Game Two Preview: Raiders vs Blades
STARTING ON THE RIGHT FOOT:
The Raiders picked up a win in their home opener against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Friday night at the Art Hauser Centre. Justice Christensen, Krzysztof Macias, Aiden Oiring, and Ryder Ritchie all found the back of the net in the 4-0 win, while Max Hildebrand backstopped the team with a 28-save shutout, the first blank slate of his WHL career. Macias potted a goal in the third period, giving him his first WHL goal in his first WHL game after being selected by the Raiders in the 2023 CHL Import Draft. Meanwhile Christensen, Oiring, and Ritchie each had two-point nights, all with a goal and an assist.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS:
Friday’s home opener win was played in front of a near sellout crowd of 3,025 at the Art Hauser Centre. It was the highest attended home opener game since the 2019-20 season (3,108), the year after winning the WHL Championship. It’s just the third time since the 2000-01 season that PA’s home opener has had at least 3,000 fans attend. The club had an announced attendance of 3,361 in the 2000-01 home opener.
A BRICK WALL IN GOAL:
Max Hildebrand picked up his first career WHL shutout in Friday night’s win over the Warriors. It took him 38 games to accomplish that feat. Only one other goalie in the league (Joshua Ravensbergen, Prince George) boasted a clean slate in the opening night of the 2023-24 regular season.
LOOKING TO KEEP ROLLING:
The Raiders will look to continue to do what they did in the pre-season, and that’s beat Saskatoon. Prince Albert went 3-0-0-0 against the Blades in pre-season action, including an exhilarating 4-3 shootout win. They will also be looking to get off to a better start against Saskatoon than they did last year, which ended up in the green and gold going 3-6-1-0 against the Bridge City Bunch. Saskatoon started off the season going 5-0-0-0 against the Raiders after their first five meetings. Prince Albert will be looking to flip the script on that starting tonight.
POINT PER GAME MAN:
If there’s one Raider that loves playing against the Blades, it’s Ryder Ritchie. In ten regular season games against them last season, Ritchie tallied 10 points (3G-7A) which was the most on the team. Sloan Stanick finished second in scoring against the Blades with eight points (4G-4A).
Friday night saw three Raiders make their WHL debuts. European forwards Krzysztof Macias, Matej Kubuiesa, as well as B.C. native Doogan Pederson all dressed in their first Western Hockey League games. After playing one game against the Winnipeg ICE last season, forward Oli Chenier played in his second career game.
After tonight’s game in Saskatoon, the Raiders will travel to Brandon to take on the Wheat Kings on Wednesday night. They will then return home to host the Regina Pats on Friday night at 7pm.