Raiders face Saskatoon Blades on home ice in Prince Albert
The Prince Albert Raiders are preparing to embark in the second round of the Western Hockey League (WHL) playoffs.
They were the top team in the league right from the start and ranked No. 1 in the country for a good chunk of the season.
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“We really are just a bunch of guys that try to play hard, don’t talk about ourselves too much, and just go about our business. Respect our opposition and try to get better every game,” Raiders Head Coach Marc Habscheid said.
After sweeping the Red Deer Rebels in the first round, Prince Albert now faces the Saskatoon Blades in the second.
In their eight games against each another during the 2018-19 season, the Raiders had a record of 6-2. All four games played in Prince Albert were won by the host team.
The Art Hauser Centre is expected to be humming with electricity this weekend, with every seat and 700-standing room ticket sold.
“In the playoffs, it gets ramped up, that extra level. Home ice should be a bit of an advantage in the series. I know that doesn’t always come into play, but the crowd is going to do their best to help us out,” Raiders forward Noah Gregor said.
With the Raiders and the Blades both having exceptional seasons, it’s unfortunate for junior hockey fans in the area that only one team will advance.
“We’re a small market and we have to try to do what we have to do to keep it sustainable,” Habscheid said.
“In Saskatoon, it’s a big market, it’s a real good city and … that franchise is important to the league and the fact that they’re having some success in getting people back in the building is good for the league as well.”
Game 1 on Friday starts at 7 p.m. and Game 2 is Sunday at 6 p.m., both at Art Hauser Centre.
The best-of-seven series then shifts to SaskTel Centre with games on April 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. CT.
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