Raiders take clash of the Titans
Lacrosse: Okotoks earns semifinal sweep of Sherwood Park
Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 06:00 am
The Okotoks Jr. Raiders left no room for doubt to advance to the league championship.
Okotoks wrapped up its three-game sweep of the Sherwood Park Titans in the best-of-five Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League semifinal with a 12-3 statement road win on Friday night.
“I think we were more hungry for it,” said Raiders attackman Kade McCormick. “We’ve got all of our guys in the lineup and we were just prepared.
“We’ve been doing video and knew how to get by them.”
Okotoks took Game 1 and 2 of the semifinal on its home floor by 15-12 and 10-6 scores, respectively, and focused on giving up nothing defensively and swift-ball movement in preparation for the elimination game.
The Raiders built a modest 4-2 advantage in the first period and took control with a dominant 3-0 middle frame before putting the game out of reach with a 5-1 final frame to sew up the 12-3 result. McCormick paced the Raiders with a four-goal, five- point contest with freshman sensation Brett McIntyre posting a hat-trick.
“The biggest thing was not letting up and having a full 60 minutes,” said McCormick, a High Riverite and Holy Trinity Academy graduate. “It would be tough to come into a third game, down two and get shutout in the second period.
“We did well there.”
McCormick, who was held to just seven regular season games due to injury, looks to have regained his early season form with a playoff-high seven goals to his name.
“Not that I was slow coming in, but I wasn’t at the top of my game the first week back,” he said. “Recently I’ve been feeling good and I’m fortunate I got some good bounces and the ball has been bouncing my way and I was able to put a few away.”
The Raiders are rolling into the league finals versus the top-seed Calgary Mountaineers, a rematch of the past two championship series in which both club has walked away with one title.
“It was a real big confidence booster, knowing we could come into the Mounties series coming in hot,” McCormick said. “We showed that we were better than the Titans and can bring that energy and that focus into the Mounties.”
Heading into the final, the red-and-white clad Raiders are sporting a black-and-blue trim after a tremendously physical, albeit short, series with the gritty Titans.
“We’re a little nicked up, we’ve got some bumps and bruises, but guys are going to have to rise up,” said Raiders bench boss Andrew McBride, a two-time NLL champion with the Calgary Roughnecks. “It’s playoff lacrosse, that’s what champions do, they battle through adversity, and they battle through injuries.
“We’re definitely not 100 per cent, but we will be ready to go.”
To keep up with the Raiders go to their official website at raiderslacrosse.ca