|North Bay Battalion|
|Owen Sound Attack|
|Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds|
|Brandon Wheat Kings|
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|Moose Jaw Warriors|
|Prince Albert Raiders|
|Red Deer Rebels|
|Swift Current Broncos|
|Prince George Cougars|
By Aaron Bell
It seems like the Prince Albert Raiders are determined not to have a repeat performance from last year.
After missing the playoffs and finishing with the WHL's worst record a year ago, the Raiders have jumped out of the gate this season and are the top team in the loop with a 7-0-0-1 record through their first eight games.
They dropped a shootout loss to the Saskatoon Blades in their season opener on Sept. 21 but have won all seven of their games since then, including a clean sweep of their four-game road trip last week.
"It’s been very good," Raiders' coach Steve Young told the Prince Albert Daily Herald. "At the beginning of the year we structured everything day-to-day and pushed everybody to work hard."
Raiders' captain Mark McNeill has recorded at least one point in every game this season and is one of the team's scoring leaders with four goals and seven points in eight games.
He said that the team was anxious to shake off the disappointment from last season as soon as they got together for training camp this fall.
"We've had a good start as a team," McNeill told the Edmonton Sun. "But we've only got six games behind us, so there’s still a lot to prove. It all started in camp. We all came in with a positive vibe.
"The guys worked really hard over the summer."
Last year, they allowed 312 goals against - the second highest total in the league - and came into this year knowing that cutting that number would be a key to their success this season.
They brought in veteran netminder Luke Siemens from the Moose Jaw Warriors in the off-season and he has been a workhorse to start the season. He has started seven of their eight games this season and has won his past six straight starts.
The Raiders have enjoyed most of their success so far this season on the road and are looking forward to a seven game home stand that starts later this month.
"We went on the road with the mentality that we have to be disciplined and maintain our structure," Young said. "It’s not important how much you win.”
McNeill was one of the Raiders' top scorers last season with 31 goals and 71 points and the first round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks has been a leader on and off the ice again this season.
"I think there was a lot of pressure on him last year after the draft," Young said. "This summer, he prepared a little different. He was more relaxed, and I think that's helped him.
"He's been a good leader, and he’s come to play every night."
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