flag bearer Mar 28
Above: Flag Bearer Mark Maskiw of the 7/8 Roblin Park Raiders
It was anticipated that game # 3 could very well be the best game of the series and both the Hawks and Raiders delivered on that prophecy. Just like the two previous encounters, this game had it all. There were plenty of quality scoring opportunities and narrow misses for both teams, there were big saves, slick plays and crunching body checks. This series definitely has brought out the best in both teams. There is little doubt this is playoff hockey.

Your Hawks would open the scoring early in this one. Only 1 minute and 36 seconds had ticked off the clock before Nolan Sekundiak would give the Hawks an early advantage with an assist going to Shane Kustra-Nelson. Six minutes later, the Raiders would respond and the teams would vacate the slippery surface knotted at one. Another quick start, this time with only 1 minute and 28 seconds played, Dylan Zeke would put his teammates up a goal with help from Shawn Pachet and Zach Heisinger. That would be the only goal of the second frame. With a little less than 4 minutes to play in the third, Captain Mike Lorange would give the Hawks some breathing room with an assist being credited to Shane Kustra-Nelson, his second of the game. These no quit Raiders would pot one with only 14 seconds remaining to make things a little discomforting but that would be all the scoring done on this night. Make the Final, Hawks 3 – Raiders 2. Raiders lead the series 2 games to 1.

Raiders would out shoot the Hawks by a 42 – 32 margin. Ryan Hall would stop 40 of those Raider shots to record the “W”. His counterpart, Ryan Brown, would stop 29 Hawk drives and would be charged with his first loss of these playoffs. Specialty teams in this one were dead even. Both the Hawks and Raiders were afforded 4 PP’s each and neither team could take advantage of their odd man advantages.

Game # 4 of this series is scheduled for Friday, March 31 at the Seven Oaks Ice Plex. Game time is 7:30 P.M. If the first three games are any indication, you surely do not want to be missing this one. See you Friday!!!

RAIDERS CLIP HAWKS 2 – 1 IN OT

In what has to be the largest crowd of the season for an MMJHL game, definitely received their moneys’ worth. With the exception of the early portion of the first period, this one was pretty much back and forth all game long. This one had it all, great saves, good plays and hard hits. This series is living up to what most people thought it was going to be. With the OT win, the Raiders now lead the series 2 games to nil.
The opening period was scoreless with both teams having some good opportunities to light the lamp first. The Raiders would connect early in the second to give the game its’ first goal. Late in the same period, Dylan Zeke with an assist from Reg Bowles would knot this affair up at one and send the teams to the second intermission all even. The third period would resolve nothing, thanks to the efforts of both tenders. This one would require some extra time but it wouldn’t last long. A shot from the side boards would deflect off two sets of legs stationed in front of the goal and would end up in the back of the Hawks net, capping off a Raider victory.
The referee let the players decide this one. Each team were assessed only 2 odd man advantages and neither one could capitalize. Ryan Hall was tagged with the loss despite having turned aside 32 of the 34 Raider shots directed his way. Ryan Brown continued his playoff winning ways in the Raider net recording 20 saves.
Game # 3 goes Tuesday, March 28 at the Eric Coy Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 P.M. You don’t dare want to miss this one, hope to see you out!

RAIDERS STRIKE FIRST BLOW WITH 5 – 2 WIN!!

Flag Bearer mar 21
Above:  Flag Bearer Jack Wantzing of the 7/8 Roblin Park Raiders
It is only game one of a series many think will go well into the first week of April so it is a bit premature to write the obituary or press the panic button. We can dissect this one until the cows come home (sorry my Farming Friends) but nothing we say will change the outcome. Bottom line, and I believe the majority of the fans taking in this one would agree, is the fact that on this night, the Hawks were not as good as the Raiders. Consequently, it was the Raiders leaving the confines of the Eric Coy Arena with a 5 Р2 win and a one game to nil lead in the series. NUFF said!!! 
The majority of the game had the Hawks in a catch and chase mode. Raiders opened the scoring at the 8:29 mark of the first period. At 10:50 of the same period, the Hawks would tie it up at one, compliments of a goal by AP Matt Lawrence, his first as a Hawk with assists going to line-mates Mike Lorange and Spencer Ferbers. Raiders would restore their lead early in the second stanza but less than 2 minutes later, Shane Kustra-Nelson, would continue his torrid playoff scoring spree with his 6th of these playoffs. Earning assists would be Shawn Pachet and James Najduch. The teams would head to the dressing rooms knotted at 2 goals apiece. At this point your Hawks were being outplayed, out worked and out shot 30 – 21. The roof really came crashing down on this series opener in the third. Raiders would score 3 unanswered PP goals and out shoot your Hawks by a 20 – 7 margin. YIKES!!!
It is a well documented fact that specialty teams play a critical role in determining the outcome of a game. That fact was re-enforced in spades tonight. Hawks were 0 for 4 on the PP and yielded 3 goals out of the 4 odd man opportunities afforded the Raiders. No question, this was the biggest difference in the game. Ben Thorlakson made 45 saves in the Hawk’s net and his counterpart at the other end of the rink, Ryan Brown, made 26 stops to record the win.
Hawks now have a few days off to reload and refocus before heading to the Seven Oaks Arena and game # 2. This one is scheduled for Sunday, March 26th and is a 2:30 p.m. start. See you there!!