Ice freeze up in season opener

Lacrosse: Okotoks Tier II's fall 13-8 to Calgary

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 30, 2014 06:00 am

Okotoks Ice goalie Marshall Hofland covers his angles during Okotoks' season opening 13-8 loss to the Calgary Rockies, Saturday at the Ed Whalen Arena.
Okotoks Ice goalie Marshall Hofland covers his angles during Okotoks' season opening 13-8 loss to the Calgary Rockies, Saturday at the Ed Whalen Arena.
Remy Greer/OWW

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You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take in lacrosse, but there is something to be said for picking your spots on goal.

The Jr. B Tier II Ice couldn’t dig its way out of an early hole, dropping its regular season debut by a 13-8 count to the Calgary Axemen Rockies on a snowy Saturday at the Ed Whalen Arena.

“We started out shaky, the third period was a lot better. It was actually pretty good to watch the third,” said Ice head coach Tyler Smith. “We just had a problem hitting the net.

“We were probably sitting at about 40 to 45 per cent of shots hitting the net in the second and third. It’s hard to win when you can’t make the goalie make a save.”

Hitting the net wasn’t a problem for one Ice player.

Okotoks enjoyed a promising opening spell in the first period as lefty sniper Nash Hartford registered a hat-trick to even the score at 3-3. The Ice would take a one-goal lead when Keiffer Hollister went in alone on a shorthanded break and found the back of the net.

Momentum swung the way of the hosts behind physical play as Calgary closed the period on a 3-0 run in the final three minutes to escape the opening frame with a 6-4 advantage.

The Rockies slid into the driver’s seat with a dominant middle stanza. After Calgary built an 8-4 advantage, Hartford extended his offensive assault as he picked up a loose ball off a faceoff, sprinted down the floor and stuck it far side.

Calgary bounced back with a 3-0 run in a penalty filled second period dogged by delays. Okotoks’ Manuel McAlister added a late marker to stop the bleeding and cut the deficit to 11-6 after 40 minutes.

“That was it right there, that killed us,” said Smith of the second period lull. “I tried to tell them in the second period to break it into three 10-minute segments.

“We won the first segment 2-1, tied the second one 1-1 and just at the end tied the third one at 2-2.”

The teams exchanged a pair of markers each in the third period as Okotoks earned goals from Shawn Phan-Nguyen and a highlight reel tally from Hollister off a brilliant cross-floor feed from teammate Alex MacPherson to produce the 13-8 finish.

Following the contest, the head coach’s message to his team was simple. Practice makes perfect.

“It’s quite evident with the dropped passes, missing shots, the stuff in practice that we work on,” Smith said. “University just finished and we’re starting to get more guys back, that should help out a lot.”

Those new faces in the line-up won’t have to wait long to make an impact.

It’s on the road again for the Ice this weekend as the team travels north to clash with the Lacoka Locos in Ponoka on May 3. The Ice then host their home opener on May 11 versus the Red Deer Renegades. Start time is 3 p.m. at Pason Centennial Arena.

For the full list of results and schedules for the Okotoks Ice go to rockymountainlax.com and find the Jr. B Tier II South Division tab.


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