The Minto Cup will begin tomorrow featuring the Six Nations Arrows Express and the Coquitlam Adanacs. The Adanacs won the right to be at the Minto Cup after beating the Calgary Mountaineers 3 games to 1 in their best of five series. Let it be known that the Mounties did not go down quietly. They battled hard each and every night, taking an early lead in each game. They won game three and were in it to the end in game four. In the first two games they were beat by large margins, but even in those games the score did not get out of hand until later in the games. I was impressed by their compete level.
In the end the depth of the Adanacs proved to be too much. Wes Berg, arguably the best player for the Adanacs, only played the first game. The Adanacs were able to move players in and out of the lineup without a significant decrease in their effectiveness. The Mounties, who destroyed Alberta teams with their transition game, were not able to generate those same transition goals against the Adanacs. The Adanacs ball possession was strong, eliminating those turnovers that would allow the Mounties to transition the ball. The Adanacs defence was very good at picking up loose balls and not giving the Mounties additional possessions. The Mounties only lost one game all season in Alberta and then lost three of four to the Adanacs. I would be prepared to argue that the Mounties lack of success against the Adanacs has as much to do with the rest of the Alberta league as it does with their own team. Other teams in the league, including the Titans, were not able to push the Mounties all season long to make them a better team. The Mounties did not face stiff enough competition to challenge them to get better during the season. Add also to this equation that the Adanacs were able to add numerous players at the deadline from other BC teams and it quickly turns to an uneven match up. We just are not in this position in Alberta. The lack of depth and small number of teams in the league does not allow for a lot of options at the trade deadline. The Mounties were able to add one strong player at the deadline, Connor Goodwin, from the BC league. To be blunt about the situation, we just do not have enough talent in the province.
But at the end of the day you have to play the games and the Mounties went out and did that. My congratulations to Captain Dan Taylor and the rest of the Mounties. Dan had an exceptional junior career and in the Western Final led his team in points. The entire team played incredibly hard and represented Alberta well. I watched every game and from what I saw the Mounties should hold their heads high. Good on them.
It has been a week and I am still upset about how we ended the Junior A season. “What could have been?” was replaced by “What the hell happened?” We had the pieces, but were not able to put it together and when we needed an exceptional effort, we caved in collectively. I will take responsibility. As one of the coaches I was not able to get what was required from the players to extend the season. I did not push the right buttons and when we needed to step up, we instead fell apart. Extremely disappointing and extremely frustrating. We now sit on the sidelines again and watch the two South teams battle for the provincial title. The Raiders earned it and we did not respond when needed.
Putting my anger aside, I must applaud our fifth year players for their dedication and commitment to the Junior program in Sherwood Park. Without players such as these, Junior A would never have been possible in the community.
Cory Burton: Heart and soul player who has given a ton to lacrosse in the Park. Just a warrior for the team and his team mates. One of those players that you know will always have your back. From a coach’s perspective he is the glue guy. The player that keeps it all together and players rally around. Five years he has played for the Titans junior program and he definitely gave and took his lumps. Cory is a special player and will always be held in high regard.
Brett Arnston: Tough as nails. Played hard for the Titans each and every time he stepped on the floor. A little bit of a wild card at times that would surprise you with a great goal or something crazy that would make you shake your head. Loved his unpredictability and the spirit he brought to the team.
Tyler North: A quiet young man who always provided his team with a reliable defensive effort. His quiet demeanor and great smile around the room was always welcome. Tyler was a solid player for the Titans and took on more responsibility in the past couple of years and became a leader on the floor.
Adam Wild: A young man that played three years for the Junior B Titans before moving to the Miners Junior A team. We were able to bring him “home” for the conclusion of his junior career. This kid contributed so much to the Titans organization and I wish we were able to have had him back with us sooner.
Scott Kavalinas: Scott played virtually his entire junior career for the Miners Junior A program. We were able to bring him back to Sherwood Park, where he played his minor lacrosse, for the final run. Scott was a great goalie in this league and with his aging out of junior the league loses a quality young man. He played hard for the Miners and my memory of his play will always be his competitiveness. He was the backbone for the Miners for many years and will always have my respect.
Thank you boys. I know it did not end the way we wanted it to, but please know that this game is made of individuals that have incredible heart and a passion for one of the toughest games on the planet. You can not play this game unless you are a little bit crazy and love the battles inherent in box lacrosse. This game is not for the timid. I am proud to have coached you.
Done 2 to 0 in the best of five series to the Okotoks Raiders has pushed the Titans Junior A team to the brink. Game 3 goes tonight at the Strathcona Olympiette Centre (SOC) at 8 PM. The first two games were close, but that rings hollow when the only thing that matters at this time of the year is wins. Poor starts hurt us in Games 1 and 2. That has to be fixed tonight and hopefully the home floor works to our advantage. The season has been an improvement from last year, but our goal is to get to the finals of the league championship. It starts with one win and then we can go from there. Look forward to seeing everyone out at the SOC tonight.
Home today after a week of lacrosse in Denver with the Edmonton Razorbacks. This video sums it up, just a very cool experience, probably one of the best lacrosse events I have ever been to. More to come.
The trade deadline came and passed. Last year we were sellers and this year buyers. We felt with some additions we could make some noise in the playoffs. We picked up five players from the Miners and now the pressure is squarely on us to put up or shut up. Our ability to challenge the Raiders and Mounties has improved, but it only matters if we can make it happen on the floor. The five players (Scott Kavalinas, Adam Wild, Nik Farrus, Ethan Anderson and Drew Deans) definitely are talented players. How they help us will be dependent on how quickly they mesh with team to create some cohesion. This weekend will be the test as we face the Raiders and Mounties at home in the final two games of the regular season. Playoffs around the corner.
Fourteen games in and the record is 7 wins and 7 losses. Can beat the Miners, can not beat the Mounties and we go toe to toe with the Raiders. And now as the Raiders and Mounties add players from the BC Junior A League our task has stepped up in difficulty. One thng is certain, we will be successful if we can play team defense and get our offense in rhythm. One thing is also certain, a parade to the penalty box will mean an early exit from the playoffs. This last weekend was a lesson for us. After playing shorthanded all game against the Raiders, ending the game with 14 runners and winning in overtime, we were an exhausted team the next day against the Mounties. Not how you want to play against the top ranked team in the province. It would be safe to say that the loss on Sunday started with our terrible composure on Saturday. Will we learn? Will we improve? Will we compete. Four games left in the regular season. What team shows up in the playoffs?
Check out below to watch the OT game against the Raiders.