DUBNetwork Feature Game of the Night: December 15, 2019 Price Albert Raiders 20-8-3-1 @ Saskatoon Blades 14-15-1-2 4:00 PM (CST)
In their final game before the holiday break, the Prince Albert Raiders travel to Saskatoon to
battle the Blades in an East Division showdown. This is the fourth meeting of the season
already between these division rivals, with the Blades holding the season series so far winning two out of the previous three meetings. Their most recent battle was way back on October 4, where the Blades came out victorious in a 2-1 hard fought, overtime victory.
Blades forward Chase Wouters scored the overtime winning goal with only 1:03 left on the clock. This is the first of three straight meetings between the two teams as after the holiday break the two teams open up the second half of the season with a home and home weekend battle starting December 27, in Prince Albert.
The East Division leading Prince Albert have been led all year from second year import centre
Aliaksei Protas. The Washington Capitals third round draft choice from this past summer’s
entry draft, is continuing his strong play from last year. Scoring 40 points in the regular season, Protas had a great playoff run with the Raiders, as he collected 12 goals and 22 points in the Raiders playoff run to winning the WHL Championship. So far this season Protas has already eclipsed last season’s point total collecting 42 points including 18 goals, in 27 games. The 42 points puts Protas eighth in WHL scoring. He along with Ilya Usau are wrapping up play today at the IIHF U20 World Juniors Division 1 Group A for Belarus, the host country. Austria has already sealed victory at the tournament and promotion into the main group for World Juniors next year. Usau has 21 points so far this season. Without the two of them, the Raiders are missing two of their top five scorers.
Second on the team in scoring is second year forward Ozzy Wiesblatt. He has 14 goals and 24 assists for 38 points. Last year Ozzy had 39 points, including 15 goals in his rookie season with Prince Albert. First year Raider Brayden Watts has added another boost to the Raiders lineup. Coming over from the Vancouver Giants, the overage forward has 35 points in 30 games with the Raiders this season. Watts is closing in on his career high in points which he set two seasons ago with the Giants where he put up 39 points in 70 games.
Kaiden Guhle leads the Raiders in defensive scoring so far this season. The first overall selection by the Raiders in 2017, has 21 points in 32 games for the Raiders.
As for the hometown Blades they have been led by 19-year-old captain, forward Chase
Wouters and overager Riley McKay. Wouters, in his fourth full season in the WHL, has not missed a game the last two plus seasons. Wouters had 39 points last year including 15 goals, this season the forward has 12 goals and 12 assists. As the Blades first round pick in 2015, Wouters had a special moment earlier in the season, as he skated in his 200th career WHL game, all with the Blades. He’s currently tied for first in team scoring through 32 games with 24 points.
Tied with Wouters for the team lead is McKay. The Swan River, MB native is currently in his fourth WHL season as well. Unlike his captain, McKay spent the first two years
of his WHL career with the Spokane Chiefs. Last season with the Blades, Mckay posted career highs in all offensive categories. Scoring 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points in 68 games.
Blades made a move this week as they have acquired forward Alex Morozoff from the Seattle Thunderbirds in exchange for a sixth round pick in 2023. Drafted into the league by the Red Deer Rebels in 2016, Morozoff has gone on to play in 116 Western Hockey League games over three seasons with the Thunderbirds and Red Deer Rebels, notching 18 goals and 10 assists for 28 points. This year Morozoff has four goals and one assist for five points in 24 games for the Thunderbirds.
One player the Blades would love to have back in their lineup is Kirby Dach. Dach played for the Blades during the 2018-19 season, notching 73 points (25G-48A) in 62 games played. Drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks third overall at the 2019 NHL draft last June,
Dach is currently having success with the Blackhawks suiting up in 27 games so far posting 10 points including five goals. One player missing for the Blades for todays game is
defenceman Radek Kucerik, who is battling for a spot on Czech Republic’s team for the
upcoming 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic.
This is a special game for the Blades as it is their annual Teddy Bear Toss game, as fans are encouraged to throw teddy bears onto the ice once the Blades score their first goal.
Expected in goal:
• Boston Bilous (Prince Albert)-Bilous was one of four goalies the Raiders used last season.
Appearing in nine games, Bilous won five games. Bilous has played in 25 games so far this
seasons and has 15 wins in those appearances including two shut-outs. Bilous has posted a
2.49 GAA and a .897SAV%
• Nolan Maier (Saskatoon) – Maier, currently in his third season, is coming off an impressive
season. Finishing last season with 36 wins in 53 appearances, to go along with a 2.64 GAA
and a .910 SAV%. Maier, who this season played in his 100th career WHL game, has
played in 26 games so far, winning 11. He currently has a 3.33 GAA and a .893SAV%.
Also in action:
Lethbridge Hurricanes @ Calgary Hitmen 2 pm MST
–Carl Tetachuk stopped 31 shots to shut out the Hitmen last night. Can he keep it going in a matinee affair today?
Winnipeg ICE @ Regina Pats 4 pm CST
-The ICE have won all three vs Regina so far. The last two games have been tight though – each decided by a single goal.
Spokane Chiefs @ Everett Silvertips 4 pm PST
-Winners of six straight, the Chiefs will try to snap their four game skid in their season series with Everett.
Seattle Thunderbirds @ Portland Winterhawks 5 pm PST
-The Thunderbirds are extremely young but still have found a way to win games in the U.S. Division. They will try to keep the Winterhawks from winning their seventh straight game.