Raiders' Fonstad with new confidence; P.A. dethrones the Oil Kings

By Jeff D'Andrea
January 27, 2018 - 10:18pm

Cole Fonstad had an event filled three days.

On Thursday, he came the first Prince Albert Raider to score at the Top Prospects Game in the past 17 years, in Guelph, Ont. Then on Friday, he rushed back to the Art Hauser Centre just in time to score a goal in the Raiders’ 6-2 win over the Prince George Cougars.

Then on Saturday, Fonstad rattled off two more goals and a helper in the 9-2 over the Edmonton Oil Kings.

“It was huge. The last 10 games before I went there, I don’t think I was myself,” the sophomore sniper Fonstad said. “I was lacking confidence and wasn’t where I need to be to help this team be successful. I think going there, I got all my confidence back. I realize the level I need to be at.”

Fonstad now has 15 goals and 51 points in 49 games this season, and three goals and a helper since his return from the Top Prospects Game. Fonstad rejuvenation hasn’t gone unnoticed by his team.

“You can see, he’s playing with a lot more confidence since he came back,” Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid said. “You don’t know how you match up, you never do until you’re on the same ice as those guys and obviously he matched up pretty good out there. That gives him more confidence coming back. He’s been a better player for us since.”

The win evens the Raiders’ record at 20-20-7-2. The Raiders remain four points back of the Saskatoon Blades for the second wildcard spot, as the Blades beat the Prince George Cougars 4-3 in a shootout Saturday night.

The Raiders’ nine-goal output was the most they’ve scored in a single game since March 4, 2014 when they beat the Moose Jaw Warriors 9-2.

Big time milestones

With one flick of the wrist, Prince Albert Raiders forward Parker Kelly reached a pair of Western Hockey League career milestones.

In the first period, Kelly scored on a 3-on-1 rush to not only give him his 50th career goal, but also his 100th career point.

“It’s kind of flying by for how long I’ve been in the league now,” Kelly said, who played in his 188th game with the Raiders on Saturday. “It’s just a little thing, but it’s a nice feather in the cap.”

Then with 1:27 left on the clock, Nikita Krivokrasov sniped home his first WHL career goal in his 38th game. Eric Pearce, who set up Krivokrasov in front of the net, also got his first career assist on the play.

When Krivokrasov went off the ice for a change, assistant captain Brayden Pachal came all the way across the bench to congratulate him and the rest of the Raiders followed suit.

“Obviously the goal is amazing, but at the end of the day, it’s a team effort,” Krivokrasov said. “They help me out, and I couldn’t ask for more, so I said thanks to the boys. It was awesome to have that experience. Hopefully, there are many more to come.”

Krivokrasov almost didn’t play on Saturday—he would have given way for 20-year-old Regan Nagy, who was a game-time decision with a lower-body injury. Nagy took warm ups but did not participate in the game.

Last Saturday, Nagy fell awkwardly against the Medicine Hat Tigers and was originally listed on the “indefinite” injury list this week. Habscheid upgraded his status to “day-to-day” status on Thursday and said Nagy is “really close” to returning to game action.

Want to see some highlights?

First Period

1-0, Raiders, Cole Fonstad from Brayden Pachal and Jordy Stallard, 9:25

2-0, Raiders, Parker Kelly from Spencer Moe and Vojtech Budik, 10:12

Second Period

2-1, Oil Kings, Trey Fix-Wolansky from Tomas Soustal, 0:28

3-1, Raiders, Cole Fonstad from Vojtech Budik, 4:38

4-1, Raiders, Vojtech Budik from Curtis Miske, 9:23

4-2, Oil Kings, Trey Fix-Wolansky from Tomas Soustal, 19:07

Third Period

5-2, Raiders, Kody McDonald from Cole Fonstad, 0:42

6-2, Raiders, Kody McDonald from Brayden Pachal and Zack Hayes, 4:00

7-2, Raiders, Justin Nachbaur from Brett Leason and Vojtech Budik, 5:40

8-2, Raiders, Zack Hayes from Justin Nachbaur and Max Martin, 8:37

9-2, Raiders, Nikita Krivokrasov from Eric Pearce and Max Martin, 18:33

More home-sticking

The Raiders are currently halfway through their four-game homestand at the Art Hauser Centre. They’ll wrap that up on Tuesday against the Red Deer Rebels and on Friday against the Saskatoon Blades. The Raiders will go back on the road on Saturday to play the Regina Pats.


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On Twitter: @jeff_paNOW

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