie’s career.

Finnish defenceman Julius Honka broke the shutout with a powerplay goal midway through the third period, while his countryman Eetu Laurikainen made 24 saves for the Broncos.

After dropping the first three games of the season against the Broncos and then ending up on the wrong end of a 7-0 on Jan. 20, the Raiders have now won three in a row against the Broncos.

The season series against the Broncos stands this way; a 5-2 road loss on Oct. 5; a 4-3 OT home loss on Nov. 6; a 6-2 road loss on Nov. 9; a 1-0 home win on Nov. 20; a 7-0 road loss on Jan. 20; a 3-2 road shootout win on Jan. 24; and a 5-2 home win on Feb. 4.

With the win, the Raiders now sit at 27-28-2-2, good for 58 points and ninth in the Eastern Conference.

They remain two points back of the Red Deer Rebels, who lost in Calgary to the Hitmen on Monday. The Raiders have one game in hand on the Rebels.

It’s been an underwhelming battle for the final playoff spot, with the Raiders posting a record of 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 and the Rebels going 1-7-1-1.

The Raiders have just 13 games left in the regular season, with five of them coming in a week as they make the tough swing through the U.S. Division.

All of the American teams have better records than they do.

ICINGS: Raiders defenceman Mackenzie Stewart and Broncos forward Dakota Odgers fought in the first period … One of things the Raiders identified as a problem in their 2012 summer summit was that the team took far too many penalty minutes. They apparently took the message to heart; the Raiders and Everett Silvertips have drawn the fewest penalty minutes in the league ... The Raiders have a four-game home stand after they get back from their road trip ... The team makes the 981-km drive down to Spokane from Swift Current, where they face the Chiefs on Wednesday ... Schedule makers did the team few favours. After their final game of the U.S. trip, in Everett on Wednesday, Feb. 26, the Raiders drive more than 1,700 km in time to get home for a Saturday game against Kootenay ...

 

Organizations: Raiders, Credit Union

Geographic location: U.S., Swift Current, Everett

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