Prince Albert Raiders forward Leon Drasaitl and Moose Jaw Warriors forward Ben Duperreault watch as the puck is momentarily suspended in the air between Warriors goaltender Justin Paulic’s arm and pad during second period action at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. Herald photo by Perry Bergson
Playing the way they should against a team eliminated from playoff contention, the Prince Albert Raiders trounced the Moose Jaw Warriors 9-2 on Tuesday at the Art Hauser Centre.
A thorn in their side throughout the season, the Raiders outshot the Warriors 36-21 en route to just their second win in seven meetings with the 17-40-9 provincial rivals this season as they continue to battle with the Red Deer Rebels for a playoff spot.
As the Raiders cruised to their second-straight win, coach Cory Clouston said the turning point, was a toe-save made by rookie backstop Nick McBride on a penalty shot by Warriors left wing Torrin White early in the first period.
"He (McBride) was very comfortable, very confident with that," Clouston said of McBride's penalty shot performance. "If he doesn't make that save it can be a very different game. It's not always how many saves you make it's the timeliness of them."
After delivering several big hits early in the first period, the Raiders found themselves in some penalty trouble when defenceman Brendan Guhle took a checking from behind penalty.
On the ensuing power play, Warriors centre Brayden Point netted his seventh goal against the Raiders this season just under four minutes into the opening frame.
With just over five minutes to go in the opening period, Raiders centre Chance Braid ripped a shot on net which trickled through the legs of Warriors backstop Justin Paulic. As the puck slowly crept through Paulic's five-hole and towards the goal line, Raiders forward Carson Perreaux knocked it in to knot things up at one.
Less than a minute after Perreaux's 17th of the season, Raiders centre Leon Draisaitl continued his torrid scoring pace, netting his 31st of the season to carry a 2-1 lead into the second period.
Outshooting the Warriors by a wide 14-6 margin, the Raiders kicked off scoring in the second period early with a goal by Braid just over two minutes into the period followed by a Mackenze Stewart marker 48 seconds later to give the Raiders a convincing 4-1 lead.
It was Stewart's fourth of the season that was the "nail in the coffin" as far as momentum was concerned, Clouston said.
"All four of our lines did a good job," he said. "We can't rely on one or two guys and tonight was a night where we had every guy playing well and contributing."
Scoring his second power play marker of the night, Point cut into the lead but that was about all the damage the Warriors were going to do as Raiders defenceman Josh Morrissey added a pair of goals along with Reid Gardiner's 22nd of the season to carry a 7-2 lead into the third period.
Although the third period was nearly a moot point, it didn't stop the Raiders from running up the score as forward Calder Brooks added a tally along with Draisaitl's second of the game, capping a four-point night for the German import.
Backed by his team's offensive onslaught, McBride cruised to his second-straight win, making 19 saves along the way.
When asked what prompted his decision to start McBride over overage starter Cole Cheveldave, Clouston said it was simply a matter of "trying to win hockey games."
"He's (McBride) playing with confidence and when Cole (Cheveldave) goes in we are going to need him to do the same," Clouston said.
With the win, the Raiders improved their record to 31-30-5 as they earn a valuable two points in the Eastern Conference standings where the Rebels continue to nip at their heels.
The Raiders will have a day of rest before finish off their season series with the Calgary Hitmen on Friday at the Art Hauser Centre.
RAIDER NOTES: Not dressed for the Raiders on Tuesday were Ryan Coghlan, Tim Vanstone and Darcy Zaharichuk ... Following his sixth multi-point night in seven games, Raiders centre Leon Draisaitl is just eight points shy of the 100 mark. The last Raider to tally more than 100 points was Steve Kelly in 1995-1996. The Raiders post a record of 2-9-0 when Draisaitl is held off the score sheet ... Warriors forward Brayden Point has collected 13 points in seven games against the Raiders this season including a six-point night on Feb. 7 at the Art Hauser Centre ... The Raiders post a record of 21-1-1 when leading after two periods of play.
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