Raiders 'push rope' just enough to pass the Hurricanes

By Jeff D'Andrea
December 13, 2017 - 10:09pm

When asked to explain how the Prince Albert Raiders beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 3-2 on Wednesday at the Art Hauser Centre, Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid referenced something that the team’s athletic therapist Duane “Puff” Bartley said during the game.

“I think Puff had it the best. During the game, he said it was like ‘pushing rope’ today. That’s kind of the way it was—it was difficult,” Habscheid said. “I thought we missed passes, overskated pucks. We were fighting it the whole game, just not in a rhythm.

“We pushed the rope straight enough and long enough to get the win,” Habscheid said, ever dedicated to the analogy. “When you do that, you can’t try to do too much, you have to really simplify and play the right way. You have to play pucks forward, gain lines, gain real estate and grind away and find away.”

For the Raiders, the victory evens their record once again at .500 with a 13-13-5-2 record. All of their last six games have been one-goal games, with three of them coming via shootout or overtime decisions.

The Hurricanes were at a .500 record before the game, but now fall to 14-15-2-0.

Raiders defence prospect Adam Herold got in his first game of the season on Wednesday. He was called up on Tuesday from the Regina Pat Canadians of the Sask Midget AAA Hockey League.

Herold takes the spot of Vojtech Budik, who reported to the Czech Republic’s camp for the upcoming World Juniors. With Sergei Sapego out of the lineup and Cody Paivarinta leaving in late November, there was a lot of ice to make up.

"Buds, he's a great defender, not only for our team but one of the best defenders in the league," Habscheid said. "You take his minutes out, and obviously, those minutes need to be filled. I thought our young guys did a real good job and [Austin] Crossley did a good job and the other three were fine as well."

Raiders’ Top Prospect

Before Wednesday’s game, Cole Fonstad was selected to represent the Raiders at the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Jan. 25, 2018. Fonstad was gracious enough to talk to before the game, that story is here.

“Obviously it’s huge. He’s a big part of our team, he creates a lot offence for us, but can provide on the defensive side as well,” one of Fonstad’s line mates Parker Kelly said. “I think for him, it’s going to be a huge feather in his cap for the draft. I wish him all the best and hope he does well.”

Scoring Summary

First Period

1-0, Hurricanes, Jake Elmer from Jordy Bellerive and Brennan Riddle, 4:52

1-1, Raiders, Brett Leason from Spencer Moe, 6:57

2-1, Raiders, Jordy Stallard (power play) from Brayden Pachal, 13:15

Second Period

2-2, Hurricanes, Jake Elmer from Taylor Ross, 8:27

3-2, Raiders, Curtis Miske from Cole Fonstad and Parker Kelly, 19:40

Third Period

No scoring.

Thanks for comin’ out

The last two games for the Raiders have been among the best attended games by its fans this season.

The Raiders brought in 2,136 fans on Wednesday, after welcoming 2,132 fans on Friday in a 6-5 shootout win over the Kamloops Blazers. Those are the third and fourth-best attended games for the Raiders this year.

Only the home opener against the Moose Jaw Warriors on Sept. 22 (2,514) and a game against their biggest rivals in the Saskatoon Blades on (2,195) have more.

One last hoorah at home

The Raiders have one more game before the holiday break, Friday at the Art Hauser Centre against the Kelowna Rockets. The Raiders will run a toy drive for the Salvation Army and Prince Albert Optimist Club during the game.

With how stacked the Raiders’ division is, with two of the top 10 teams in the CHL in the Swift Current Broncos and the Moose Jaw Warriors doing damage, not to mention the Memorial Cup hosting Regina Pats.

“You always want to end it right. If we get that, we’ll be above .500 heading into the break,” Habscheid said. “For everything we’ve went through and the schedule, I think the guys have done really well.”

The Raiders will return to game action with a home-and-home series against the Saskatoon Blades Dec. 27-28, with the home game coming on the 28th at the Art Hauser Centre.


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