Raiders rebound from loss
Midget AAA team shuts out KC Pats after falling to Red Deer Chiefs
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 03:15 pm
One loss was one too many for the St. Albert Raiders last weekend in the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League.
At Akinsdale Arena the 2012 provincial finalists played their best game of the season in Sunday’s 2-0 win over the KC Pats (3-3) after looking pretty ordinary the day before in the 3-2 loss to the Telus Cup national champion Red Deer Chiefs (5-0-1).
“Good teams don’t lose two games in a row so it’s good to have a good rebound game like that,” said defenceman Tyler Dea after the Raiders improved to 3-1-2 in league play. “The guys had a good 60 minute effort today compared to yesterday, when we had some shifts off against Red Deer so it was good the guys were able to rebound from a tough loss and get the two points.”
Saturday’s grudge match marked the first meeting since Red Deer, the three-time reigning provincial champions, swept the Raiders in the best-of-five final.
“We’re disappointed. There was two points up for grabs and unfortunately we didn’t get it,” Dea said. “We know what we did wrong so hopefully the next time we play them we can take two points from them.”
The first loss of the season stung the Raiders.
“It was a tough one to take,” said defenceman Jakob Lavoie. “It was a good wakeup call to get us to know that if we want to win just about every game we have to do the best that we can every game. It was a perfect example of what we didn’t do, and that’s all the little things and all the details. We need to do those to come out on top.”
A surprising low shot count saw Red Deer outshoot the Raiders 19-16, including a 5-1 edge in the first frame. Period scores were 1-0 and 2-1 for the visitors.
Mrkonjic tied it at one in the second and Jason Miller evened the score at two apiece early in the third.
Chase Thudium’s even-strength goal with 13:11 left to play against netminder Pat Gora (1-1-1) was the game winner.
“We had a lot of opportunities, but our power play wasn’t really clicking. In the third period we had lots of chances to capitalize and we didn’t do that,” Dea said. “It was just little mental breakdowns in the D zone that cost us some goals. We went over that today in video and we know better. We would rather get those over with early in the season so come playoff time in February, March we’re good in the D zone and mentally we’re strong.”
The 24-hour turnaround brought out the best in the Raiders, outshooting the Pats 44-21 as Mitch Martell (2-0-1) posted his second shutout of the season against the Edmonton club. He posted 26 saves in the 2-0 decision Sept. 30.
Lavoie connected in the second and Paul Lovsin struck on the power play in the third against netminder Tanner McCorriston, the Pats’ game star.
“The team played amazing today. We need to play like that every game. If we do that we’ll do amazing this year,” Lavoie said. “We did pretty much everything what our coaches wanted us to do and it turned out to be in our favour.”
Lavoie, 17, has been a welcome addition to the Raiders’ blue-line after spending last season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the controversial St. Albert Steel. With the Steel relocating to Whitecourt, the former bantam AAA St. Albert Sabre and midget 15 St. Albert Flyer elected to play midget AAA.
“I didn’t really want to go to Whitecourt. I just wanted to stay home one more year,” said the Grade 12 St. Albert Catholic High School student.
Lavoie collected four assists in 42 AJHL games.
“The experience was great. It helped me become more of a leader.”
The return of Dea from his brief stint with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons this season gave the Raiders another big boost defensively. The Grade 12 Ecole Secondaire Saint Marguerite d'Youville student potted one goal and added four assists in 34 games with the Raiders after going pointless in 10 games as an affiliate during his 2010/11 season with the midget 15 Flyers.
Dea, 17, joins forwards Mrkonjic, Sebastian Auray, Kyler Hehn and Dan Huculak as returning players from the team’s second-place 21-9-4 record in the north and 6-5 playoff showing.
“I don’t think we’re as skilled as we were last year but we’ve got a lot of guys that are willing to crash and bang and we’ve got lots of depth lines that will go out there and hit and crash the net,” Dea said. “We’re bringing a lot more tempo and hopefully teams will fear that we’ll be coming at them strong like that. Hopefully we’ll put them on their heels and create opportunities down low.”
The Raiders’ homestand continues this weekend against the Southeast Tigers (1-4-1) of Medicine Hat on Saturday at 8 p.m. and the Calgary Northstars (1-3-2) Sunday at 1:30 p.m.