Raiders lose winning ways
Two straight losses a season-high for north division leaders
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Jan 19, 2013 06:00 am
Two losses in a row are two too many for the St. Albert Raiders.
The north division-leading Raiders (17-7-5) dropped a 1-0 decision Wednesday to the Leduc Oil Kings (13-10-5) at Akinsdale Arena after falling 3-2 to the Maple Leafs (7-15-6) last Saturday in Edmonton.
The 2012 provincial finalists have five games remaining to turn their ship around and secure home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
Sunday the Raiders host the Calgary Buffaloes (14-7-6) at 1:30 p.m.
“We’ve addressed it as a team but we can only say so much. Eventually we’ve got to come out and do what we say, right?” defenceman Jakob Lavoie said Thursday. “It starts today here at practice. We’ve got to come to work and make sure we get better today and hopefully it will come out on Sunday.”
When asked if the Raiders were rattled by their longest winless stretch of the season, Lavoie replied: “A little bit because it’s the first time this year we’ve lost two straight.”
He stressed the Raiders didn’t play up to their potential in both losses.
“We were a little shaky with our systems. We’ve got to get pucks deep and get pucks out. Sometimes we’re creating turnovers and that’s creating offence for the other team,” said the Grade 12 St. Albert Catholic High School student.
In the latest setback, Pat Gore of the Raiders and Joey Desrosiers of the Oil Kings took turns stopping the puck after Robert Cain scored at even strength with 2:17 gone in the game.
“It was a tough one,” said Lavoie of the fourth loss in 15 games. “We didn’t come out ready to play and that’s how they got that first one so we have to take ownership on ourselves to come out ready to play every game.”
The Raiders were unable to cash in on four power-play opportunities in the loss but killed off a four-minute minor to Harrison Blayney, the team’s most penalized player with 98 minutes in 27 games.
Desrosiers posted 16 saves for the shutout – the first time this season the Raiders were held scoreless in a game– and Gora (6-3-3, 2.20 GAA) made 12 stops.
“It was more of a tight defensive game. It wasn’t really just exchanging opportunities off the rush but there was sustained pressure on both teams’ parts,” said Lavoie, 17.
On the positive side, the Raiders only gave up one goal against the league’s top scoring team.
“Our D zone was really good and that’s something to build off of for upcoming games,” said Lavoie, who played for the St. Albert Steel last season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and in 42 games collected four assists.
ICE CHIPS: The Southside Athletic Club (15-6-6) is three points back of the Raiders with two games in hand.
The reigning provincial champion Red Deer Chiefs (17-4-6) are No. 1 in league play by one point over the Raiders with two games in hand as the top team in the south.
The Raiders are now 8-3-4 on home ice.
The team’s last game before the playoffs is Feb. 16 against the Oil Kings in Leduc.