Junior rivalry too close to call

Lacrosse: Late Calgary surge leads to 9-9 tie with Okotoks

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 06:00 am

Okotoks Jr. Raider Raymond Banister gets past Calgary Mountaineer Jordan Felker during the 9-9 draw on May 14 at Calgary’s Stu Peppard Arena.
Okotoks Jr. Raider Raymond Banister gets past Calgary Mountaineer Jordan Felker during the 9-9 draw on May 14 at Calgary’s Stu Peppard Arena.
Remy Greer/OWW

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Once again there is little to choose between Alberta’s top two Junior lacrosse outfits.

The Calgary Mountaineers erased a two-goal deficit with 138 seconds on the clock to force a 9-9 draw with the Okotoks Jr. A Raiders, May 14 in Calgary, in the first meeting of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League heavyweights since last year’s final.

“I think you can chalk a little bit of it up to conditioning,” said Raiders veteran Marshall Gibson. “Maybe we haven’t been running enough, but that will 100 per cent change before the end of the year. We’ll be one of the fittest teams in Canada, for sure.

“It’s a great learning experience for those young guys, getting that first OT game under their belt right away against our rivals.”

Down by two inside three minutes left in a tight-checking contest, Mountaineers’ first-round pick Laszlo Henning scored a pair of tallies including the tying marker with 41 seconds on the clock to send the game to overtime. The five-minute extra session settled nothing.

Reflecting on his first game behind the bench as Raiders head coach, Andrew McBride said there were a myriad of factors leading to Calgary completing the comeback.

“We took a bad penalty that made it five-on-five, we took a shot in the last minute in a half from a D guy that we probably shouldn’t have and one of our big studs Carson McCormick had a pass deflected,” McBride said. “I could have probably used a timeout from a coaching aspect.

“Those are things we’re going to address. We’re going to watch film. We need to be good on those things at the end of the year.”

The Raiders were on track in the opening frame and rolled to an early 2-0 lead on a powerful shot from Kade McCormick and a transition tally from Gibson. Momentum swung the way of the hosts as Calgary would score the next five to build a three-goal lead.

After Travis Getz cut the lead with a goal on the man-advantage and another on a seeing-eye bouncing point shot, older brother Jordan Getz restored the Okotoks advantage with back-to-back powerplay tallies. Mounties dynamic captain Dan Taylor would then even the game at 6-6 to make it a pick-em contest heading into the second intermission.

The visitors took what appeared to be a comfortable three-goal lead into the final 10 minutes on a pair of Jordan Getz tallies and a single from Gibson before the Mounties surged back with three unanswered.

It was Getz’ second straight four-goal game as the slick lefty leads the province in scoring with eight goals in the early stages of the season.

Okotoks was particularly strong at the other end of the floor in keeping the veteran Mounties, who poured in a league high 188 goals in 2013, to single digits.

Raiders netminder Adam Virgo, who played last season with the Jr. B Mountaineers, was dynamic in his return to the Raiders line-up en route to defensive player of the game honours for Okotoks.

“Adam Virgo had a great game and made some big stops when we needed him, he covered his angles well and did a really good job on their good shooters,” McBride said. “It was a great, competitive game.

“There was definitely a couple areas to clean up on our end in the transition game and loose balls, that’s something we need to address.”

The southern foes won’t have to wait long to get another shot at one another. The rivalry continues tonight, May 21, when the Mounties make the short trek south to Okotoks’ Pason Centennial Arena. Opening face-off is 8 p.m.

“These guys are our biggest rival, we’ve gone back and forth the last number of years to go out to a Minto,” McBride said. “I really felt the skill level out there was better than a second game of the year, a good sign for the league and a good sign for lacrosse fans.”

For more information go to raiderslacrosse.ca


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