Ice continue road trip into Saskatchewan

Sam Reinhart and Tanner Faith make NHL's Central Scouting Rankings.

Two days after suffering a 3-0 loss to the Swift Current Broncos due to a lacklustre performance, the Kootenay Ice are taking on the Raiders in Prince Albert tonight.

It is one of three Kootenay road games that will be broadcast on ShawTV this year.

The Raiders are coached by former Ice bench boss Cory Clouston, who has led Prince Albert to a 12-8-2-0 start this year, good for third place in the Eastern Conference.

Kootenay, on the other hand, at 11-9-2-0, is tied in seventh at 24 points with Regina and Calgary. However, the Ice sit at the bottom of the logjam due to the lowest goals-for count.

Kootenay and Prince Albert already clashed once this year, as the Ice pulled out a 2-0 win in Cranbrook in mid-October.

The Raiders won their last contest after a three-game losing skid. The roster features 1st rounder Josh Morrissey, who got picked up by Winnipeg in the 2013 NHL Draft. Prince Albert gets a ton of scoring from Leon Draisaitl, who leads the team in scoring and will likely be a high draft pick in the 2014 class.

On the topic of the NHL draft, two Kootenay Ice players made the NHL Central Scouting’s ‘Players to Watch’ list, which was released on Thursday.

Unsurprisingly, Sam Reinhart made it into the ‘A’ category (indicating likely 1st-round selection) along with names such as Draisaitl, Jake Virtanen (Calgary), Brycen Martin (Swift Current) and Chase De Leo (Portland).

Tanner Faith, despite his upper-body injury that has kept him out of the last 15 games, also made it onto the list under the Limited Viewing category. Faith also made the initial ‘Futures’ list back in July.

Reid Gardener, a forward with the Raiders, was also ranked in the ‘C’ category (indicating 4th/5th/6th round selection).

After the Raiders contest, Kootenay rolls into Saskatoon to face the Blades, which also had players make it onto the scouting list. Nikita Scherbak, who came in via the CHL import draft, is currently the leading WHL rookie point scorer and made it into the ‘A’ category. Scherbak was also named to the Russian junior squad that will participate in the Subway Super Series against teams from the QMJHL, OHL and WHL.

Blades forward Nelson Nogier made it into the ‘B’ category, while goaltender Alex Moodie showed up in the ‘C’ category.

The Ice have already faced the Blades once this year on home soil at Western Financial Place, losing 4-2.

WHL Notes: WHL prospect Tyler Benson will make his much-hyped debut with the Vancouver Giants this weekend against the Tri-City Americans. Benson was the first overall selection by Vancouver in the WHL Bantam Draft in May after setting scoring records in the Alberta bantam league. He is currently playing with the Pursuit of Excellence program out of Kelowna. Hockey Canada unveiled the Team Pacific roster for the World U-17 Hockey Challenge, which does not feature an Kootenay Ice players, but D Troy Murray will be a strong candidate to make the Team West roster.