Raiders go winless at Minto
Lacrosse: Okotoks goes 0-3 at national Jr. A championship
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 06:00 am
Between the ears was where the battle was lost at the Minto Cup.
The Okotoks Jr. Raiders lamented mental mistakes in going winless at the Minto Cup and failing to advance to the playoff round at the national Junior A championship, Aug. 17-19 in New Westminster, B.C.
“We fought hard and had a couple mental lapses and at this level that can’t happen,” offered Raiders captain Brett Baron. “When that happens the ball gets put in your net.
“But I’m proud of all the players, proud of all the coaches, and how we composed ourselves after getting down in a few games. We didn’t just collapse, we bounced back.”
After dropping their its two contests, Okotoks had an opportunity to sneak out of the group stages in its round-robin finale Monday night against the host New Westminster Salmonbellies.
Needing to defeat the Salmonbellies by a considerable margin to have a chance of earning one of three berths into the playoff round of the Minto, Okotoks held its own through two even periods. Goals from Dustin Reykdal, Ben Fream, Matt Kristiansen, Cole Sheen, Cam Copland, Kevin Pym and Holden Cattoni put the Raiders down jut 9-7 after 40 minutes.
New Westminster put its foot on the gas in the final frame, outscoring the Raiders 7-2 in the third period to turn a deadlock into a 16-9 victory.
“They’ve got good ball players, give them credit where credits due,” Baron said of the Salmonbellies. “They capitalized. Every opportunity they got, they made the most of it.”
The Raiders opened tournament play on Saturday in a 9-5 loss to the B.C. champion Coquitlam Adanacs.
Copland, Kristiansen, Aaron Tackaberry, Jordan Getz and Pym bulged the twine in a losing cause. Mike DeGirolamo allowed nine goals on 48 shots and was chosen as Raiders’ player of the game from the Minto committee.
“We were definitely in there with both (B.C.) teams and showed we can beat them,” Tackaberry said. “Next year it is going to a five or seven game series against them, I feel like we’re going to bring them to five, bring them to seven.”
The Whitby Warriors then made quick work of the Raiders on Sunday evening, posting a dominant 18-4 win over the Alberta titleholders.
Kanathonson Horn-David and Dylan Bachmeier shared duties in the crease for the overmatched Raiders who were outshot 66-30 by the Ontario champions. Whitby’s Dan Lintner continued his assault on the opposition with five goals in the contest. Ryan Keenan and Michael MacDonald each added hat-tricks.
Whitby jumped out to a 9-0 lead into the second period before Baron finally got Okotoks on the board with a diving marker. Baron would add a second on a shot from behind the net with tallies from Copland and Cam Gardner, on loan from the Calgary Mountaineers, rounding out the scoring for the Raiders.
“Every loss is disheartening, but that was a tough one. I’ve never lost like that in my career,” Baron said. “But the players all bounced back after it.”
The Raiders’ fourth trip to the national tournament still sees them in search of the elusive victory over B.C. and Ontario teams, but Tackaberry insists Alberta has inched closer at each Minto Cup.
“Every year we’ve gone we’ve proven, even though the scores might not have been that close, we’ve proved that we deserve to be here,” said Tackaberry, a veteran of three nationals. “Every year we’ve gotten better. It’s great to see the way Alberta lacrosse has developed over the past five years.”
Raiders president David Fehr echoed the sentiment, adding the other provinces are finally respecting what the wildrose province can bring to the floor.
“They don’t look past us anymore like they have,” Fehr said. “Even in our one-goal games in the past against Burnaby or with Whitby in Okotoks they held back a player or two.
“Right up until the last minute of the game (Whitby) had Lintner and (Curtis) Knight running the offence and that’s never happened before.”
The Minto Cup marked the end of the Junior careers for five-year Raiders Baron, Tackaberry and Copland as well as 1993-born players Kyle Burrell, Pym, Reykdal, Kristiansen and Ethan Trotter.
“We’ve dedicated five years of our lives to try and make this team better, trying to make Alberta lacrosse better so it’s tough that it’s over,” Tackaberry said. “It’s been a fantastic five years. I wouldn’t trade the times with these boys for nothing.”