Raiders Dull Blades At Home

PHOTO COURTESY: Steve Hiscock

The Prince Albert Raiders would score early on Friday night and not look back as they downed Saskatoon in the Blades final road game of the 2013-14 season. The top line for Prince Albert was key as Leon Draisaitl, Dakota Conroy and Collin Valcourt combined for 11 points.

The Saskatoon Blades didn’t get off to the start they wanted to begin their final road game of the 2013-14 season. Only 1:06 into the opening 20 minutes the Raiders made it a 1-0 game when Calder Brooks netted his 15th of the season, cashing in a rebound from on top of the crease. That lead stretched to 2-0 only 32 seconds later when a shot from Leon Draisaitl couldn’t be squeezed by Blades starter Troy Trombley, with the big German netting his 37th of the year and 100th point. Saskatoon did their best to push back a few minutes later when Nikita Scherbak had a good look, walking down the right wing on a 2 on 1 and firing on the cage. But the first good chance against Raiders goalie Nick McBride was turned aside by the youngster as he got a blocker on the Scherbak shot. Prince Albert then extended the lead to 3-0 at 8:44 when Gage Quinney was able to beat Trombley for his 8th of the season. Troy Trombley was able to close the door after that, stopping a Draisaitl wrister with 2:05 to play. The score would be 3-0 for the Raiders through the opening 20 minutes with the shots sitting at 17-7 in favour of the home side.

The Blades got off to a much better start to begin the middle frame and nearly cut into the lead at the 4:25 mark. Jordan Thomson spotted Connor Sanvido wide open beside the Raiders goal, but the 20 year old couldn’t convert on the shot-pass as it was just tipped wide. Saskatoon kept the pressure up with Scherbak taking a hit to set up a 2 on 1 rush, with Dylan Busenius just missing on his high attempt which glanced off the mask of McBride. But Saskatoon kept at it and did cut into the lead at 15:07. The goal came off the stick of Mitch Lipon as the play was nearly identical to the earlier exchange between Thomson and Sanvido. Nick Zajac spotted Lipon and hit him with a pass on the tape and the former Blazer tipped it in at 9:27 making it a 3-1 game. Logan Harland drew the second assist on the play, Lipon’s 6th of the season. But the two-goal game wouldn’t last. At 15:07 the Raiders would make it 4-1 when Draisaitl hit former Blade Collin Valcourt in front. The big forward took the feed, delayed and deked around Trombley before sliding in his 26th goal to make it 4-1. That would be the score through 40 minutes as the shots were 29-14 overall.

The third period started much like the first period for Saskatoon as the Raiders found some offence early. Only 52 seconds into the period the Raiders extended the lead to 5-1 when Dakota Conroy and Draisaitl teamed up for a give and go, with Conroy firing in a low shot from the right side for his 29th of the season. Things then picked up physically when Josh Morrissey lowered the boom on Nick Zajac in front of the Raiders bench, sending a buzz through the crowd. Saskatoon then went to work on the attack, putting together a strong shift near the 9-minute mark which include a hard shot and subsequent rebound chance for MacKenzie Johnston and Ryan Graham, which just bounced over his stick. Graham then had a look seconds later as he fired a hard wrister shot from the slot, only to be turned aside by McBride. Saskatoon would then go to their first PP of the game just after the media timeout, but despite some puck movement wouldn’t be able to generate much of a scoring opportunity. The Raiders would then go to their own PP chance and make it count. Valcourt would tap in his 2nd of the night after a nice feed from Draisaitl just after the 14 minute mark to make it a 6-1 game. Saskatoon would have an answer shortly after as Tyler Dea would hit Cory Millette with a nice feed and Millette would score shortside, his third straight game with a goal. Dea’s assist would mark his first point as a Blade on the 6-2 goal, with Chase Clayton earning the second assist. But that lead would once again be extended to five, only 20 seconds later when a Josh Morrissey blast beat Trombley through a crowd to make it 7-2. That would be the final as Draisaitl and Valcourt combined 8 points in the victory.

These teams will close out the regular season on Saturday night in Saskatoon during what is sure to be a huge event. It’s Fan Appreciation night! Not only will some great prizes be handed out, but a special cash prize will also be rewarded.

The Blades will be chasing a WHL record as the 50-50 jackpot for the game will be starting at $50,000 as soon as the doors open. The pot has potential to hit $200,000 so you want to be in the building for your chance at the big prize.

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