Minto Cup Thoughts – Videos

Posted: August 25, 2011 by Paul Rai in Alberta Lacrosse, Box Lacrosse, Junior A Lacrosse, Minto Cup, The Lacrosse Program, Video
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The Lacrosse Program is back at school this week.  We start early because of our modified calendar.  The earlier start allows us to have a one week Fall Break and a two week Spring Break.  It is great when it is Spring, but when we are in school in August when others still have two weeks of holidays we shake our heads.  The one positive is that yesterday we took close to 40 students, staff and parents to the Minto Cup on a field trip to watch the Edmonton Eclipse take on the Whitby Warriors and the Okotoks Raiders play the Coquitlam Adanacs.

We have a few alumni playing on the Eclipse (Cole Sheen, Kirby Zdrill and Darren Bourret) and one on the Raiders (Kevin Pym)  We also have a former staff member playing on the Raiders (Travis Comeau).  So for our young players it was an opportunity to see where some of their predecessors had moved on to.

We were well aware of the strength of the Ontario and BC teams and we all went in expecting good games.  We also knew that it was going to be very tough for the Alberta teams to win, but there was some hope.  Unfortunately the results showed that Ontario and BC were playing statement games.  Statement games to say they were going to play in the Finals and maybe another statement to the country that Alberta still has to improve in several ways before they can seriously challenge in the Minto.  The Eclipse needed a win just to give them a mathematical chance to make the playoffs.  At the least they wanted to give Ontario a game to prove they can play with the best in the country.  With the Eclipse losing 19 – 3 to Whitby and the Raiders losing 12 to 1 to Coquitlam the message was sent loud and clear.  Add in the fact that Whitby beat Okotoks in the round robin 17 to 7 and 8 to 4 in the semi final game, there is some serious work required at the Junior A level in Alberta.  I do have to give credit where credit is due and Okotoks gave Whitby a game in the semi final making it 5 to 4  and going into the third only down 6 to 4.  In a one game playoff anything can happen and it almost did tonight.  I don’t believe this changes the overall assessment of Alberta’s ability to compete.

What I saw was a significant skill level difference between what BC and Ontario had to offer when compared to what Alberta was playing with.  I also saw that skill difference was evident at the defensive level, Ontario especially, was able to transition the ball with ease and create scoring opportunities.  Ontario and BC have more depth and play with an older lineup.  Whitby boasts NCAA Division I players such as Mark Matthews, Daniel Litner, Zach Palmer, Chad Tutton and Mark Cockerton.  They also have John Lafontaine on their roster, a pro player with the Edmonton Rush.  I would argue that Whitby’s top defensive line may be better than what the Alberta teams are able to throw out on their first power play unit.

I was able to catch some offensive highlights of Whitby so I will let you decide on their skill level.  There are two videos.  The first has several highlights.  The second video is a 60 second shift I caught of Whitby on the power play and then 5 on 5.  What was incredible was the ball control, the fakes, the passes and the finish.  The audio track for the video is Sweet Georgia Brown, which I found to be fitting.  I love skilled lacrosse and even though they took it to Alberta, I have to applaud such incredible skill.  It was fun to watch.  Please watch that second video, it is good!!!!

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