Raiders cold as ice
Third-straight loss drops midget AAA from first place in north standings
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013 06:00 am
The St. Albert Raiders lost their grip on first place in the north division after dropping their third game in a row in the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League.
Sunday afternoon the Calgary Buffaloes scored three unanswered goals after defenceman Tyler Dea opened the scoring for the Raiders in the 3-1 loss at Akinsdale Arena.
“It was a hard fought battle. We competed pretty hard, we just didn’t get the outcome that we wanted today,” said assistant captain Kyler Hehn.
With four games remaining before the playoffs, the Raiders (17-8-5) are one point behind the Southside Athletic Club (17-6-6) for the north pennant and five points back of the Red Deer Chiefs (19-4-6) for the overall league title. Southside and Red Deer, three-time reigning provincial champions and 2012 Telus Cup national gold medallists, both have a game in hand on the Raiders.
Hehn, 17, is surprised the 2012 provincial finalists have lost a season-high three straight games.
“It’s frustrating for sure but we’re going to stick together and get through it,” said the league’s fifth-leading scorer with 35 points in 30 games.
The Raiders were outscored 7-3 in the three losses despite out-shooting the opposition in every game, including a 16-13 margin in the 1-0 setback to the Leduc Oil Kings (15-10-5) on home ice last week.
“We just need to capitalize more on the power play. We’ll be good if we can do that,” said Hehn, pointless in the last three games after compiling 19 goals and 16 assists. “We can drive the net a little harder for sure and get some more rebounds.”
The Raiders outshot the Buffaloes 29-15, but the only goal was scored by Dea five minutes into the game for his second of the season.
The Buffaloes tied it up early in the middle frame on the power play. They tied it up in the third with 5:36 remaining, five seconds after a charging minor to the Raiders’ Harrison Blayney (100 PIM in 28 games) had expired.
The Raiders also killed off penalties in the third to Hehn (hooking) and Mike Cardinal (tripping) in the Calgary zone. Overall, both teams were whistled for six minors.
An empty net goal with 12 seconds to play ended the suspense.
Shots were 10-5 for the Raiders in the third, as Keelan Williams (8-2-4, 2.42 GAA) of the Buffaloes was called upon to make only a couple of difficult saves. Mitch Martell (11-5-1, 1.82 GAA) was in net for the Raiders.
“We just had some unlucky bounces,” said Hehn, a second-year Raider. “We also took a couple of selfish penalties but we killed them off.”
The Raiders have a break in the schedule until next weekend, when they travel to Calgary to play the Buffaloes (15-8-6) and Royals (15-7-6). Both teams are tied for second in the south division.
The last home game is Feb. 10 against the Royals at 3:45 p.m.
The Raiders wrap up the regular season Feb. 16 in Leduc.
“We’re just going to try and get better every day. It’s just the little things we need to get better on,” said Hehn, a Grade 12 Memorial Composite High School student.
The Raiders finished 1-3-1 in January after losing their last two games at the 35th annual Mac’s Midget AAA World Invitation Tournament as quarter-finalists. The Raiders went 3-2 at the Mac’s, including a tournament-opening 3-2 win over the Buffaloes.