Raiders Woes Continue, SWAT Bring Miners Down to Earth
This past week delivered a tight and intense matchup in Calgary, and an overwhelmingly relentless slaughter in Saskatoon. These developments have formed the first noticeable separation in the standings this season with the SWAT riding high off a 4-game winning streak, and the Raiders treading threatening waters in an early season slump.
The off season certainly did not allow the historically heated rivalry between the Raiders and the Mounties to cool down, as their first showdown was decided by the slimmest of margins. While the Raiders led for the first 59 minutes of the game, the Mounties rallied for an epic comeback which was completed by a last-minute game-winner from Jake Gillis to make the final score 12-11.
The Mounties were led by a 7-point effort from Toron Eccleston, who tallied the tying goal late in the third period. While Landymore, Bloomfield, Hamm, and Moon each accumulated 4 or more points for the Raiders, it proved to be too little to take home their first win of the season.
This leaves the Raiders in a distressingly unfamiliar area so early in the season. It has been decades since this team has seen themselves in such a disadvantageous position and it will take a significant amount of shuffling and mental toughness from both the players and coaching staff if they hope to keep their season from disappearing like tears in rain.
A three-game set between the SWAT and the Miners took place out in Saskatoon and was a dominatingly one-sided affair from start to finish in favour of the home squad. Mitch Linklater and Colin Berglof led the SWAT offensively as each of them picked up 16 points on the weekend.
The SWAT held the Miners to 5 goals or less in each of the three matches. Once the dust had settled, the final scores stood at 10-5, 10-3, and 14-4. The SWAT’s stiflingly aggressive defense, along with stellar goaltending performances by Laine Hruska and Zach Ludwig, engulfed the Miners offense and suffocated their efforts.
Many of the Miners’ top shooters failed to produce any spark of successful offense over the three-game stretch, an issue that proved to seal the former league leader’s lackluster fate. This was a heavy dose of reality for the Edmonton team as they were gathering impressive results prior to the weekend. With such a young and small squad, it will be important for this team to regroup and find a way to develop tougher personnel that can solve the larger defenses of the league.
The upcoming weekend will feature all four teams in the league battling it out in the Calgary arenas. We will see if the Miners and Raiders can rebound from their disappointment and find a way to overcome adversity, while the SWAT and Mounties will look to take advantage of the momentum that they have built up over the last week. It is sure to be a pivotal weekend that could shape the future of the season.