The rivalry took years off, but it clearly hadn't cooled any.
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Eric Chevrier from the Moose Jaw Chiefs, centre, fights for a loose ball with Logan Byrd, left, and Dwayne Benkovic, right, from the Regina Heat in senior box lacrosse action Saturday.
The Moose Jaw Chiefs faced some old foes from Regina and prevailed with a 13-9 win over the Heat in a feisty box lacrosse battle.
"I think Regina was looking to play us for about 10 years and we finally got a team together. We knew it was going to be a close game and it was," said Steve Michaluk from the Chiefs.
The win keeps the Chiefs' unbeaten record intact in their first season of senior men's box lacrosse.
"We weren't sure what our potential was. We knew we had some pretty good lacrosse experience, but it's nice to put it together," said Michaluk. "It's good to see the outcomes so far, but it's a long season yet and we have plenty of work to do."
The intensity picked up a few notches in the middle of the second period when Regina's Jason Berger picked up a cross-checking major for a hit in the middle of the floor. That led to melee which resulted in two players from each side being ejected. When the dust settled the Chiefs had a full five-minute power play, with the first two those minutes a five-on-three.
The Chiefs scored twice thanks to Pete Jukes and extended their lead to 7-3.
"Pete Jukes came up big for us on that. When you get a seven-minute power play you need to capitalize. We have to get at least two. We really want more, but you need to get at least two," said Michaluk.
The out-of-town officiating crew was having a hard time keeping a lid on the emotions and the Heat players were increasingly frustrated by the one-sided nature of the penalties.
"We had a bit of a lead so I think they were probably a little frustrated," said Michaluk. "They had a couple of calls that maybe didn't go their way possibly and then we took advantage. We didn't take an unsportsmanlike call all night, so that's a testament to the boys for keeping their heads in check."
Moose Jaw used their power play to build their lead. The Chiefs were 6-for-12 on the power play and Regina was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
The Chiefs were ahead 9-3 after the second period and were up 11-4 and were turning the game into a rout. The Heat weren't going to quit. They were trailing 12-6 when they scored three goals in a minute with five minutes left to cut the lead in half and make the Chiefs nervous.
"We have an issue in the third period of running out legs," said Michaluk. "That's two games in a row, so we need to address that. It's a hot arena and it's a long floor and we're not getting any younger."
The Chiefs didn't also have the depth on their bench that they would normally have.
"We were short-handed. We had a couple of guys who couldn't make it before the game and then we lost a few during the game — one to injury and a couple of guys got thrown out. The bench showed a lot of heart to keep it going," said Michaluk.
As the Chiefs built their lead, their goalie Sheldon Paul made some big saves to keep the score comfortable and made more key saves late in the third period.
"Our goaltender Sheldon had a great game back there for us. He played against Estevan and this was his first big test and he rose to the occasion," said Michaluk.
Jukes finished with two goals and added an assist. Carter Davis had two goals and six assists, Jeff Kitts also scored twice and had three assists, Michaluk and Mitch Adams each had two goals and two assists and Taylor Dobrescu had two goals and an assist. Tanner Kittler also scored and added two assists.
The teams meet again Wednesday in Regina.