Raiders face-off against Red Deer
First meeting since the 2012 midget AAA provincial final
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 06:00 am
It’s payback time for the St. Albert Raiders.
Today the Raiders play the Red Deer Chiefs for the first time since the midget AAA provincial final. Faceoff is 1:15 p.m. at Akinsdale Arena.
Red Deer swept the best-of-five series en route to winning the Telus Cup national championship.
“They beat us in the playoffs so we want some redemption,” said netminder Pat Gora at Thursday’s practice. “We’re getting focused for Saturday. We know they’re a very good hockey club so we’ve been practicing hard and working on our systems and penalty kill.”
The three-time defending provincial champion Chiefs are 3-0-1 and the Raiders are 2-0-2.
“Red Deer is a tough team and we’ve got to show them we’re not going to be pushed around this year,” said netminder Mitch Martell. “It’s going to be a good game. It’s going to be competitive, that’s for sure.”
On Sunday the Raiders host the KC Pats (2-2) at 1:30 p.m.
“Every weekend is a big weekend and this weekend especially,” said Martell, 17.
Last weekend in Calgary the Raiders settled for a 4-4 draw with the Flames (3-0-1) at Father David Bauer Arena and posted a 4-1 win over the Northstars (1-2-1) at Max Bell Arena.
Martell stopped 27 shots against the Flames, but gave up the game-tying goal on the power play with 6:57 remaining. It was the third time the Flames capitalized with the man advantage.
“I didn’t have the best game in Calgary. We were playing on the Olympic ice and it was a bit bigger so it was a bit of an adjustment. It was a bit hard to get around,” Martell said. “I thought I wasn’t playing the puck very well. I wasn’t helping our defence very well with it and we got scored on twice because of some misplays in our own zone that should have been simple but that happens.”
It was Martell’s first start after blanking the Pats 2-0 with 26 saves Sept. 30 in Edmonton.
“Starting off the season with a shutout was OK,” he said.
The former bantam AAA St. Albert Sabre, midget 15 Spruce Grove Saint and midget AA Whitecourt Mustang described his goaltending style as low and square.
“I don’t like to give out rebounds. I’m pretty good down low along the ice,” said the Grade 12 St. Albert Catholic High School student.
Sebastian Auray netted goals in the first, second and third after assisting on Tyler Mrkonjic’s marker to open the scoring. Auray’s hat-trick goal was a shorthanded effort to make it 4-3. Kyler Hehn added three assists.
The next day Gora faced 23 shots for his first win after registering 15 saves in the season-opening 4-4 tie against the Sherwood Park Kings (1-2-1) Sept. 29 in St. Albert.
The only goal by the Northstars was on the power play.
“My first game I kind of struggled but my second game I definitely bounced back,” Gora said. “It was just nerves that first game. It was the home opener and everyone is new to the systems and just getting used to a new team.”
Gora, 16, plays a simple game between the pipes.
“I like to be like Carey Price (of the Montreal Canadians), nice and calm in net and quick with good rebound control,” said the Grade 11 St. Albert High student.
Hehn struck twice and added one assist against the Northstars. Mrkonjic and Auray also scored for the undefeated Raiders.
“We’re all excited about the season. We have a really good defence and offence right now,” said Gora, who played for the midget 15 St. Albert Flyers last season.