|Raiders netminder Ian Scott focuses on the play down ice.|
When the Prince Albert Raiders hit the ice tonight at 6 p.m. local time against the Vancouver Giants in Game 6 of the WHL Championship series, the Raiders will be looking to post their biggest home since 1982. If they down the Giants in front of a sellout crowd of 3,289 spectators at the 2,580 Art Hauser Centre, the Raiders will win the Ed Chynoweth Cup as champions of the WHL.
If the Giants prevail on Sunday, the Raiders will have a second opportunity to win the best-of-seven series at home in Game 7 on Monday. Prince Albert leads the WHL final 3-2.
Believe it or not, the opportunities for hockey teams to win major championships on home ice are a rare thing.
The last time the Raiders posted a victory in “Hockey Town North” which is as significant as what they will be trying to do in the WHL final came 37 years ago.
|Bowen Byram leads the Giants in post-season scoring with 25 points.|
The Raiders proceeded to move up to the major junior ranks joining the WHL for the 1982-83 campaign.
When the Raiders won the WHL title in 1985, they swept the best-of-seven league final 4-0 with the series clinching victory occurring in Kamloops against the Blazers.
On May 18, 1985 in Drummondville, Que., the Raiders downed the Shawinigan Cataractes 6-1 in the championship game of the Memorial Cup tournament. The Cataractes were the host team of the event.
The Raiders two most significant victories at the major junior level happened on the road.
Actually, the last time the Raiders clinched a playoff series on home ice came back in 2005, when they blanked the Medicine Hat Tigers 3-0 in Game 6 of a second round series.
Following that series win against the Tigers, the Raiders advanced to the WHL Eastern Conference Championship series falling to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the maximum of seven games.
|Brett Leason leads the Raiders in post-season scoring with 25 points.|
Each of those series was clinched on the road.
The Raiders faithful hasn’t had the chance to see their team win a series on home ice since 2005.
Of course, the Giants aren’t planning to make things easy. They are trying to force a series deciding Game 7.
On top of that, Vancouver is attempting to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit to win the WHL final since the Victoria Cougars pulled the trick in 1981 against the Calgary Wranglers.
During the WHL regular season, the Raiders and Giants were the circuit’s top two teams.
The Raiders topped the WHL regular season standings with a 54-10-2-2 record and were rated second in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
Vancouver finished second overall in the WHL with a 48-15-3-2 mark and was rated sixth in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
The winner of the WHL final will earn a berth to the Memorial Cup, and this year’s CHL championship tournament is being held May 17 to 26 in Halifax, N.S.
Raiders star right-winger Brett Leason tops the Raiders in post-season scoring with 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points. Standout overage centre Dante Hannoun is second in Raiders post-season scoring with 13 goals and 10 assists for 23 points.
|David Tendeck will aim to hold the fort in goal for the Giants.|
Star offensive defenceman Bowen Byram leads the Giants in post-season scoring with eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points. Overage centre Davis Koch is second in Giants playoff scoring with three goals and 16 assists for 19 points.
David Tendeck has emerged as the Giants post-season starter in goal. Appearing in 15 of the Giants 20 playoff games, Tendeck has posted a 10-4 record, a 2.41 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.
The Raiders want to get the rare championship victory party started in P.A.
Can the Giants still spoil the proceedings?
We’ll find out at game time.
Huskies win second QMJHL title in last four years
On Saturday, the visiting Huskies blanked the Mooseheads in Halifax, N.S., 4-0 before 9,602 spectators at the Scotiabank Centre in Game 6 of the QMJHL Championship series. With the win, the Huskies took the best-of-seven series 4-2 and captured their second league crown in four years.
The Huskies last won the QMJHL championship in 2016 and advanced to the championship game of the Memorial Cup tournament held that year in Red Deer, Alta. Rouyn-Noranda dropped a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker in the title game to the London Knights.
Against the Mooseheads in Saturday’s QMJHL title clinching game, the Huskies led 1-0 after the first period, 2-0 after the second frame before rounding out the 4-0 final with a pair of goals in the third.
Rafael Harvey-Pinard had a pair of goals for the Huskies including an empty-net tally, while Tyler Hinam and Alex Beaucage had singles.
Samuel Harvey made 28 saves to pick up the shutout win in goal for the Huskies. Alexis Gravel turned away 31-of-34 shots to take the setback in goal for the Mooseheads.
Huskies defenceman Noah Dobson was named the MVP of the QMJHL playoffs posting eight goals and 21 assists in 20 games.
The Huskies topped the QMJHL regular season standings with a 59-8-0-1 record and were rated first in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
The Mooseheads finished first in the QMJHL’s Eastern Conference in the regular season with a 49-15-2-2 mark and were rated eighth in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
As Halifax is playing host to the Memorial Cup from May 17 to 26, both clubs already have berths locked up in the CHL championship tournament.
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