January 28, 2019
The top-ranked team in the Western Hockey League all year long has been the Prince Albert Raiders, who play in the Eastern Conference, and aren’t too familiar to BC WHL fans.
Their stats have been impressive all year long, clearly. But without seeing them, the question in BC at least has been, well how good are they really?
Well that question seemed to be answered pretty clearly over a 10 day stretch that started in Prince George on January 16 and ended Saturday in Cranbrook, as the Raiders swung through BC on a six game roadie.
They finished with four wins, one loss, and one shootout loss, outscoring the competition 25-14 over the six games.
However, a closer look reveals that the three of their four wins were over teams ranked #9, #10 and #11 in their conferences. The highest ranked team they downed were the the #5 Victoria Royals.
The top ranked team in the BC division, and #2 in the Western Conference, Vancouver Giants, were the only team to defeat them in regular time, 3-1 EN. Yes, it was game five of the roadie, nine days into the BC swing, but has to be a nice confidence booster for the Giants, showing the Raiders are not invincible.
The #3 team in the BC division (#6 in Western conference), the Kelowna Rockets, who have struggled to find wins all season, edged them 4-3 in a shootout, in game three, the night after their 4-1 win in Kamloops.
Scores were as follows:
Wednesday, January 16, 6-2 win vs Prince George Cougars (#10 in conference)..
Friday, January 18, 4-1 win vs Kamloops Blazers (#9 in conference).
Saturday, January 19, 4-3 shoot out loss to the Kelowna Rockets (#6 in conference).
Tuesday, January 22, 4-1 win vs Victoria Royals (#5 in conference)
Thursday, January 24, 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Giants (#3 in conference).
Saturday, January 26, 7-3 win vs Kootenay Ice (#11 in eastern conference).
The Raiders return home, with a league leading record of 41-6-0-2, and 84 points, 19 points in front of Saskatoon Blades who are second in the conference, with 29-13-7-0.
Everett Silvertips lead the Western Conference, with a 35-12-1-1 record, and 72 points, seven up on the Vancouver Giants, with 31-12-2-1.