Bantam Raiders chasing perfection
Hockey: Rocky Mountain AAA team off to 15-0 start
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Dec 26, 2012 06:00 am
Don’t ask the Rocky Mountain Bantam AAA Raiders what it feels like to lose a game because they will not have an answer.
Not that the Okotoks Oilers Athletic Association team is bashful, it’s more to do with the small fact the team has not lost in the Alberta Female Bantam Hockey League (AMBFHL) this season. The team, based in Cochrane, has a perfect 15-0 record.
“I’ve never been on a winning team,” said Okotoks blueliner Janae Ramsay. “There’s a lot of pressure for you to win. You don’t want to give the other team the satisfaction because every team is gunning for you. It’s pretty stressful sometimes.”
Rocky Mountain has run roughshod over the elite Bantam girls league in the province with an AMBFHL best 69 goals for and 26 against.
The overwhelming success in Cochrane has a distinct Okotoks flavour to it.
“The majority of our players this year now come from Okotoks,” said Raiders co-coach Jason Seper. “We have a lot of first-year Okotoks players and they’ve jumped in and been excellent for our team.”
Forwards Halle Bodnarchuk, Kennedy Brown along with sisters Cassidy and Breanne Trotter and Ramsay are all first-year Raiders from Okotoks.
The Raiders coach said the number of Peewee graduates from the Okotoks area who earned a spot on his team is a true testament to the coaching and development in Okotoks minor hockey.
“The coaching in Okotoks gave them all a base to play AAA hockey this year,” Seper said. “Each and every one of them has been a valuable contributor this year.”
The Raiders entered the season with a tough act to follow having won the AMBFHL championship last season during an undefeated run in the playoffs.
This year’s roster features just five returning players, including team captain and Okotoks resident Amanda McLeod.
“I think it helps that the veterans know how to win and they instilled that with the players that came in,” Seper said. “Amanda is our captain this year and she’s been awesome. She’s quiet and works hard in practice.”
McLeod, Rocky Mountain’s top sniper with 11 goals on the campaign, said the youth movement on the Raiders has been a smooth adjustment.
“The rookies are adapting to the league really well,” McLeod said. “And we still have the exact same work ethic as last year.”
Brown, who has registered five goals and 13 points as a freshman Raider, said an aggressive puck pursuit philosophy is behind Rocky Mountain’s undefeated run.
“We just put a lot of pressure on the other team,” said Brown, a Grade 7 student at John Paul II Collegiate. “We break them down, they can’t really stand it and then they just give up goals.”
Ramsay, a first-year defenceman who affiliated with the Raiders last season, said it’s also the team’s relentless work ethic that’s been imperative to team success.
“We don’t give up. We go the whole three periods,” said Ramsay, a Grade 8 student at Okotoks Junior High. “The defence, we don’t really get a lot of pressure put on us as much.”
Although the Raiders are undefeated at the midway point of the season the team’s captain is not preoccupied with thoughts of a perfect season.
“What happens in the regular season I think is important, but in the playoffs is when you want to win,” McLeod said. “You don’t want to be so good in the regular season and not do well in the playoffs.”
For full schedules and results for the Rocky Mountain Raiders go to the AMBFHL website at www.ambfhl.com.