MINTO PREVIEW: OKOTOKS HOPING FOR MINTO BREAKTHROUGH

by Owen Munro, Langley Events Ctr

Previous into Cup Appearances: 7
Last Appearance: 2018
Championships: 0
Overall Record (Regular season and playoffs): 15-10-0

When the games mattered most, the Okotoks Raiders came through.

The Raiders advanced to their third consecutive Minto Cup (and fourth in five years) after upsetting the top team in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League, the Calgary Mountaineers, in seven games in the league championship series.

From 2015 to 2018, Okotoks averaged an .824 winning percentage while winning three of the past four league championships. But this season saw the team go 8-7-0 record (which included a 2-1 overtime record) to finish third in the RMLL, the Raiders lowest standing since the league was formed.

But once the post-season hit, the team found its stride.

The Raiders swept the No. 2 Saskatoon SWAT 3-0 in the semifinals to set up a showdown against Calgary with a berth in the Minto Cup up for grabs.

The home team won each of the first six games before the visiting Raiders finally broke through in the decisive game, erasing a 3-2 deficit to score the only four goals of the final frame in a come-from-behind 6-3 victory.

Calgary entered the game averaging 11 goals per game through the regular season and league semifinals. But once the championship series hit, the Mounties were held to 7.42 goals per game, including just 18 in the four losses.

Offensively, Levi Anderson has proven to be a clutch scorer for the Raiders.

Anderson led the team in both regular season (29 goals, 63 points) and post-season (17 goals and 36 points) scoring. He also averaged a league-best 4.0 points per game in the playoffs.

Even more impressive was the fact that of Okotoks’ 15 total victories, Anderson delivered the game-wining goal four times during the regular season and three more times in the playoffs. The former led the league and the latter was second.

The Raiders have done their scoring all season by committee.

Ethan Landymore (19 goals, 40 points) and Marshall Bloomfield (16 goals, 36 points) were second and third on the team in scoring during the regular season while Zach Mantei was second on the Raiders in post-season scoring with a dozen goals and 30 points.

In net, Jack Bruzell-Friesz posted an 8.50 goals against average and an .811 save percentage during the regular season. He lowered his GAA by a full goal (down to 7.50) and upped his save percentage to .845 in the playoffs.