Raiders, Rebels set to clash in first round of 2019 #WHLPlayoffs

Rob Wallator


The Prince Albert Raiders finally have an opponent for opening night of the 2019 WHL Playoffs.

The Raiders secured the top seed in the WHL by claiming the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as WHL Regular Season Champions back on March 5. Since then, they’ve waited patiently to learn who they will host upon first puck drop on March 22.

Following a 5-4 loss by the Brandon Wheat Kings at the hands of the Regina Pats, the Wheat Kings were effectively eliminated from the race for the final wild-card position in the WHL’s Eastern Conference, locking the Rebels into that last slot and setting up what should be a rowdy best-of-seven affair between Prince Albert and Red Deer.

The Raiders own a 3-1-0-0 record in the head-to-head series between the two Clubs, including three consecutive victories after the Rebels opened the season matchup with a 4-3 win on home ice back on October 6, 2018.

Though the Raiders are the runaway WHL Regular Season Champions, having gone 53-10-2-2 (110 points) through 67 games, and the Rebels are the last team to enter the WHL post-season picture in the Eastern Conference with a record of 33-28-4-2 (72 points), don’t for a second underestimate how close this series should be.

All four games between the Raiders and Rebels have been of the one-goal variety, including one contest that required a shootout – a 2-1 win for Prince Albert on March 1.

Breakout forward Brett Leason leads the Raiders in scoring against Red Deer, having collected six points (3G-3A) in four outings. Brandon Hagel – the always-dangerous prospect of the Chicago Blackhawks – leads the Rebels in head-to-head scoring against Prince Albert, having registered three points (2G-1A) in four games.

Ethan Anders was the goaltender of record in the Rebels lone victory of the season series, while Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott manned the blue paint for the Raiders in all four games, going 3-1-0-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

The Raiders will close out the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season when they host the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday, March 16 at 7 p.m. MT. The Rebels meanwhile wrap up their campaign by visiting the Kootenay ICE on Sunday, March 17 at 4 p.m. MT.

Prince Albert’s Art Hauser Centre will play host to Game 1 of the first round series between the Raiders and Rebels on Friday, March 22. The series will shift to Central Alberta when the Rebels welcome the Raiders for Game 3 at the Centrium on Tuesday, March 26.

Game Visitor Home Date Time
1 Red Deer @ Prince Albert Friday, March 22 7:00
2 Red Deer @ Prince Albert Saturday, March 23 7:00
3 Prince Albert @ Red Deer Tuesday, March 26 7:00
4 Prince Albert @ Red Deer Wednesday, March 27 7:00
5 * Red Deer @ Prince Albert Friday, March 29 7:00
6 * Prince Albert @ Red Deer Sunday, March 31 2:00
7 * Red Deer @ Prince Albert Tuesday, April 2 7:00

* = if necessary

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