Penalties were the difference maker in Saturday night's 2-1 Prince Albert Raider victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings.
The Raiders scored twice on six opportunities on route to their 32nd win of the season, adding some breathing room ahead of Winnipeg atop the East Division standings.
"Our discipline cost us," said Head Coach Dave Lowry. "We took needless penalties tonight. We've been playing with emotion lately but it's been controlled emotion. You can't take penalties 200 feet from your own net. We had to work hard on the kill and it took a lot out of us tonight."
After a scoreless first period, the Raiders opened the scoring on a two-man advantage. Ilya Usau poked home his 21st of the season, moving him into a tie for 3rd place on the WHL Rookie scoring list.
Ten minutes later, Ozzy Wiesblatt added another powerplay marker to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead after forty minutes.
The Wheat Kings bounced back with a solid effort in the third period, outshooting Prince Albert 9-8 and pushing hard for the late game equalizer after Braden Schneider got his team within one.
"I saw a team that didn't quit tonight, It was a hard-fought game," added Lowry. "We didn't get the start we wanted. We were a little tired from last night, but we all know you have to be ready to play back-to-back nights. The Raiders were rested and they jumped on us early."
Max Paddock made 19 saves in his hometown barn, earning his 20th win of the season and 10th since joining the Raiders. The former AAA Wheat King wasn't tested too often on Saturday night, only facing four shots in the second period, and eleven through two periods.
"We spent too much time in our own zone tonight and you can't score goals from there," said forward Ridly Greig. "We needed to be harder on their defense. We didn't get pucks deep and we didn't give ourselves a chance to play in the offensive zone tonight."
The Wheat Kings busy weekend will continue on Sunday as they turn their attention to a matinee affair vs the Regina Pats, the second this week. Game time from the Brandt Centre is 4:00 (3:30 pre-game show on QCountry Radio).
Shots: 9-7 Prince Albert
P.A - Ilya Usau (21) (Wiesblatt, Protas) 1:58 5on3
P.A - Ozzy Wiesblatt (22) (Protas, Watts) 12:13 PPG
Shots: 13-4 Prince Albert
BWK - Braden Schneider (7) (Greig, Pierce) 4:18
Final Shots: 30-20 Prince Albert