Cranbrook, BC – The 2018-19 Prince Albert Raiders (23-1-0-0) have now rewritten the franchise record book.
On Saturday night, the Raiders defeated the Kootenay ICE (7-15-3-1) 5-1 at Western Financial Place. The win was the Raiders’ 16th straight win, setting a new franchise record for consecutive wins.
Brett Leason led the way with a goal and two assists, giving him sole possession of the WHL scoring lead for the time being. Noah Gregor had a pair of goals in the third period to put the game out of reach. Parker Kelly and Sean Montgomery also had multi-point games in the win.
The Raiders opened the scoring for the fourth consecutive game. Shortly after the ICE hit the post, Leason forced Dallas Hines into a turnover and was off on a breakaway. The Calgary product solved Duncan McGovern for his 25th goal of the season, extending his point streak to all 24 games played this season. That’s the longest streak of its kind in the WHL’s “Internet Era,” which dates back until the 1996-97 season with statistics available on the league’s website.
In the second, Ozzy Wiesblatt extended the Raiders’ lead. He cut to the side of the goal, collected a rebound, and backhanded it under McGovern. It took a few seconds for the referee to signal the goal, but it crossed the line and put the Raiders up 2-0 at the 9:03 mark of the second.
Later in the frame, Kelly gave the Raiders a three-goal lead. He took a pass from Leason, patiently skated to the net, and went forehand-backhand past McGovern with 4:12 to play in the second.
Gregor made it a four-goal game with a power-play marker at the 5:19 mark of the third. He buried a cross-ice pass from Leason for his 11th goal of the year.
The ICE broke Donovan Buskey’s shutout bid midway through the third period. Michael Milne redirected Nolan Orzeck’s shot past the Raiders goaltender at the 10:56 mark to cut the lead to 4-1.
Late in the third, Gregor restored the Raiders’ four-goal lead. Just as penalty to Brayden Pachal was expiring, the San Jose Sharks prospect picked up the puck and joined Pachal on a rush. The two worked a give-and-go play with Gregor finishing in front of the Kootenay net with 2:21 remaining.
Buskey closed the door for the final minutes, finishing the game with 22 saves for his fourth win in as many starts this season. McGovern was the busier of the two netminders, making 51 stops in a losing effort.
The Raiders’ next stop on their road trip is in Red Deer against the Rebels (16-5-1-0) on Tuesday night at the ENMAX Centrium. The Rebels are the only team to have defeated the Raiders this season, doing so in Red Deer on Oct. 6. Game time is 8 p.m. CST.