Raiders pick up first wins at home tournament

Steven Mah
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Raiders place fourth at 10-team home tournament

2013 Bantam Raiders

The Swift Current Kabos Bantam Raiders are hoping that they have put their season back on track with a strong performance at their home tournament over the weekend.

The Raiders picked up their first two wins of the season, tied once, and lost two close games to place fourth out of 10 teams at their annual home event.

The Raiders opened the tournament with a 4-4 draw against the Saskatoon Outlaws. The two teams battled the entire way, they were tied 1-1 after one period and 3-3 after two. Caleb Stevenson had two goals and Tyde Hutchinson added a goal and an assist. Braden Levac also scored, while Nathan Wik, Brendan Hale, Hunter Lamb, and Jesse Wellsch added assists. Jeremy Brumwell picked up the draw in goal for the Raiders.

The Raiders picked up their first win of the season Friday evening with a 7-2 victory over the Nor Man Wolves.

Callen Boutin paced the Raiders with a goal and three assists and Cayden Price scored twice in the win. Jonas Sadden and Lamb each scored and added an assist and Levac and Wik also scored. Logan Fritzke, Dryden Smith, Dayne Stenson, Hutchinson, and Aaron Wittmier all added assists and Josh Soper earned the win in goal.

The Raiders made it two straight wins with a 9-4 triumph over the Sherwood Park Sabres Saturday afternoon. Stenson stepped up with two goals and two assists and Hutchinson scored once and set-up three goals.

Lamb and Wellsch each scored two goals and added an assist, Fritzke added a goal and an assist, and Jackson Tonnies added two helpers. Mason Peterson also scored, while Smith and Hale added assists. Soper made his second straight start and picked up another win in goal.

The Raiders had a chance to clinch a spot in the gold medal game on Saturday evening in their round robin finale against the Battleford Barons. They came out strong and led 4-0 in the second period and 6-3 in the third period but let the leads slip away in a costly 7-6 loss.

Hutchinson scored twice, while Sadden, Stenson, and Levac each added a goal and an assist. Price also scored, while Brumwell suffered the loss in goal. Lamb picked up three assists, while Wellsch, Hale, and Wik all added singles.

“I think overall we definitely made huge strides this weekend,” said head coach Kent Woods. “We tie the first game and they score with 2.7 seconds left. It has kind of been the story of our bad luck. But the guys responded, we played very well the next two games. We scored goals and it gave us a chance last night to move into the A side. I don’t think anybody would have expected us to move into the A side.”

He thought his team simple ran out of gas in the loss.

“We held a pretty substantial lead and then probably started running out of gas last night. Battleford is a big strong team and they pushed back hard on us and the guys panicked a little bit. That is the one thing we have to start working on a little more is how we stop our lows from being so low and our highs from being so high I guess at times and playing more of a level, even-keel game.”

The Raiders placed second in their pool with a 2-1-1 record and faced the Saskatoon Stallions for third place on Sunday morning. The Raiders, now missing three players due to injury, trailed most of the way and allowed an empty net goal to stall their comeback attempt in a 4-2 loss to place fourth overall.

The Raiders had failed to win in their first 14 games in the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League.

“From the mental aspect it is huge,” said Woods of the two wins. “Our guys are starting to believe, even today we are down 3-1 and earlier in the year we are probably thinking the game is going to be difficult to come back from. But our guys pushed back today, we made it 3-2 then an empty netter so 4-2. But we had a couple chances late and the guys never really did roll over, still kind of pressured as hard as we did and kept moving forward for sure.”

The Raiders will resume their league schedule on Sunday when the Melville Millionaires (5-3-2) visit Fairview West Arena at 4:30 p.m. They will also host the Notre Dame Hounds (0-10-0) on Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. at Fairview West.

Organizations: Swift Current Kabos Bantam Raiders, Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League

Geographic location: Swift Current

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