Raiders locked in battle for second
Lacrosse: Okotoks and Sherwood Park fighting it out for home floor advantage
Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 02:43 pm
Outside of the one-on-one battles that together decide wins and losses, there is a bigger battle brewing in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League.
The one for second-place and home-floor advantage with only two combatants in the ring, the defending champion Okotoks Jr. Raiders and upstart Sherwood Park Titans.
“It’s extremely important not just for the fact of home-floor advantage,” said Raiders sniper Jordan Getz. “For our mental state going forward if we beat the Titans and play the Mounties we would be a tougher team coming out of that series, playing a five-gamer against a team like the Titans.
“We’ve got to dictate the pace of the game and beat Mikey (DeGirolamo) and find ways to penetrate their tough defence.”
The change in playoff format means the Titans and Raiders are guaranteed a meeting in the league semifinal with the Calgary Mountaineers already cinched up first-place and a bye straight through to the league championship series. At the other end of the standings, the one-win St. Albert Miners are well outside of the playoff picture.
Okotoks (7-6-1) holds a one-point lead on Sherwood Park in the race for second place and home floor-advantage after splitting a northern road swing.
“Having home floor advantage is a very positive thing to have,” said Raiders rookie Colton Bymak. “Playing in Okotoks I enjoy a lot more than having to go up there and their fans get into it quite a bit, too. Having that eliminated from the game is good.”
The Titans edged the Raiders 5-4 on Brendan Kelly’s overtime winner on Saturday. Jordan Getz paced the Raiders with a three-point effort in a losing cause. Okotoks bounced back in pasting the Miners by a 14-6 count with Raiders netminder Dylan Bachmeier putting an exclamation mark on the rout by scoring into an empty-net.
The Raiders swept Sherwood Park in last year’s postseason en route to their championship series triumph over Calgary.
The Titans looked to have narrowed the gap considerably over the past calendar year.
Okotoks closes out its season with four contests versus exclusively northern opposition. The Raiders host the Titans on June 28 (3 p.m. Pason Centennial Arena) and Miners on June 29 (1:30 p.m., Pason). The Raiders then wrap their season on the road with back-to-back dates in Sherwood Park and St. Albert on July 4 and 5, respectively.
“We cant let them get off to a good start, they’re a really physical team,” said Bymak. “We need to get a lot of shots because Mikey (DeGirolamo) really carries the defence.
“We have two more games to make sure we come in strong and not let (the Titans) toss us around and set the tone so that coming into the playoffs we’ve got the momentum.”
For more information go to raiderslacrosse.ca