Senior clubs have opposite fate
Lacrosse: Raiders miss out on playoffs, while Erratic lock up top-seed
Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 06:00 am
The Okotoks Senior C Erratic is proving last year’s playoff run was no fluke.
Okotoks’ first-seed in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League’s South Division is certainly proving otherwise as the Senior C outfit wrapped up its regular season on Sunday.
“The guys last year came in second and it’s had a lot to do with guys coming back,” said Raiders goalie Graeme Copland. “The guys that came back were a lot of, if you want to call it, seniors that knew what was going on so that helped a lot.”
The Erratic turned heads in the 2013 postseason.
With a record hovering near the .500 mark Okotoks earned a first-round upset of the Calgary Irish before falling to the heavily favored Blackfalds Silverbacks in the championship series.
Fast forward one year and the carryover effect from the dash to the title is immediately evident with the Erratic comfortably finishing first in the South with a 10-3 mark, six points clear of the second-place Irish.
“We were shooting for (first). We didn’t know how it was going to be with the first couple games we were not knowing what to expect,” Copland said. “As the season went on we started to get to know each other a bit.”
Okotoks is entering the postseason in fine form with a five-game winning streak, highlighted by a 16-0 shutout of the Lethbridge Pioneers and 18-7 rout over Edmonton’s Tomahawks, to close the campaign.
“The key for us during the last series was coaching helped keep us in line,” Copland said. “Everybody played as a team, everybody got the chemistry together and that’s helped quite a bit.
“The confidence is up there. Depending on who we have to play we know what we have to do so we’re going to have to come in and not take anything for granted.”
The playoff schedule has yet to be released, but the Erratic will face the Irish in the semifinal with Blackfalds taking on the Vermilion Rage in the other series.
As the Erratic make preparations for the second season its Okotoks counterparts in the Senior B ranks are left to ponder what could have been.
The Okotoks Sr. B Raiders missed out on the final playoff spot by the thinnest of margins. The Raiders and Edmonton Outlaws finished with identical records at 7-9, but Edmonton’s greater goal differential gave them the edge on the elusive fourth seed. A tough pill to swallow for a Raiders team that flew out of the gates with wins in four of their first five games. Sealing their fate down the stretch was back-to-back losses to bitter rivals in the Calgary Mountaineers and Rockyview Knights.
“We had two chances to clinch a playoff spot, the final two games of the year all we needed was one win and we just couldn’t pull it off,” said head coach Ian MacDonald. “If you look at the standings you have four teams within a game of each other. A very competitive league.
“It’s definitely disappointing the way we started and how we were hoping to finish, but if we built on that same momentum through the next year it should be a better story.”
Despite strong seasons offensively from top-8 scorers Randy Levick (34 goals, 63 points), Casey MacIntyre (25 goals, 60 points) and Tyler Farmer (31 goals, 50 points), the Raiders struggled at times to keep the ball out of their net. Okotoks gave up 149 goals, second most in the loop.