Sluggish start buries Raiders
Lacrosse: Okotoks Jr. A's fall 12-4 to Calgary Mountaineers
Wednesday, May 28, 2014 06:00 am
Momentum can in fact carry over week-to-week.
The Calgary Mountaineers built off a comeback draw with the Okotoks Raiders one week prior and pasted their opposition 12-4 to draw first-blood in the combative season series, May 21 at Pason Centennial Arena.
“We carried a lot of momentum from that and kept that same energy going,” said Mountaineers transition ace Jordan Felker. “Coming out of last game we wanted to come out and prove a point and show how good of a team we are this year and not going to rest for the tie.
“It’s huge (winning first). You get that first upper hand and it all starts that rivalry up again and leads towards the next game.”
Okotoks was probably looking forward to its next game after a nightmare first-period. The Mountaineers found themselves up 6-0 through the first seven minutes, chasing Raiders goalie Dylan Bachmeier.
Already missing several veterans from the lineup, Okotoks then lost key transition man Dylan Kinnear after a short donnybrook with Calgary’s Brandon Luitweiler. Calgary closed the period with a commanding 7-0 lead.
“It’s tough, but it’s lacrosse. A goal can happen every shift,” said Raider defender AJ Kluck. “We weren’t really worried, clawed back every shift. Went goal-by-goal and worked from there.”
The hosts finally had cause for celebration after the intermission. Rookie Jesse Chong potted his first Junior goal, on the penalty-kill no less, on a brilliant individual effort.
“I saw their defender was overplaying and I just tried to run past him and get through and get a shot on net,” said Chong, from Cochrane. “It’s good to get that first one.”
Goals from fellow-rookie Eric Dowie and sophomore Travis Getz cut the lead to 9-3 after 40 minutes. Mounties Felker, Laszlo Henning and Pat Henry and Raiders freshman Brett McIntyre rounded out the scoring for the eight-goal result. Despite the sluggish start, Okotoks held the Mountaineers to just six goals through the final 52 minutes.
“Our defence is all about hard work,” Kluck said. “We’re all committed to it. We’re all going to be working hard every time we’re out there.”
Averaging 13 goals-per-game entering play in the infancy of the season, the Raiders’ offence struggled in getting to the hole and creating golden scoring opportunities.
“We had good on-ball pressure,” said Felker, a former Okotoks Jr. B Bison. “One of our goals this year is to hold teams to under six goals a game.
“Keeping our team honest to that throughout the whole game is huge for us. Especially in the first-period, holding them to zero goals.”
A few noticeable scratches from the Raiders line-up likely played a part, too.
Okotoks was missing a number of players to illness, including then league leading scorer Jordan Getz, versatile brothers Carson and Kade McCormick, and the invaluable Marshall Gibson.
Their absence didn’t make life easy on the players out of the front-gate, combating a physical and veteran-laden Mountaineers defence.
Not that Raider nation is hitting the panic button.
“We’ve got a really good group of core guys and a lot of young guys so that means we’re going to develop over the year,” Kluck said. “We’re going to peak in July, that’s when we need to.
“The first-half of the season is just development. Getting guys ready for Junior A and getting into the swing of things.”
The Raiders capped off the week with a comfortable 11-7 triumph on the road over the St. Albert Miners. Jordan Getz paced the club with a three goal, four-point effort while Kade McCormick chipped in with two goals and an assist.
Okotoks now gets its third crack at eclipsing the Mountaineers.
The Mounties and Raiders continue their weekly Wednesday date tonight, May 28, at Calgary’s Stu Peppard Arena.
For more information go to raiderslacrosse.ca