Prince Albert, SK – The Prince Albert Raiders (11-1-0-0) earned their fourth consecutive win on Tuesday night with an 8-4 win over the Calgary Hitmen (1-6-2-0) at the Art Hauser Centre.
Brett Leason continued his torrid pace to the season with two goals and two assists, setting a new career high for points in a game with four. Sean Montgomery, Justin Nachbaur, Brayden Pachal, and Sergei Sapego also had multi-point nights in the win.
The Raiders got on the board first 6:24 into the contest. Nachbaur’s initial shot was stopped by Jack McNaughton, but Sapego banged home the rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
Six minutes later, Leason scored his first of two in the opening frame. The WHL’s leading scorer took a pass from rookie Cohner Saleski, skated past the Calgary defence, and buried his 10th of the year. The assist was Saleski’s first point of his WHL career.
Before the end of the frame, Leason struck again. He outwaited the defence and snapped a shot past McNaughton to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead after the opening period.
In the second, Mark Kastelic finished off a pretty passing play by the Hitmen to bring his side within two at the 2:23 mark. Less than two minutes later, Zach Huber beat Donovan Buskey with a quick shot off a faceoff in the Raiders’ end to make it a 3-2 game.
The Raiders responded at the 7:30 mark. Zack Hayes’ point shot deflected off of a member of the Hitmen and past McNaughton for the rearguard’s first of the year.
Late in the second, the Hitmen cut into the lead again. Luke Coleman was the beneficiary of a scramble in front of the net that saw the puck ricochet off a few skates in front of Buskey and eventually through the Raiders netminder with 3:03 to play in the frame.
It didn’t take long for the Raiders to get the goal back. With 1:15 left, Jeremy Masella crossed with Kaiden Guhle at the top of the zone. The defenceman from Phoenix walked into the slot and snapped home his first goal of the year to put the Raiders ahead 5-3 after two.
Nachbaur extended the Raiders’ lead at the 5:59 mark of the third. Ozzy Wiesblatt sped into the zone on the right wing and centered the puck for Nachbaur, who chipped it over McNaughton for his fourth of the year.
Midway through the period, Sean Montgomery got into the action with a shorthanded goal. Leason left the puck for his fellow Calgarian, who wired a shot into the top corner to make it 7-3. Less than four minutes, Carson Miller ended the Raiders’ power-play goal drought with a marker with the man advantage. It was the Raiders’ first power-play goal since October 3 against Medicine Hat, a span of five games.
Late in the game, Dakota Krebs rounded out the scoring with a power-play marker with 1:27 to go.
Buskey picked up his second win in as many starts for the Raiders, making 20 saves in the process. McNaughton turned aside 30 Raider attempts in a losing effort.
The Raiders are off until Saturday night when the Spokane Chiefs (5-2-0-2) make their first trip to the Art Hauser Centre in two years. Puck drop is 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Raider Office and at raiderhockey.com.
Also coming up at the Art Hauser Centre is Hocktoberfest on Saturday, October 27 when the Regina Pats come to town. For just $35, fans get a ticket to the game, a “Raiderhosen” t-shirt, and a 30 oz. boot stein with one free fill. Game time is 7 p.m. For more information, contact the Raider Office.