Raiders snap Mountaineers’undefeated mark
Lacrosse: Okotoks gets first win in five tries on rival Calgary
Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 06:00 am
The Okotoks Jr. Raiders went the extra mile to do what no one else in the province has done in 2014.
Ben Fream’s hat-trick marker three minutes into overtime lifted the Raiders to an 8-7 win to hand the previously undefeated Calgary Mountaineers their first loss of the season, June 11 at Pason Centennial Arena.
“Two guys set good picks and I was lucky enough to get open,” said Fream from DeWinton. “The last game wasn’t my best game against these guys and wasn’t our best collectively either so we were really eager to make it closer and show we can compete.
“We were more ambitious after having a hard-loss like that. We rallied around that.”
The Raiders’ triumph was their first in five meetings this season with the top-seed Mountaineers, who carried an 8-0-1 record into the contest, and a bounce-back effort from Calgary’s 15-10 win five days prior.
“That’s massive. It’s coming at the right time, we’re peaking going into the midway point of the season,” Fream added. “That’s fantastic, that’s exactly what we want to be doing, we’re only getting better.”
The Mountaineers were poised to continue their early season mastery with a terrific start to the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League tilt. A pair from Derek Lloyd and a single from Ryan Gould had the visitors up 3-0 in the opening frame before the Raiders stormed back with three straight to even the score at the intermission.
Okotoks took a one-goal advantage in the middle frame on a Fream marker, but sometimes the score belies the performance in a stanza featuring uncharacteristically lackadaisical play from the hosts.
“The second period was probably the worst period we’ve played all year,” said Raiders head coach Andrew McBride. “We were getting a little excited on the bench, but we expect these guys to come to the rink and play at a high standard and we’re not going to let them come down and get away with sloppy playmaking mistakes.
“I thought we did a good job of adjusting, our defence is really picking up after having a good practice. And I thought Adam Virgo was outstanding, he made some really big saves for us and kept us in it when we needed him.”
The final frame was not for the faint of heart. Okotoks scored three in succession to take a seemingly commanding 6-3 lead in the defensive stalemate only for the Mounties to climb back with three of their own through sniper Dan Taylor and defensive ace Tony Tremblay to even the score 6-6. After Calgary took a one-goal advantage through the stick of rookie dynamo Laszlo Henning, Okotoks’ impressive rookie Eric Dowie sent the game to overtime with a diving effort past Mounties netminder Tim Houghton.
“You’ve got to keep your head up and that’s something we’ve talked about, when we get scored on, run off the floor, what’s next and we worry about going from there,” McBride said. “A guy like Benny Fream really stepped up, he’s a veteran guy, knows what it takes. He had three goals tonight and that’s what you need against the top teams in the province.
“You need your veteran guys to step up and rise to the occasion.”
After summiting the Mountaineers for the first time and putting an end to their run of perfection, the Raiders coaching staff was preaching process more than result.
“They’re still the best team in the province. That’s the bar that’s going to be set and one game is not going to tell the tale of where we need to be,” McBride said. “We’re giving these guys a lot, we’re putting a lot on their plate and that’s what we expect as a coaching staff, to come out, to work hard and to improve every game.”
The Raiders closed out the weekend with a home-and-home set with the Sherwood Park Titans ruled by the visitors. The Titans edged the Raiders by a 7-6 count on Friday at Max Bell Arena in Calgary.
Dylan Kinnear and Travis Getz led the charges with one goal, three point performances while Marshall Gibson contributed three helpers.
Okotoks returned the favour less than 24 hours later in Sherwood Park, holding off the Titans to win 11-9 and solidify the second seed in the Jr. A Division.
Jordan Getz poured in two goals and three assists while Gibson and Brett McIntyre registered two goal, four-point contests.
Calgary (8-1-1) owns a four-point lead and a game in hand on Okotoks (6-4-1) in the race for first-place. The Titans are one-point back with 12 points (6-6-0) with the St. Albert Miners toiling in last place with a record of 1-10-0.
The Mounties and Raiders renew acquaintances tonight, June 18, at Calgary’s Stu Peppard Arena. The Raiders then travel north for back-to-back road dates with the Titans and Miners on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Okotoks’ next home date is June 28 versus the Titans.
For full schedule information go raiderslacrosse.ca