Archive for the ‘Junior B Lacrosse’ Category

titans logo2With just over three weeks until the Junior A season starts and only two weeks until the Junior B season begins, decisions need to be made on the Titans Junior A team.  With our close connection with the Junior B Titans as a development team it is important that we make players available for that program.  That means decisions are around the corner.  We still have a handful of players away at school in the US, so we need to balance having a roster of players for camp and ensuring the Junior B team has sufficient numbers.  Our advantage is that our strong alignment with the Junior B Titans enables us to have players available for affiliation purposes.

What we have been able to surmise after a year is that alignment with a Junior B team has some distinct advantages.  Our strategy is to develop those alignments with the minor lacrosse associations in Sherwood Park and close to the Park to keep the pipeline of players flowing to the Junior A Titans.  It is extremely important to build the Junior A Titans brand so young players want to play at the Junior A level.

It has been a competitive camp and with a strong  group of young players the future is looking bright for the Titans program, both in Junior A and B.  With youth at the Junior B level and experience players coming into the A program we can continue to build the entire Junior program in Sherwood Park.

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A low quality video of some high quality Edmonton lacrosse players winning the Founders Cup in 1999 for the Edmonton Miners organization.  These players were some of the most talented lacrosse players Northern Alberta had ever produced, with many moving on to play in Junior A leagues in BC and Ontario.   A few guys on the list even went on to play in the NLL. I had the chance to play with many of these guys as they moved into the Senior ranks and many of them contributed to the Outlaws winning two Senior B National Championships.

It was a great season that ended a little too early.  The Titans Junior B team had a good run, winning the North Division before meeting a very strong and physical Calgary Mounties team.  The youth of the Titans showed as the team did not maintain the composure and discipline required to win a championship.  The energy and desire was clearly evident, but the pressure the Mounties put on the Titans was too much.  The result should not lessen the accomplishments of the Titans team.  The strides the team made this year was remarkable and was a testament to the plan that was put forward a few years ago by Russ Sheppard.  It would have been unbelievable to have the opportunity to travel to Six Nations for the National Championships, but it was not to be.

As one of the coaches of the team, I am extremely proud of the players and how hard they worked this year.  Box lacrosse is one of the toughest sports to play.  It is a sport that pushes a person physically and mentally.  There is a fine line between a legal and illegal play, making the game almost controlled chaos.  There is no place to hide in the game, as you need to go to the tough areas inside to penetrate the defence.  The game is played in stifling heat and when I looked at the players at the end of the game yesterday, I saw exhaustion and pain.  You need to be a true warrior to play the game and the Titans players are warriors.  They battled, they played their hearts out and they cared.  You cannot ask for more.

It was a tough ending, not just because the team lost, but because for a few that was their last game of junior lacrosse.  I could see the disappointment and tears in their faces.  For others, other things in life will pull them from the game.   And there will be others that move on to other lacrosse teams.  For me, it was emotionally difficult.  The ups and downs of the game are difficult to handle at times and even though I have coached for many years, I get attached to the players.  I wanted the kids to be successful and not reaching our target is heart breaking.

Thank you to all the players, the parents, the fans, the team staff and all those in the Titans organization that made this season successful.  There are a lot of people around the team that do so much to help the kids have a great season and your quiet work is deeply appreciated by the entire team.  Thank you for allowing me to work with your sons, it is always a treat to work with good lacrosse players and quality young men.

The Junior B playoffs, across the country, are winding down and the Founders Cup is only two weeks away.  Alberta and Ontario playoffs are now at the semi-final stages.  In Alberta the Sherwood Park Titans are playing Red Deer in one semi and the Calgary Mounties are taking on the Calgary Shamrocks in the other semi.  In Ontario, the Clarington Green Gaels are down 2 games to 1 to Akwesasne and Wallaceburg leads Six Nations 2 games to 1.  The Ontario series are best of five series.  Here is some video from Clarington’s Game 3 win over Akwesasne.  Great Junior B lacrosse is happening all over Canada.

Last night the Sherwood Park Titans defeated the St. Albert Crude to take the first round of the RMLL Junior B playoffs.  The Titans swept the best of three series in two games.  The first game was a 12 – 3 victory and last night was a 10 – 4 win.  Both games were physical affairs with last night being an extremely rough game.  There is very little love between the two teams and the Crude play a hard hitting brand of lacrosse.  They are led by Erik Turner, a Vimy Lacrosse alum and a current lacrosse player at Cornell University.  Of the seven goals that the Crude scored in the series he was in on six of them with 3 goals and 3 assists.  The Titans were able to limit the damage that Turner was able to do and that was a key part of the series victory.  The Titans success in the series was due to the excellent team defense and goaltending that enabled the ball to get to the hands of the offense.  It was a true team effort.

This was the first playoff series win for the Titans in a few years and it was nice to see the kids get rewarded for their hard work and dedication throughout the season.  There have been some lean years so last night`s win was huge for the organization.  The next step is the semi-finals either against Red Deer or Saskatoon.  What ever the opponent the Titans know the series will be difficult, and if not prepared to play, the season could be over fast.  It has been a great ride so far and now the team is just trying to extend the season a little bit longer.  The series win was awesome, but the players are far from satisfied.  Looking forward to more playoff action next weekend.

The Sherwood Park Titans Junior B team has been slow out of the gate, but is starting to pick up some steam.  The record for the team is 2 -3 -1 with four of the first six games being played against a strong Saskatoon SWAT team.  This past weekend the SWAT visited Sherwood Park where the Titans got a victory and a tie.  SWAT is a big and physical team that have some very good athletic players on the offensive end.  In the first game the Titans manhandled a tired SWAT team 14 – 5, but the second day SWAT rose to the challenge and scored two late goals to earn the 10 – 10 tie.

There is definitely a lot of work ahead for the Titans as they still need to come together as a team. With recent additions Darren Zwack and Matt Pick the team is almost all back together.  There are still one or two missing pieces that need to be added to make this team more competitive.  For the most part, there has been progress, but more work is required, specifically in our offensive sets.

On the team there are nine current and former Vimy Lacrosse students.  Three other Vimy students are currently affiliated with the team. It’s great to see the students growing as lacrosse players and making significant contributions to the Titans team.

Here are some brief highlights from our game against the SWAT from this past Sunday.

Good day yesterday as the Sherwood Park Titans won their opening game of the Junior B Season and then the team went to the Saddledome in Calgary to watch the Edmonton Rush stun the Calgary Roughnecks in the opening playoff game.  The team had great seats by the Rush bench and the boys were more than willing to stir the pro-Calgary crown up.  As the game got out of hand on the Roughnecks the Titans players were there to high five, yell scream and just fist pump every positive play by the Rush.  Not to mention they yelled every time Jimmy Quinlan made a play on the floor.  They were pretty pumped up when he scored and not only did he score, but he had to pat the head of the Roughnecks player as he raised his arms in celebration.  Click here to see the goal and the celebration.  Typical Jimmy Quinlan celebration.  Would not expect anything less than that.

It was a great day for Jimmy as he and his wife welcomed a new daughter into the world and then he went down and beat the Roughnecks.  There had to be a lot of adrenaline in the body and he played a great game at both ends of the floor.  A person can go to a lot of sporting events and not see a great game and then there is one game that is magical.  This was one of those games.  The Rush, having been beat handily by the Roughnecks all season, come in and steal one.  Everything that made the Roughnecks good suddenly was lost.  Their goaltending was below average and their offence was off target.  The calm they displayed during the season was replaced with fear.  The entire Roughnecks were rattled and in the end it led to their downfall.

Here is some video of Jimmy on defence and some of the Titans players whooping it up in the stands.