Undefeated Raiders win home tourney

By Tim Morrison

The Killarney-Wawanesa Raiders relied on solid goaltending and timely scoring, as they claimed the A side Championship this past weekend in their annual home tournament.

Eight teams battled throughout the chilly three-day event, with teams from both the WHSHL and the Zone 4 league.

On Friday night the Raiders met the Deloraine-Hartney Colts in the tournament opener.

After the Colts opened the scoring early in the first, the Raiders responded with counters by Brady Hartwig and Cody Shackel late in the frame, to give the home team the lead heading into the second period.

Taylor Opperman made it 3-1 four minutes into the second, when he scored a short-handed marker on a feed from Brady.

More penalty trouble proved costly for the Raiders, as the Colts would capitalize on another power play opportunity later in the frame to draw within a goal.

That would be as close as they would come, however, as K-W goalie Austin Simpson was unbeatable for the rest of the contest, making a number of key stops. Killarney-Wawanesa forward Wade Thompson increased the lead, as he scored twice in the closing minutes of the second to increase the lead to 5-2 going into the third.

Kyle Peters closed out the scoring in the third, and the Raiders cruised to a 6-2 victory.

Saturday’s contest saw the Raiders take on the Morris Mavericks from the Zone 4 league. This was a fast, physical contest, that saw both teams rack up 40 shots apiece, as well as a number of visits to the penalty box.

After a scoreless first period, Wade Thompson continued his torrid scoring pace as he sniped the game’s only goals early in the second frame. Kyle Peters set up Wade’s first even-strength goal, and the second came on the power play, with assists going to Cody Shackel and Kolton Dunwoody.

Matt Vandenberghe earned the shut out in the Raider goal, backstopping the home squad to a 2-0 win and a spot in Sunday’s final.

The Birtle Falcons advanced to Sunday’s meeting with the Raiders, after defeating the Boissevain Broncos in the other A side semi final.

The championship game turned out to be another close contest, which went down to the wire.

The Raiders opened the scoring early in the first, when Brady Hartwig jumped on a loose puck in the high slot and fired it home. Cole Lockhart made it 2-0 minutes later, when he blocked a shot attempt and outskated the Birtle defender, firing a hard snap shot past their goaltender.

Following a period break, the Falcons increased their pace, sending a strong forecheck which resulted in numerous scoring chances. The persistence paid off, as they were able to finally solve Austin Simpson and draw to within a goal. The second period ended, and the Raiders headed into the third with a 2-1 lead.

Wade Thompson was clutch once more, as he converted a cross ice pass from Kyle Peters to increase the lead to two. Birtle would not go down quietly, however, as they buzzed the Raider end, sending shot after shot toward the net, and finally scoring on a rebound opportunity.

With the score 3-2 in favour of the Raiders, Birtle pulled their goalie with just under two minutes to play. Austin came up big for the home squad, as he found a way to keep the puck out of our net, often looking through a mass of bodies in front of him. The Raiders survived the onslaught, and claimed the championship banner.

Hash Marks: A big thank you goes out to manager Paula Opperman, KCI staff, and parent volunteers for running a very successful tournament.

This weekend sees a return to league play, with Minnedosa visiting the Shamrock Centre on Friday night for a 7:30 p.m. game, and Glenboro-Carberry are the visitors Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.

The annual holiday contest with Glenboro-Carberry will be on December 22 at noon in Carberry.

HUGE SAVE – Raiders goalie Austin Simpson comes up with a huge save in the dying seconds of Sunday’s gold medal game.

KILLARNEY/WAWANESA RAIDERS TOURNAMENT CHAMPS – Back row (from left): Larry Shackel (coach), Michael Kinley (student manager), Kyle Peters, Jacob De Ruyck, Cody Shackel, Ryan Forsythe, Cole Lockhart, John Heide, Brennan Schidlowsky, Dylan Smith, Kolton Dunwoody, Reid Opperman, Brayden Phillips, Mike Reykdal (coach), and Tim Morrison (coach). Middle row: Slade Bartley. Front row (from left): Austin Simpson, Camden Cline, Brady Hartwig, Wade Thompson, Tanner Riddle, Matt Vandenberghe, and Taylor Opperman.