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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 05, 2014 06:00 am

PUCK RETRIEVAL - St. Albert Raiders' captain Jason Miller goes for the puck in front of a fallen Nolan Krewusik of the Sherwood Park Kings in Sunday's midget AAA game at Akinsdale Arena. Taylor Lotoski of the Raiders scored four goals in the 4-2 win.
PUCK RETRIEVAL - St. Albert Raiders' captain Jason Miller goes for the puck in front of a fallen Nolan Krewusik of the Sherwood Park Kings in Sunday's midget AAA game at Akinsdale Arena. Taylor Lotoski of the Raiders scored four goals in the 4-2 win.
CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette

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Raiders roll on

The St. Albert Raiders took a big step closer to clinching a top-six playoff spot in the north by picking up three out of a possible four points last weekend in the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League.

The Raiders improved to 15-11-4 by tying the Canadian Athletic Club 2-2 and doubling the Sherwood Park Kings 4-2.

The sixth-place Raiders are seven points in front of the Grande Prairie Storm (11-14-5) with five games remaining and are one point back of the Southside Athletic Club (16-12-3) with a game in hand.

Luc Smith’s third-period goal was the equalizer against the CAC (19-7-6) Saturday at Bill Hunter Arena.

The CAC tallied twice in the first and Ty Lindberg also scored before the period ended.

Pat Dea stopped a game-high 39 shots in the team’s first contest since Jan. 19, a 5-3 loss to the first-place Lloydminster Bobcats (22-8-2) in the Border City.

It was the Taylor Lotoski show Sunday as the Raiders’ forward scored all four goals – one shorthanded, two even strength and an empty-net tally – against the Kings (17-7-8). His last three goals, all in the third, were unassisted. He had only two goals going into the game.

Dea (11-4-3, 2.02 GAA) faced 30 shots.

This weekend the Raiders host the Lethbridge Hurricanes (9-17-6) Saturday at 8 p.m. and the SEAC Tigers of Medicine Hat (8-19-4) Sunday at 1:15 p.m.

NCHL playoffs

The host team for the senior AA/A provincials is on the brink of elimination in the North Central Hockey League playoffs after losing its best-of-three series opener to the Westlock Warriors.

The 6-4 decision Saturday at Ray McDonald Sports Centre left the Morinville Kings facing an uphill battle to advance to the best-of-five semifinals.

In the third period the Warriors tied it at four, then scored the go-ahead goal on a high slot deflection. They later added an empty-net goal to seal the deal.

Penalties were also an issue for the Kings in the loss.

Scoring details were unavailable from the Kings and details were not posted on the NCHL website at press time.

The series resumes Saturday in Westlock at 8:30 p.m.

If needed, the third and deciding game goes 10 a.m. Sunday in Morinville.

In league play the Kings (13-4-1) swept the Warriors (9-9) by scores of 6-5 in Morinville and 8-7 in Westlock.

The Kings were No. 2-ranked team in league play in their inaugural NCHL season.

Provincials are March 28 to 30 in Morinville.

Sabres at home

The last game before the playoffs for the St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres is Saturday versus the Camrose Vikings in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League.

Puck drop is 3:45 p.m. at Akinsdale Arena.

Depending on the result against Camrose (13-11-6), the Sabres (17-11-4) will play the Canadian Athletic Club (19-11-2) or the SSAC Southgate Lions (25-4-1) next week in the best-of opening round in the nitro north division.

The Sabres are 3-2 since the John Reid Memorial Tournament after sweeping the Grande Prairie Storm 5-1 and 7-1 last weekend in Grande Prairie.

Zach Marano scored four consecutive goals after Ryan Cooper opened the scoring in the first game.

Liam Peyton tallied twice and Marcus Walter, Matt Kasowski, Jack Langenhahn, Bret Mossing and Marano also scored in game two.


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