By Steven Ellis
Friday, August 21, 2015 9:45 am ·  0 Comments
The first pre-season game of the year for Oakville started off fairly well against Georgetown, but the Raiders would still battle back to take the 4-1 victory on Thursday afternoon.
The Blades looked like a hungry bunch right off the bat. Perhaps the best scoring chance of the first ten minutes of the game came when Peterbourgh Petes draft pick Bryce Misley cruised into the offensive zone after beating two defensemen, before dropping the puck to Nick Mainella. Mainella got a solid shot off, firing a quick chance from the high slot, only to get blocked by a Georgetown defender before it got towards the net. Then at the end of the period, a pass by Kyle Potts to Joey Berkopec looked good enough, but Georgetown’s last line of defense was right in the way to make the big stop with the shoulder.
At the other end, Mike Botiz made a solid impression in his first game action with the Blades, since acting as an Affiliated Player back in 2013-2014. The right handed goalie prospect looked sharp in the early going, making some tough stops with the pads and gloves to keep the shutout after 20 minutes of action.
With 13 minutes to go in the second, Oakville managed to figure out how to put the puck in the net first. Brayden Sampson would be the first to contribute a scoring chance, but it would be Eric Holland in front of the net who would sneak the puck in, giving Oakville the 1-0 lead in the middle frame.
Through 40 minutes of action, Botiz was the standout player of the game. Making fantastic lateral stops with his pads, Botiz had to face most of the action during the middle frame. His best save came on a dangerous scoring chance at the doorstep when he was forced to stretch out and keep the puck out with his toe with about five minutes left. It was good enough to keep the puck out of the net and, extended his shutout heading into the final period.
After an early period fight involving Oakville’s Nicholas Leshuk, it was clear that the game really had ramped up the pace. Unfortunately for the Blades, the following play wouldn’t result in success for the team in blue. Instead, the Raiders found the back of the net. A Raiders’ forward rushed in front and stuck the puck past Botiz with the quick shot after 44 minutes of play to tie the game.
Oakville worked hard to fight back and restore their lead. With nine minutes to go, the squad had two incredible scoring chances, only to get lucked out in the process. First, Christian Rajic sent off a slick pass to Brayden Sampson, just to have Georgetown’s stopper stick out the right pad and keep it out. Then, seconds later, Ethan Norther had a very similar chance on the one-timer, but he two would find a similar fate.
Georgetown would snag the 2-1 lead with half the period still to go. This time, Georgetown was able to get the shot past Botiz, giving the home team their first advantage of the game. With three minutes to go, Oakville’s rivals would once again reach the mesh after finding a small opening in between Botiz’s legs, somehow getting it through for the 3-1 goal from the corner. Georgetown would pot an empty netter with about two minutes to go, sealing the deal with the 4-1 victory on Thursday.
Oakville’s next pre-season meeting will take place at home at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex, a 1:30pm meeting with the Burlington Cougars on Sunday. Hope to see you there!