Must-win for midget AAA Raiders at the Mac’s and Josh Mahura’s second crack at Canada’s world junior team

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Raiders at the Mac’s

The St. Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders have to beat the Hungarian national U18 team today for a shot at the quarter-finals at the 40th annual Mac’s Midget AAA World Invitational Tournament in Calgary.

Faceoff is 11:45 a.m. between the Raiders (2-1) and the Hungarians (0-2).

The Raiders and Calgary Royals (2-1) were tied for the lead in pool 1 after the St. Albert squad defeated the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds 5-1 Thursday.

The tournament consists of 25 teams in five pools and eight teams qualify for the playoffs.

The final is Jan. 1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Visit www.macstournament.ab.ca for the playoff schedule and results.

The Raiders are in position for a playoff spot after Evan Fradette stopped a game-high 32 shots against Fraser Valley (1-1).

Captain Mason Rezewski, Aidan West, Xavier Halterman, Blake Sydlowski and Brett Bamber scored on 27 shots and Eddie Gallagher and Zach Carlson added two assists apiece.

The Raiders were coming off Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Tisdale Trojans (1-1) as Bamber and West netted goals.

Shots were 22 apiece as Mitch Reidy (six saves on nine shots in 33:36 minutes) and Fradette (11 saves on 13 shots in 25:24 minutes) shared goaltending duties.

The tournament opener was Tuesday’s 4-3 decision against the Calgary Royals.

The second goal by Austin Spiridakis in the third period was the winner with 43 seconds remaining.

Gallagher also potted a pair and assisted on both goals by Spiridakis. Brady Nicholas also had two helpers and Fradette faced 21 shots.

In the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League, the Raiders (13-8-4) are first in the north and the Royals (12-6-4) are tied for sixth. The teams settled for a scoreless draw Nov. 12 in St. Albert.

The Raiders are the first St. Albert team at the Mac’s since finishing 3-2 as quarter-finalists in 2012/13.

League play resumes next Saturday against the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers (6-17-2) at 2:30 p.m. at JRC Arena.

So close for Mahura

Josh Mahura is a team player when it comes to playing for Canada.

The St. Albert defenceman with the Regina Pats was one of Canada’s final cuts on Dec. 15 for the IIHF World Junior Championship and after one game back with the Pats he was recalled Dec. 17 to fill in for the injured Dante Fabbro during pre-tournament action.

Mahura, 19, was cut for the second time on the eve of worlds after Fabbro was medically cleared to compete for Canada as one of the team’s seven defencemen.

Fabbro, a 2016 first-round pick of the Nashville Predators, is among seven returning players on Canada’s roster, including three defencemen. The Montreal Canadiens also loaned defenceman Victor Mete to Canada for worlds.

Mahura, a 2016 third-round (85th overall) pick of the Anaheim Ducks, has recorded 11 goals, 29 points and was plus 15 in 28 games for the Pats (17-18-3), the host team for the 2018 Memorial Cup.

The captain of the 2012/13 bantam AAA St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres is in his first full season with the Pats after breaking into the Western Hockey League with the 2014/15 Red Deer Rebels.

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About Author

Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.