rtec raiders
Road to the Esso Cup: Rocky Mountain Raiders
A turnaround season included ending the Edmonton Thunder dynasty in Alberta
Wendy Graves
|
April 11, 2016
|

What a difference a year makes.

The Rocky Mountain Raiders, version 2014-15: 13 wins, 35 points, seventh place in the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League.

The Rocky Mountain Raiders, version 2015-16: 23 wins, 50 points, first place in the AMMFHL.

After opening the season 5-0, the Raiders never looked back, riding the league’s best offence to the team’s first regular season title.

With a mostly returning roster augmented by a strong group of first-year Midget players, head coach Paul Pozzi knew he had the depth for at least a top four finish.

“Have we overachieved? Yeah, I guess I would say we overachieved,” he says. “Did I think we’d be here? No. But I knew we had the drive. This is a pretty special group. There’s no quit in this team.”

Rocky Mountain finished two points clear of the Sherwood Park Fury after taking the season series 3-1.

The Raiders opened the playoffs by sweeping a three-game preliminary series against the Edmonton Thunder (and ensuring a team other than the Thunder would represent Alberta at the Pacific Regional for the first time), advancing them to the five-team provincial tournament.

After winning their first three games, the Raiders dropped their last to the Calgary Fire. With that result, Calgary advanced directly to the championship game and Rocky Mountain needed to play the Spruce Grove Saints in the semifinal.

The Raiders shut out the Saints 4-0 to set up a winner-take-all rematch with the Fire.

“I thought playing that extra game would have us more tired, but I think it also worked in our favour,” says Pozzi. “It was just a lot of adrenaline flowing. You wouldn’t have known we had played two games the night before.”

With the game tied 1-1 as time wound down in regulation, Breanne Trotter scored what proved to be the game-winner with 3:37 to play.

The Pacific Regional presented a rematch of the final of the annual Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament. Back in January, the Northern Capitals defeated the Raiders 5-1.

“We went into the [Pacific Regional] very confident we could play them and play really well against them,” says Pozzi. “I think it worked in our favour that we were the underdogs. They had a two-week break; we had just come off our provincials.”

Kara Kondrat’s one-timer from the slot gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes. A great individual effort by Trotter made it 2-0 through 40 minutes, and captain Nicolette Seper tipped in a shot on the power play early in the third, as the Raiders outshot the Capitals 33-24 in winning Game 1, 3-0.

The Raiders shut the door on the Capitals’ offence again the next day. Seper scored on a power play in the first. The Capitals outshot the Raiders 28-13 over the final two periods but couldn’t beat goaltender Erin Fargey. Empty-netters by Seper and Kennedy Brown in the final minute of the third period sealed the deal for the Raiders.

Perhaps no one was more surprised than the players themselves. Many previously arranged to play in showcase events the weekend before the Esso Cup begins. Team practices resumed afterward, and Pozzi says the players are “over the moon” to be capping their season at nationals.

HOW THEY GOT TO WEYBURN

Albert Major Midget Female Hockey League
Preliminary round: defeated Edmonton 3-0 (4-2, 6-1, 3-0)
Round robin: second place – 3-1 (defeated Sherwood Park 3-0, defeated Spruce Grove 4-2, defeated Peace Country 2-1, lost to Calgary 3-2)
Semifinal: defeated Spruce Grove 4-0
Championship: defeated Calgary 2-1

Pacific Regional
Defeated Northern 2-0 (3-0, 3-0)

REGULAR SEASON

Record: 23-5-1-3 (1st in AMMFHL)
Goals For: 107 (1st in AMMFHL)
Goals Against: 70 (4th in AMMFHL)
Longest Winning Streak: 7 (Dec. 20-Jan. 30)
Top 3 Scorers:

  • Nicolette Seper – 24G 13A 37P (2nd in AMMFHL)
  • Paige Russell – 8G 16A 24P (T-7th in AMMFHL)
  • Lacey Dimaulo – 11G 12A 23P (T-9th in AMMFHL)


PLAYOFFS

Record: 10-1
Goals For: 36
Goals Against: 10
Top 3 Scorers:

  • Nicolette Seper – 6G 11A 17P
  • Lacey Dimaulo – 6G 4A 10P
  • Breanne Trotter – 5G 5A 10P


NATIONAL MIDGET CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

First appearance

PLAYERS TO WATCH

KENNEDY BROWN
extremely quick … tenacious and gritty player … well-rounded athlete … relentless work ethic … ability to draw penalties

HANNA MATCHETT
high hockey IQ … plays in all situations … exceptional patience … strong playmaker … uses her teammates well … reads the game well … can put the puck in the net

NICOLETTE SEPER
excellent skater … takes the puck to the net … very skilled … playmaker and scorer … great leader … sees the ice well … special player

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

Katie Macleod
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-284-6427
Mobile: 403-612-2893
[email protected]

 

Videos
Photos
2019 WJAC: RUS 3 – CANE 2 OT (Preliminary)
Ponomaryov scored on the PP in the extra period for the Russians.
2019 CTPHC: USA 8 – CZE 0 (Semifinal)
Four different players drove the U.S. to a win with three-point games.
2019 CTPHC: CAN 3 – RUS (Semifinal)
Cozzolino vaulted Canada to the final with a goal and a helper.
2019 CTPHC: RUS 10 – CZE 0 (Preliminary)
Petrov and Lisov combined for an impressive 12 points for Russia.
Schedule