Tonight is the big swing game in the series.
Either the Blades will head into the 4th game with a 3-0 series lead, or the Raiders will be right back in it at 2-1. One thing is for sure heading into the game, the Raiders will have a loud crowd supporting them tonight.
And if the first two games showed anything, it's that they will need that crowd.
Prince Albert has had strong stretches in the first two games, including a very solid opening 20 minutes in game 2 in Saskatoon. But, they couldn't find the back of the net during that stretch. The Blades did, and never looked back.
The opening 10 minutes of tonight's game will be the most important of the season so far for both teams.
Here are my keys to tonight's game:
For Prince Albert
- Use their speed on the forecheck. It’s a smaller rink and that’s a good fit for the Raiders speedy forwards. Force the Blades into quick decisions defensively.
- Capitalize with the man advantage. They’ve outchanced the Blades with the man advantage opportunities, now it’s time to make some of those chances count.
- And they need to score first. They have had two strong starts to games in the series, but it means little if you give up that big first goal.
- Trade punches in those first few minutes. You know the Raiders will come out hard, and if they score first, a quick bounce back will be huge.
- Continue to block shots. They are making it pretty easy for Stanford so far by blocking shots and are being led by their captain in this area of the game.
- And be fast in after dump ins. We saw *Eric Williams turn the puck over a few times last game when handling it. Mistakes like that in a smaller rink can hurt you big time.
(*assuming Eric Williams is starting, which I would have to imagine he is)
Puck drop goes at 7:00 from the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. We will be on the air with the pre-game show starting at 6:00 on 92.9 The Bull.