Raiders best Wheaties 4-1

P.A. club wins 3rd-straight game; Stal­lard-Fon­stad-Kelly line com­bines for 6 points

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - SPORTS - EVAN RAD­FORD

Back­stopped by goalie Ian Scott and spurred by a multi-point game from their top line, the Prince Al­bert Raiders dis­patched the vis­it­ing Bran­don Wheat Kings 4-1 Fri­day night in West­ern Hockey League Ac­tion from the Art Hauser Cen­tre.

Scott made his third con­sec­u­tive start and played to his third con­sec­u­tive win since re­turn­ing from a lower body in­jury that kept him side­lined for four weeks. He turned aside 34 of the Wheat Kings’ 35 shots, earn­ing a 0.971 save per­cent­age.

“It was another good team ef­fort. We played a full 60 min­utes and it def­i­nitely showed on the score­board. The of­fence helped, too, and we were able to find the net a lot eas­ier,” he said.

Scott’s ef­forts were aided by a po­tent Raiders’ of­fence that found scor­ing suc­cess early.

At 1:05 of the first pe­riod, cen­tre­man Jordy Stal­lard scored when his wrist shot de­flected off Bran­don de­fence­man Kade Jensen’s stick. The al­tered puck move­ment fooled goalie Dy­lan Myskiw, who was caught with his glove too low as the black rub­ber sailed by him.

Stal­lard’s line­mate Cole Fon­stad as­sisted on the goal.

At 12:14, Parker Kelly tipped Max Martin’s wrist shot from the point past Myskiw to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead on the pow­er­play; team cap­tain Cur­tis Miske also as­sisted.

The game was a spe­cial one for the twenty-year-old cap­tain – it marked his 200th WHL game since join­ing the league with the Spokane Chiefs in the 2014-15 sea­son.

“It’s still as fun as it was my first game. It’s a tremen­dous hon­our to be in the league this long. I just want to keep it go­ing; hope­fully I hit 250 down the road,” he said.

While Bran­don opted to mostly play the body and use its size to check Prince Al­bert, the home team used its speed and ef­fec­tive puck move­ment to main­tain its of­fen­sive zone pres­sure.

Still, Scott wasn’t about to take the Wheat Kings’ scor­ing prow­ess for granted.

“They got lots of of­fence on that side. And you can’t be giv­ing them too many good scor­ing chances, be­cause lots of those guys can bury the puck. So you just gotta keep it tight.”

Go­ing into Fri­day’s game, the Wheat Kings had six play­ers who’ve scored 10 or more points, three of whom eclipsed 20 points, in­clud­ing Ty Lewis with 30 and Kale Clague with 24.

But Scott and the Raiders kept those two off the score sheet the en­tire game.

Tan­ner Kaspick scored the lone goal for his Wheat Kings, unas­sisted at 11:12 of the se­cond pe­riod.

By that point, Prince Al­bert was up 4-1.

Prior to that, Kelly scored his se­cond goal of the game (and his tenth of the sea­son) on a tic-tac-toe play set up by Stal­lard at his blue line at 2:05 of the frame.

Stal­lard fed the puck to Fon­stad, who skated it into the Wheat Kings’ zone on Myskiw’s left side.

Once at the face­off dot, Fon­stad back­handed his pass to a wide-open Kelly in the slot. The 18-year-old wristed it into the back of the net, glove side on the net­min­der.

Stal­lard, Fon­stad and Parker com­bined for six points on the night. That line leads its team with 56 com­bined points this sea­son.

Devon Skoleski fin­ished off the scor­ing for the Raiders: At 10:05 in the pe­riod he bat­ted the puck out of the air and into Bran­don’s net, wait­ing on Myskiw’s left doorstep.

The re­main­der of the pe­riod was a tough one for the Raiders; Bran­don fired 20 shots on Scott.

Head coach Marc Hab­scheid said he thought his team cheated a lit­tle bit in the se­cond pe­riod, but over­all he liked its play.

The third pe­riod was a score­less draw in which each team fired seven shots on the op­pos­ing goalie.

The Wheat Kings’ phys­i­cal strat­egy con­tin­ued for the re­main­der of the game.

“(Bran­don) plays how they play. We’re not the big­gest team, but we’re a pretty scrappy team and we’ll play what­ever way we must to win. We like play­ing fast, and part of that is be­ing com­pet­i­tive and quick,” Hab­scheid said.

Ac­cord­ing to Miske, the night’s win was in­dica­tive of an over­all con­fi­dence boost on the team af­ter it had come up short in three close over­time losses in mid-Oc­to­ber.

“I think it’s just the be­lief fac­tor. In those games, we were los­ing close ones. But now we’re think­ing we got that con­fi­dence, that lit­tle bit of ex­tra swag­ger. And we’re show­ing it on the ice out there and we’re tak­ing it to some pretty good teams.”

Scott agreed.

“We just gotta keep build­ing on that, and I think we can com­pete with any­one in the league.”

The Raiders re­main in fifth place in the WHL’s East di­vi­sion, with a record of 6-4-3-0, four points back of Bran­don (19) and five points back of Regina (20).

Their next game is on the road in Moose Jaw on Nov. 2. They re­turn home to face the Swift Cur­rent Bron­cos on Nov. 3. Moose Jaw vis­its P.A. on Nov. 4. Game time for all con­tests is 7 p.m.

EVAN RAD­FORD/DAILY HER­ALD

Prince Al­bert Raiders cap­tain Cur­tis Miske (18) grabs the puck as he skates into the Bran­don Wheat Kings’ zone while Braden Schneider (2) and Lin­den McCor­ris­ter (26) pur­sue him.

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