Estevan Lacrosse has attained another milestone: the first provincial medal in its history.
The Power Dodge bantam Voltz teamed up with the Weyburn Threshers to win bronze at the provincial tournament in Saskatoon on July 7. They defeated the Saskatoon Beavers 9-8 in the bronze medal game.
“It feels like we won the gold,” said coach Dion Wagstaff.
The team was about half-and-half with Estevan and Weyburn kids. The joint entry opened with a 7-6 loss to the Prince Albert Smoke Jumpers, but recovered to win twice: 10-2 over the Saskatoon Thunder and 9-6 over Standing Buffalo. Then they lost 7-6 to the Swift Current Rampage.
“We moved the ball well and charged and pretty hard,” said Wagstaff. “We played solid defence and the goaltender really held us into the games, and gave us a chance and we capitalized on our chances.”
The bronze medal game was a dogfight, he said, with the teams trading goals and trying to gain momentum.
“We let them slide in and gave them a chance, but in the end our key guys stepped up, and our backend guys, guys that are really working and driving down low to open up some chances for us were really just playing their role,” said Wagstaff. “Everybody played their role well.”
Wagstaff noted that before the medal round games, the southeast team watched a junior A game together, and watching those players, and the speed of the game really amplified how they played.
“They brought that to the floor and really, really set out to what they needed to do. They were way faster than they were earlier in the tournament, and everything just got more amped up … and they just kept going and going and going.”
In the bronze medal game, the southeast team trailed 3-1 after the first period, but outscored the Beavers 5-1 in the second to lead 6-4.
While the Beavers pulled within a goal several times in the third, they never mustered the tying goal.
Nathan Wagstaff had four goals in the bronze medal game. Chase Foord and Samuel Borschowa eached scored twice. Zack McGillicky had the other goal.
Nathan Wagstaff was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
A lot of the Weyburn players played with Estevan back before Weyburn started its association, so the Estevan players knew their Weyburn counterparts in advance. They fit in well, coach Wagstaff said, and they enjoyed playing with each other.
The Estevan MNP midget Voltz also teamed up with the Weyburn Thureshers for their provincial tournament.
They opened the tournament with a 6-3 win over the Swift Current Rampage, lost 11-0 to the Regina Attack, 7-2 to the Saskatoon Seals, and 7-5 to the Swift Current Rampage to finish 1-3.
Coach Bert Blondeau noted they had 14 first-year players on the team; 11 of the newcomers to midget were from Estevan and three were from Weyburn.
The remaining five players on the team were second-year athletes.
“Knowing that we were going against the best teams in the province, we knew it was going to be a tough weekend. I think we performed well,” said Blondeau.
The midget Voltz played well defensively, as they changed their strategy and tried to play a zone defence.
“I think that worked quite well for our young team,” said Blondeau.
But they could have used more offence, as they didn’t score enough in the weekend with just 13 goals in four games.
Blondeau believes the Weyburn players fit in nicely. They only practised four times before provincials, and didn’t have everyone out for those sessions due to school and vacations.
“I thought we gelled pretty well. Everybody got along, and everybody had a pretty good time. Everybody had a lot of fun.”
The Estevan Regens Metals peewee Voltz went 1-3 at the tournament, dropping an 11-2 decision to the Swift Current Rampage, 12-9 to the Saskatoon Sharks and 11-3 to the Moose Jaw Mustangs, before recovering to beat the Saskatoon Blazers 12-7 in their final game.