Archive for the ‘Minto Cup’ Category

What will 2014 bring this lacrosse season?  Will the Rush bring a playoff game back home?  Will Canada take the World Field Championships in July?  What will the Minto Cup look like this summer?  Who will reign supreme in the NCAA college lacrosse season?  The lacrosse season for 2014 has begun.  Did you know that there are some Division I scrimmages scheduled for the end of January?  I have no idea how much fun that would be if there snow was flying, but the season is just weeks away.  I hope your 2014 lacrosse season is a great one.  Even if the wins do not pile up, go out, pick up your stick and enjoy the opportunity to play this great game.  Vimy Lacrosse will be going hard again in five days and our recruitment for the 2014/15 year now starts.  I am looking forward to working with the next great group of student-athletes.  Have a great 2014. 

 

 

 

 

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Mark Matthews, a no brainer as the the Number 1 pick overall in the NLL draft, is now a member of the Edmonton Rush.  It would have been a difficult pill to swallow if Edmonton had given up the right to Matthews, since he is regarded as the best prospect in several years.  Matthews can play and he wins.  He has won two Minto Cups and played college field lacrosse for Denver University.  One thing is for sure, Matthews bring offense to a team that needs it.  The defense is solid and adding Matthews will be a huge boost to the offensive output of the team.  Here is a sampling of his pro field season that he played last year for the Denver Outlaws in the Major Lacrosse League.

The Whitby Warriors win the Minto Cup after being down 1 to 0 in games.  They win a tight Game 2 and then pull away in Game 3 to take the National Championship.  Credit goes to Derek Keenan for going to Zack Higgins in Game 2.  Higgins was the difference in the series as he made numerous spectacular saves to keep his team in the game.  Keenan also deserves credit for figuring out Coquitlam’s offensive tendencies and taking away the rhythm that the Adanacs had in Game 1.  I was able to see the first two games live, but was forced to watch the webcast for the last game.  Not the greatest commentating I have heard on a lacrosse game.  The announcers definitely need to work on their game knowledge.  As least the video feed was better than the round robin games.

The entire Final Series showed the lacrosse community how skilled the top junior players are in Canada.  It was a pleasure to travel to Okotoks and watch the games with the family.  The atmosphere was excellent and the tempo of the game was breathtaking.  A big complaint I do have was the time of the final game on Sunday.  An 8:00 PM on Sunday night definitely hurt the crowd size.  That is something they need to fix in the future.

I was able to catch some video of the second game.  The video is broken down by period.  Enjoy the skill and action.  Also enjoy the goaltending, it was exceptional.

Period 1

Period 2

Period 3

The Minto Cup will go to Game 3 as the Whitby Warriors extend the series with a 5 to 4 win.  Great goaltending and tough defense on both sides.   Below you will find video of the game winning goal from Mark Matthews and the last minute of the game. More highlights to come tomorrow.  I am still working on finding a way to stay for Game 3.  May be out of luck.

Not a great game for Whitby last night as they lost to Coquitlam 12 to 9.  The started off well up 2 to 1, but they were never sharp dropping balls, making bad decisions and just out of sync.  Their vaunted power play was not firing and Coquitlam had them second guessing every pass.  Add in the fact that Whitby lost their composure several times in the game and you know why Coquitlam is up 1 game in the Minto Cup Finals.  If Whitby has a chance they need to get Mark Matthews going and they need to step up defensively against Coquitlam’s offensive stars.  In terms of coaching the edge has to go to Coquitlam’s Malawsky as he controlled every facet of Coquitlam’s game.  After the game the coaches started chirping with each other so you know emotions are running high.  Derek Keenan is a good coach and he needs to get his Whitby team ready to play.  There was no sense of urgency in their game and that definitely needs to change.

Some highlights of last nights game.

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!!!!

Highlights from Game 4 of the Semi Finals between Six Nations and Whitby.  Whitby won the series 4 games to 2 and are now tied in the Finals series 1 to 1 with Orangeville.  Watching these highlights the question will come up with respect to Alberta’s ability to play against the top Ontario and BC teams.  These two teams can play and the ball movement is exceptional.  The Minto Cup is being held in Calgary and two Alberta teams are already in, the host Okotoks Raiders and the Edmonton Eclipse.   One thing for sure, the tempo will be high and maybe this year Alberta can knock off the big boys.