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Leavitt Machinery Preview – Game 35 at Saskatoon

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RAIDER REVIEW: The Raiders (31-2-0-1) are back after the holiday break tonight at SaskTel Centre to take on the Saskatoon Blades (21-10-4-0) in a battle of the top two teams in the East Division. In their last outing before the break, the Raiders came back to beat the Swift Current Broncos 7-5 at the Art Hauser Centre. Justin Nachbaur and Noah Gregor each had two goals in the win. Parker Kelly and Ozzy Wiesblatt contributed a goal and an assist each. Cole Fonstad, Kaiden Guhle, Kody McDonald, and Carson Miller each chipped in two assists. Sean Montgomery was the other goal scorer, tallying the game’s first goal to let the teddy bears fly. Brett Balas picked up his first career win in relief.

VS. SASKATOON: This is the fourth time the Raiders and Blades have squared off this season. In the last outing, Nolan Maier made 32 saves as the Raiders fell 1-0 to the Blades on Dec. 9.

2018-19 SEASON SERIES AT A GLANCE

Sept. 30/18 at PA | PA 4 SAS 1 |P. Kelly (1g-1a), B. Leason (2a), I. Scott (28 saves)

Oct. 14/18 at SAS | PA 6 SAS 2 | B. Pachal (1g-2a), P. Kelly (1g-1a), B. Leason (2g-1a)

Dec. 9/18 at SAS | SAS 1 PA 0 | N. Maier (32 saves), I. Scott (26 saves), T. Robins (1g)

Dec. 27/18 at SAS

Dec. 28/18 at PA

Jan. 5/19 at PA

March 16/19 at SAS

March 16/19 at PA

Power play: Prince Albert – 1/14; Saskatoon – 2/14

Leading scorer: Prince Albert – Brett Leason (2g-3a); Saskatoon – Three players tied (2pts each)

HALFWAY THERE: With the win on Dec. 15 against Swift Current, the Raiders completed their first 34 games with a 31-2-0-1 record, earning 63 of a possible 68 points for top spot in the WHL. Through 34 games last year, the Raiders posted a 13-14-5-2 record for 33 points. The Raiders earned their 31st win last season on March 9.

WORLD JUNIOR WATCH: Brett Leason scored a pair of goals and added two assists in Canada’s 14-0 win over Denmark in each team’s opening game at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship in Vancouver last night. Leason forced a turnover and assisted on Canada’s first goal of the game. He then scored Canada’s 11th and 12th goals before assisting on the 13th. Ian Scott did not play last night, but is expected to make the start tonight against Switzerland.

BELARUSIAN REPORT: Aliaksei Protas and Sergei Sapego wrapped up their time at the 2019 World Junior Division 1 Championship before the break, finishing in second place with a 3-2 record in the round-robin tournament. In the five games played in Germany, Protas finished with two goals and three assists with Sapego chipping in a pair of goals.

BREAKING THE STREAK: Justin Nachbaur ended a 15-game goalless drought by scoring a pair in the final game before the break. It was the third two-goal performance of his career and first since Feb. 21 against Lethbridge. Nachbaur has now tied his career high with nine goals to go along with six assists this season. He’s five points away from tying the total set during his rookie season.

NEXT UP: The Raiders return to the Art Hauser Centre on Friday night to take on the Blades in the second leg of the home-and-home series. Puck drop is 7 p.m. Tickets are available at raiderhockey.com and the Raider Office.

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