Through three games this season, it's become apparent the Prince Albert Raiders and the Swift Current Broncos don't like each other very much.
Coming into Tuesday night's meeting in Swift Current, the Raiders have picked up four of a possible six points against the Broncos, earning a regulation victory, an overtime loss, and a shootout loss so far against the number-two team in the Eastern Conference.
Raider forward Justin Nachbaur said the bad blood has been evident throughout the season.
"It's our kind of game. Everybody in the room likes the intensity that we have against Swift. It's a rivalry game," Nachbaur said. "Everybody likes to battle and likes a little chippiness; it's just part of the game."
The Broncos will be missing the WHL's leading goal scorer Tyler Steenbergen as he takes part in training camp with Team Canada ahead of the upcoming world junior tournament, but that was also the case Dec. 5 as Steenbergen was held out of the lineup due to injury during the Broncos' 5-4 overtime win over the Raiders.
Defenceman Zack Hayes said the rivalry will be evident no matter who is in the Broncos' lineup.
"I feel like it's going to be a physical game. We don't like them that much, they don't like us," Hayes said.
After completing a chunk of schedule featuring one home game out of 12 over the course of 32 days, dubbed The Odyssey by the Raiders, Hayes said the team has been able to get on the ice and practice with more frequency since returning home.
"A lot of guys are not just visual learners, they like doing it. Like me, I like getting on the ice and doing it hands-on compared to doing video," said Hayes. "I learn it better, and it's easier to remember when you do it in the game. You don't have to think about it."
The Raiders enter Tuesday's game in fifth place in the East Division, sitting three points back from Regina for fourth and four points ahead of the sixth-place Saskatoon Blades. Prince Albert is currently holding the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference, with Saskatoon the closest team in pursuit.
Herold called up
The Raiders welcomed defenceman Adam Herold to practice on Monday afternoon. With Sergei Sapego out of the lineup due to injury and Vojtech Budik leaving for world junior camp with the Czech Republic on Wednesday, the team needed to bring in outside help.
Herold was drafted 35th overall by the Raiders in the 2016 bantam draft, the same year the team drafted current defenceman Rhett Rhinehart (13th) and forward Eric Pearce (42nd). This season Herold has 17 points in 25 games with the Midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians.
On Twitter: @Trevor_Redden
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