Balanced Raiders finding ways to win
Lacrosse: Okotoks showcases offensive, defensive stylings
Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 06:00 am
The Okotoks Jr. A Raiders are traversing many routes to the same destination.
Twenty-four hours after flexing their offensive muscles in routing the St. Albert Miners 24-12, the Raiders showcased a defensive acumen in holding off the Sherwood Park Titans 10-8 on Sunday at Pason Centennial Arena to complete back-to-back wins.
“We’re actually a really well-rounded team and the defensive effort was way better than yesterday,” said Raider Ben Fream. “Guys were tenacious, our goaltending was fantastic, (Adam) Virgo played really well and there was lots of hustle on loose balls.”
Squaring off against former Okotoks goalie Mike DeGirolamo, the Raiders didn’t waste anytime getting the ball past the talented shot-stopper. Jordan Getz found a seam on Okotoks’ first possession to put the hosts up 1-0 a mere 15 seconds after ball drop.
The Titans would take a 3-2 lead with a pair of powerplay markers on a five-minute man-advantage before back-to-back tallies from Fream and Travis Getz restored the one-goal lead for Okotoks heading into the intermission.
Okotoks would take control in the middle frame with three goals in a 48-second span. First, Kade McCormick tip-toed around the crease and used his reach to lift the ball over the outstretched goalie. Rookie Brett Craig then contributed his first Jr. A goal on a breakaway followed by a great second effort from sophomore Dylan Kinnear to make it 7-4 Okotoks.
“It was a fast break opportunity and I just threw it on net, got the rebound and the goalie was out of position,” said Kinnear, a commit to THE Ohio State University. “It’s the first time we’ve played them all year so it was kind of getting into the swing of things more than feeling them out.
“In the second period goaltending and transition were big for us and the offence buried their chances.”
Freshmen Eric Dowie and Brett McIntyre and Fream would round out the scoring for Okotoks, who fought off a late 4-1 surge from the visitors to hold on for the 10-8 win.
“Right off the hop when Jordan Getz scored those first two goals, that was huge,” said Fream. “Their goaltender can change games for sure so that was really important.”
Saturday saw the Raiders pour in a season-high 24 goals past the basement dwelling Miners. McIntyre put in three goals and nine points, Gibson added one goal and eight assists, Colton Bymak registered a hat-trick and four assists with Travis Getz posting an eight-point effort and Dowie scoring four times.
The only blemish on the weekend slate was Friday’s 15-10 loss to the undefeated Calgary Mountaineers. It was Calgary’s third win in four meetings with Okotoks and paved the way for a three-win weekend to improve the Mountaineers to a league leading 8-0-1.
“I thought we made a lot of good adjustments on things we needed to work on from (Saturday),” said Raiders head coach Andrew McBride. “And it’s really good to see the kids are responding to what we’re giving them because we are giving them a lot of information.
“All in all it was a really solid week. I thought we played well and we’re continuing to move in the right direction.”
The Raiders (4-3-1) welcome the Mountaineers today, June 11, for round five of the best rivalry in the province. Ball-drop is 8 p.m. at Pason Centennial Arena.
Okotoks then plays a Friday home game at Calgary’s Max Bell Arena versus the Titans to kick-off the front-end of a back-to-back set with Saturday’s contest taking place in Sherwood Park.
For more information on the team go to raiderslacrosse.ca