Offence starved Raiders in early hole

Lacrosse: Okotoks down 2-0 to Calgary in Jr. A final

By: Remy Greer

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014 06:00 am

Okotoks Jr. Raider AJ Kluck looks to control the ball during Game 2 of the Jr. A championship series, July 27 at the Stu Peppard Arena in Calgary. The Calgary Mountaineers edged Okotoks 9-5 to take a 2-0 series lead.
Okotoks Jr. Raider AJ Kluck looks to control the ball during Game 2 of the Jr. A championship series, July 27 at the Stu Peppard Arena in Calgary. The Calgary Mountaineers edged Okotoks 9-5 to take a 2-0 series lead.
Remy Greer/OWW

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Wins don’t come easy for visitors to the Peppardome.

The Calgary Mountaineers extended their flawless home record into the championship series in building a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Jr. A final over the Okotoks Raiders with a 9-5 win Sunday at the Stu Peppard Arena.

“That was really important. We haven’t lost here all season,” said Mounties rookie Ryan McLean, an Okotokian on the other side of the rivalry. “We take great pride in not losing here and making sure we make a statement every time we’re on the floor.”

The statement was made with four answered goals and a third-period shutout to turn the pick-em game into a convincing and commanding victory for the hosts. Travis Getz, AJ Kluck, Dylan Kinnear, Duston Doudelet and Brett Craig bulged the twine for the Raiders in a losing cause.

“The kids always come and work hard it’s just a question of trying to execute our game plan and what we’re trying to accomplish and buying in,” said Raiders head coach Andrew McBride. “That’s why it’s a best-of-seven series. I’ve never seen a team win after two games.

“Our goal was to split here at the start. We didn’t get that job done, but the great thing about playoffs is you get another shot.”

In the series opener, the Mountaineers took control in the final frame following a defensive stalemate through the opening two periods.

After Raiders sniper Jordan Getz cut the deficit to 3-2, Calgary responded with three goals in 1:49 in the late stages of the contest to win comfortably by a three-goal margin.

“All year if we get up by a good enough goal lead our goal is to maintain ball possession,” said Mounties bench boss Rick Windl. “It’s no secret time is our friend and we’ve got to make sure it works for us.”

So far, so good for the maroon-clad Mountaineers.

“It’s a long way from over,” noted Windl. “Every game has been close. We have to continue to grind and find some more areas to find goals and find some more areas to slow them down offensively.”

Calgary’s been able to mitigate the damage pretty adequately through two contests.

With just eight goals on the board in the series offence cannot continue to be at a premium for Okotoks if it wants to defend its provincial title.

“We definitely need to shoot better. We’re trying to register a game-plan and we’ve got to do a good job of listening to the coaches,” McBride said.

“We’re going to need to score some more goals to be successful, generate some goals on the back-end, we need to find a way to get 8 or 10 goals here.”

Game 3 was Tuesday night in Okotoks, after the Western Wheel’s press time.

Okotoks hosts Game 4 on Wednesday, July 30 with ball drop slated for 8 p.m.

Marshall Gibson, a fourth-year Raider, knows a sense of urgency needs to hit his young club as it returns to the friendly confines of Pason Centennial Arena.

“It has got to be huge for us to play at home. If we can’t win at home, we can’t win anywhere,” he said. “We talk to the young guys and let them know (Calgary) has been in this situation before and so have we.

“And until the buzzer goes in Game 4, 5, 6 or 7 it’s not over.”

The Mountaineers staved off series deficits to force Game 7 in each of the past two championship series with the Raiders in which each team hoisted the league banner, Calgary in 2012 and Okotoks in 2013.

“Everyone has been down in lacrosse,” McBride said. “Who cares, you’re down two games, that means absolutely nothing in lacrosse. You’ve just got to believe.”

If necessary, Game 5 would be July 31 in Calgary with the series returning south for Game 6 in Okotoks on Aug. 2 and a potential seventh game taking place on Aug. 3 at the Peppardome.

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