The Prince Albert Raiders are a much different team than the one Carson Perreaux broke into the Western Hockey League with two seasons ago.
As a raw 17-year-old in 2011-12, the Brandonite broke in with a Prince Albert team that went on to finish dead last in the WHL.
The Raiders took a major step forward last season, jumping to fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 37-28-3-4 record, although their success was tempered by a disappointing second half and a first-round playoff sweep at the hands of the Red Deer Rebels.
Perreaux believes this year’s Raiders are the best team in his three years there, and he hopes the team will enjoy the strong finish this season that was hinted at by their hot start last fall.
“Everyone is just so alive and there’s nothing bad in the room,” said Perreaux, who visited his hometown on Saturday night, helping the Raiders beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 5-4 in overtime. “Everybody’s getting along, that’s the 20-year-olds, the
16-year-olds, everybody’s just one, and we work together.”
The Raiders are third in the Eastern Conference at 17-9-2-0 this season, only one point out of first place and with three games in hand on the Swift Current Broncos, who lead the East Division.
Perreaux said it’s up to him and the other veterans to make sure the team pushes all the way through to the end of the season.
“Especially the older guys are going to have to help out the young guys and let them know that it doesn’t just stop at a certain time,” said Perreaux, who will turn 19 later this month. “It has to be the whole year, especially after Christmas, That’s when it gets really hard.”
While the team has changed greatly over the years, Perreaux said his role as a two-way forward is much the same as it was in the past, although he’s getting a little more ice time now. He jumped from five points as a rookie to 24 last season. While he’s slowed down from a quick start, which included a hat trick against the Wheat Kings in September, his eight goals and 14 points in 28 games still have him on a pace to set new career highs.
Perreaux said he’s still working on his game, while trying to use his experience to help the younger players in the dressing room.
“The older guys always say it goes by fast, and I was kind of hesitant on that, but I'm telling the young guys the exact same thing,” Perreaux said. “Just enjoy it and play to your potential. That’s the best thing to do in this league.”
<B>AROUND THE WHL:
D <B>Joel Topping is the latest defection from Lethbridge, with the 18-year-old former second-round bantam draft pick leaving the Hurricanes to attend Red Deer College … Everett LW <B>Josh Winquist was named the WHL player of the month for November after posting 12 goals and 16 assists in 14 games … The WHL goalie of the month was<B> Tristan Jarry of Edmonton, who went 7-1 with a 1.25 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage … Prince Albert C<B> Leon Draisaitl added the CHL player of the week nod to his WHL award, after picking up four goals and three assists in two games, including a two-goal, two-assist effort in Saturday’s victory over Brandon … Spokane C <B>Liam Stewart will play for Great Britain in the Division 1 Group B world junior championship this month in Scotland. Stewart, the son of singer <B>Rod Stewart and model <B>Rachel Hunter, was born in London..
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 4, 2013