Sunday, 19 May 2019

Manson pumped by Raiders run to WHL championship, Memorial Cup appearance

Dave Manson addresses the Raiders during a timeout last season.
    Dave Manson will always live and breathe being a member of the Prince Albert Raiders, and he is taking special joy in tracking the team’s magical playoff journey from afar.
    The 52-year-old Prince Albert product was a tough as nails defenceman for his hometown WHL team from 1982 to 1986. He played a big part in helping the Raiders win the WHL title and the Memorial Cup in 1985.
    Manson was an assistant coach this season with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, who are a farm team for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
    Before joining the Condors, Manson was an associate coach with the Raiders from 2012 to 2018. He coached a number of players on the current Raiders club.
    The current Raiders won the WHL title for the second time in franchise history and are playing through the Memorial Cup tournament going on now in Halifax, N.S.
Captain Brayden Pachal earned praise as a leader from Dave Manson.
    The Raiders face the QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the second round robin game for both teams on Monday (5 p.m. Saskatchewan time, Sportsnet). Both sides lost their respective opening games at the CHL championship tournament.
    Manson loves seeing how tightly knit the current Raiders have become as a team over the years.
    “They are a team, and the team accomplishes more than individuals,” said Manson. “They have great leaders in (captain) Brayden Pachal and Parker Kelly.
    “They have all the pieces. They’ve done a good job of adding pieces to the puzzle. Every piece has kind of fit this year, so it has been great to see and great to watch when I can.
    “It is a big credit to coach (Marc) Habscheid and to Hunter (Curtis Hunt). Hopefully, they can get her done here now.”
    Manson saw Habscheid join the Raiders part way through the 2014-15 season as head coach and saw Hunt come on board as general manager before the start of the 2015-16 campaign.
    Manson and Hunt were teammates on the Raiders 1985 Memorial Cup winner.
    Habscheid was named the WHL’s coach of the year and Hunt earned honours as the WHL’s executive of the year for their work in helping the Raiders post the circuit’s best regular season record at 54-10-2-2.
Parker Kelly received props for his leadership from Dave Manson.
    The Raiders were also rated second in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
    Manson said the honours for both were well deserved. He said Habscheid did what Raiders legendary head coach and general manager Terry Simpson once did with the team.
    Simpson guided the Raiders to four Centennial Cup championships as junior A national champions and to the Memorial Cup title after the Raiders joined the major junior ranks in 1982.
    “Habby (Habscheid) has done a heck of a job,” said Manson. “In his tenure as head coach, he has slowly improved that team every year, and that is a credit to him.
    “It is the same as what (Terry) Simpson was like back in the day. You got a little better every day, and that is what you want to see. You want to see that improvement.”
    Manson has tracked the Raiders whenever he has had a chance. When the Raiders won Game 7 of the WHL final 3-2 in overtime on May 13 in Prince Albert, Manson was behind the Condors bench as they were eliminated by the host San Diego Gulls 6-2 in Game 6 of a second round AHL playoff series.
    After the May 13 games for both the Condors and the Raiders were finished, Manson was able to watch video of overage centre Dante Hannoun scoring the Game 7 overtime winner for the Raiders.
Dave Manson was happy Raiders fans got to see their team’s run up close.
    Manson said it was great the sellout crowd of 3,289 spectators at the 2,580 Art Hauser Centre could see the Raiders win the WHL title at home and enjoy the moment of the team celebrating with the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
    “I’m very proud,” said Manson. “I’ve always been very proud of the Raider organization.
    “They don’t have to win a championship to make me proud, but the fact that they are having the success that they are having this year just puts a smile on my face. You play a small part in it, but a credit to the coaching staff they have now. They’ve done a great job keeping that group focused.
    “Hopefully now, they can finish this journey that they started.”

Mooseheads improve to 2-0 at Memorial Cup

    The host Halifax Mooseheads know the earliest they will hit the ice for the playoff round at the Memorial Cup will be in the event’s semifinal contest.
    On Sunday before 10,036 spectators at the Scotiabank Centre, the Mooseheads outlasted the OHL champion Guelph Storm 4-2 in a hotly contested round robin game.
    With the win, the Mooseheads, who lost the QMJHL final to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, improved to 2-0 at the Memorial Cup. The Mooseheads have locked up a berth to at least Friday’s semifinal contest of the event’s playoff round.
    The Storm fell to 1-1 at the event with the setback.
    At the 5:10 mark of the first period, Mooseheads captain Antoine Morand knocked home a setup pass from linemate Jocktan Chainey to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
    With 49.8 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Storm defenceman Sean Durzi drove a point shot home to the top right corner of the Halifax goal to even things up at 1-1.
    Halifax went ahead 2-1 at the 6:48 mark of the second on a highlight reel short-handed goal from Raphael Lavoie. Lavoie jetted into the Guelph zone, split two Storm defencemen and roofed home a shot to the top left corner of the Guelph net to give his side the lead.
    The Mooseheads extended their advantage to 3-1 at the 10:34 mark of the second, when left-winger Maxim Trepanier knocked home a loose puck in the crease of the Guelph goal.
    The Storm didn’t go away. Just 67 seconds into the third and working on a power play, Durzi slipped home a point shot through a screen for his second goal of contest to cut the Mooseheads edge to 3-2.
    The Mooseheads rounded out the scoring at the 7:20 mark of the third, when a shot by overage centre Samuel Asselin bounced up and over Storm netminder Anthony Popovich into the Guelph goal.
    Alexis Gravel made 33 saves to pick up the win in net for the Mooseheads. Popovich turned away 38 shots to take the setback in net for the Storm.
    Halifax finished first in the QMJHL’s Eastern Conference in the regular season with a 49-15-2-2 mark and was rated eighth in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
    The Storm finished eighth overall in the OHL’s regular season with a 40-18-6-4 mark.
    The Memorial Cup continues on Monday when the WHL champion Prince Albert Raiders face the QMJHL champion Huskies (5 p.m. Saskatchewan time, Sportsnet).

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