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May29,2014 (ISN) – Prince Albert SK- When the Prince Albert Raiders selected three players in
the first two rounds of the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, they knew that had future
pillars for the franchise.

Defenceman Brendan Guhle was selected 3rd overall, followed by goaltender
Nick McBride at the 23rd overall position, and forward Matteo Gennaro at the
41st overall spot.

“When we were looking at that draft class, and after we took a defenceman
early in the draft, we were adamant about taking a goalie with our second
pick,” reflects Raiders General Manager Bruno Campese. “When it came to the
third pick, the top player we had ranked, regardless of position, was
Gennaro.”

“Looking back we were very fortunate to have been able to select very
talented players all at different positions that will form the foundation of
our team moving forward.”

All three had strong rookie showings in the WHL debut season, as the Raiders
were the only team in the Eastern Conference to have three 16-year-old
players suit up for the 2014 WHL Playoffs.

McBride posted a 12-7-1-1 record between the pipes, with a 2.95 goals
against average and .908 save percentage, including a 6-1 record in the
month of March, and winning the tiebreaker game to push the Raiders into a
playoff spot.

“The team brought me in really well. I felt I had a good year and had the
opportunity at the end of the year to really show what I could do,” said
McBride.

Guhle appeared in 51 games for the Green and Gold, recording 10 assists and
saving his best for last, scoring his first WHL goal in his first WHL
Playoff game against Edmonton.

Like McBride, Guhle played his best hockey down the stretch, receiving a
bigger role when veteran defenceman Graeme Craig was injured.

“I prepared like I never really had before. I wanted to give our team the
best chance to make playoffs and I wanted to do well in playoffs. I was
given an opportunity when Craig got hurt and saw my chance. It worked out
well for me.”

Gennaro burst onto the scene with 2 goals and 2 assists in his first three
games in the league, including being named the First Star in his first game
at the Art Hauser Centre. He would go on to finish the season with 5 goals
and 10 assists in 60 games.

“I have been training quite a bit, I have been going to my facility 5 times
a week,” said Gennaro on his training for his sophomore campaign. “I feel
like [my training program] helps me become quicker with my speed while
adding to my strength. I get on the ice once a week as well to keep my
skills sharp, so I feel I will be coming into camp quite prepared.”

When it comes to goals for their second season, the three share similar
sentiments of expanding their roles on the team and helping produce another
playoff berth.

“My next step is to taking the majority of the workload. My goal is to win
as many games as I can for the team,” McBride stated on having the chance to
take over as the starting goaltender for the Raiders.

While Guhle hopes he can imitate his late season success in the new season,
“I’m just going to keep doing what I was doing at the end last year and give
one hundred percent every practice. I really hope to make playoffs, so
that’s my biggest goal.”

“I have lots of goals for myself this year. I am going to try my best to
produce as much as I can offensively and be an important go-to guy for PA
this year,” said Gennaro on his chance to move up in the lineup this season.

Even though they are trying to focus on the season with the Raiders, the
off-ice distractions and pressure of their NHL draft year is understandably
creeping into their heads. Whatever challenges and pressures the new season
may bring, the three are grateful to be able to go through it together.

“We always see each other and are around each other in class and stuff,”
shared McBride. “We know what each other are going through and we think the
same, so it’s really nice”

Gennaro relished the opportunity to have two other guys going through the
same experience, something that is rare in the WHL.

“It was really helpful. There were lots of time where you go through the
rough times or walls in your season. It was nice to have those two with me,
it’s easy to relate with them about it.”

“It’s awesome, we are all different positions so we all contribute at
different parts of the ice,” added Guhle on the dynamic the three developed
over the season. “We all get along well and are very excited for this year.”

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