In the final game of their six-game road swing, the Prince Albert Raiders kept the pedal down and dropped the Kootenay ICE by a score of seven to three.
Coming off a three to one loss in Langley on Thursday against the Vancouver Giants, the message to the team was clear heading into Saturday night.
“We talked about where we want to go. The road trip has gone well at 4-1-0-1, but it was 3-1-0-1 [coming into the game] and it could have gone 3-2-0-1, and that’s the difference we talked about this afternoon,” said assistant coach Jeff Truitt.
“The guys didn’t want to let this one go, wanted to get refocused, and I thought they did that tonight.”
The Raiders got on the board early in this one, taking a two to nothing lead before the game was five minutes old on goals from Dante Hannoun and Parker Kelly. Along with line mate Spencer Moe, who created Hannoun’s opening goal with his speed and put in one of his own on a beautiful backhand move on a breakaway, the trio combined for 10 points on the night.
“[Moe] was heavy tonight, he puck protected well, he made a lot of things happen and their pace drove things tonight,” said Truitt.
While that line was a force to be reckoned with, it was Noah Gregor who earned first star honours as he collected his first career hat trick, and in the process reached his first ever 30-goal season.
With the Raiders up two to one after the first, Gregor extended the lead just 12 seconds into the second period and added a shorthanded tally and another even strength goal in the third to round out his night.
“When he’s got his feet moving, he creates a lot of space for himself, and sometimes when he’s got the puck defencemen back off a little bit and that kind of softens up the gap, which opens up holes for him to shoot,” said Truitt.
“When he gets that chance, it’s a great shot.”
Kelly and Gregor both found the back of the net shorthanded as the Raiders went a perfect three-for-three on the penalty kill. In six games throughout the trip, the Raiders penalty unit was successful on 18 of 19 shorthanded situations, adding two shorthanded goals.
1-0, Prince Albert, Dante Hannoun from Spencer Moe and Parker Kelly, 0:58
2-0, Prince Albert, Parker Kelly from Dante Hannoun, 4:02 (shorthanded)
2-1, Kootenay, Brad Ginnell from Peyton Krebs and Chase Hartje, 9:32
3-1, Prince Albert, Noah Gregor from Justin Nachbaur and Brayden Pachal, 0:12
3-2, Kootenay, Jakin Smallwood, 7:30 (shorthanded)
4-2, Prince Albert, Spencer Moe from Parker Kelly, 13:04
5-2, Prince Albert, Noah Gregor , 15:09 (shorthanded)
6-2, Prince Albert, Noah Gregor  from Justin Nachbaur and Max Martin, 7:10
7-2, Prince Albert, Dante Hannoun  from Parker Kelly and Spencer Moe, 8:28
7-3, Kootenay, Connor McClennon from Owen Pederson and Austin Schellenberg, 16:08
The Raiders now return home to Prince Albert and will have five days to prepare for a pair of games at the Art Hauser Centre this weekend against Edmonton on Friday and Moose Jaw on Saturday.
On Twitter: @Trevor_Redden
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