Raiders in for rugged weekend

Lacrosse: Three games in three nights for Okotoks to climb the standings

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 04, 2014 06:00 am

AJ Kluck of the Okotoks Jr. Raiders battles with a Calgary Mountaineer. The Raiders play the Mountaineers for a fourth time this season on Friday to kick-off three games in three days.
AJ Kluck of the Okotoks Jr. Raiders battles with a Calgary Mountaineer. The Raiders play the Mountaineers for a fourth time this season on Friday to kick-off three games in three days.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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The Okotoks Jr. Raiders find themselves in an unfamiliar setting.

The perennial championship contenders sit in third place in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League standings and can point to one particular foe for their plight.

Make it zero wins in three tries for the Raiders versus the Calgary Mountaineers. Calgary (4-0-1) improved to 2-0-1 versus Okotoks by taking the third meeting 8-7 on May 28 at the Peppardome.

“Five on five we did really well, it was one our best games defensively,” said Raiders veteran Raymond Banister.

“There's been a lot of improvement, definitely an improvement from the week before that.

“It's not that we're getting outworked. We're a really hard-working team, it's just coming down to getting a little more familiar with the systems, executing a bit more and staying out of the penalty box.”

Mounties first-round pick Laszlo Henning continued his assault on the Raiders with a hat-trick to go along with a six-point effort from slick lefty Jordan Prysko.

Kade McCormick paced the Raiders with a two-goal, five-point performance. Rookie Eric Dowie added two goals, Dylan Kinnear popped in a goal and an assist with Ben Fream and Marshall Gibson each chipping in with three-point contests.

McCormick, a Grade 12 student at Holy Trinity Academy, sits third in the province in scoring with 19 points (8 goals, 11 assists) in just four contests.

Okotoks (2-2-1) has a great opportunity to climb the standings this weekend with three games in as many nights.

“It's going to be difficult with three games in a row, you can't completely focus on one team, we're going to have to take care of our bodies because some guys are banged up,” Banister said. “We're going to focus all week on execution and getting into better shape.

“We're always trying to get in better shape and that's going to really pay off on a three-game weekend.”

The Raiders open proceedings on Friday versus the Mounties at Max Bell Arena in Calgary at 7:30 p.m. Beating their bitter rivals is job number one on the weekend.

“It's always important to get a win over them against the Mounties, always a good rivalry,” Banister said. “It's still early in the season, we've got a lot of work to do, but we know we can get it done. We're not too concerned with the way things have been going with the Mounties right now.

“By the end of the season we should be improved a tremendous amount.”

The St. Albert Miners then pay the foothills a visit for Saturday's clash at 3 p.m. at Pason Centennial Arena. Finally, Okotoks squares off with the Sherwood Park Titans for the first time this season on Sunday. Ball-drop is 12:30 p.m. at Pason Centennial Arena.

The Titans feature a well-known commodity in between the pipes in Mike DeGirolamo, who spent the latter half of last season with the Raiders on their run to the Minto Cup, and on the front-gate with second-leading and former Raider Ryan Davidge.

“If that kid (DeGirolamo) is on his game, it's always a really big challenge. Mikey is always the biggest threat with them,” Banister said. “It's going to be important for us to finish the ball and defensively keep them to the perimeter.

“It's going to be interesting to see how they play and what they look like.”

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