Midgets earn bronze at provincials; Pee Wees enjoy a winning end to tournament
The Moose Jaw Bantam Mustangs achieved a lot this season, but came up just short of repeating as provincial champions.
© submitted photograph
The Moose Jaw Midget Mustangs won bronze medals at the Saskatchewan Lacrosse Festival this past weekend.
The local box lacrosse team lost the provincial final 10-4 to the Regina Honey Badgers Sunday in Regina.
"It was a stellar finish to the year these past three weeks," said Bantam Mustangs coach Chad Morash whose team was second at the Canada Day tournament in Calgary just before the start of provincials. "At our first practice of the season we laid out our goals and as defending champions we really wanted to make a good run again. The Calgary tournament is fine, but it really means something to win the province."
The Mustangs were a perfect 12-0 in the Queen City Minor Box Lacrosse League. They defeated the Regina Titans 8-7 in the provincial semifinal. In pool play they defeated Estevan 14-2 and the Saskatoon Mammoth 8-7, but lost 9-4 to the Honey Badgers.
Each team at provincials is able to add three runners and another goalie for a maximum of 20 players on their roster.
"The Regina teams and the Saskatoon teams come to provincials loaded pretty good," said Morash. "We were pretty much at our limit anyway and we decided to run it just with our kids. We knew we were going to be in contention. We did well. We really had to fight to get to the gold medal game. That game against the Titans was a one-goal game and it was really back-and-forth and a well-played game."
The Mustangs put together a great weekend and finished second at the Canada Day tournament in Calgary for the second straight year. The lost the final 13-7 to the Vancouver Junior Stealth.
"It's a really high-level tournament and there's teams from across North America there," said Morash. "The Junior Stealth were a select team with all second-year players. Three of our top players were with Team Sask. that weekend so we picked up four players from Regina, but otherwise it was all our players."
The Mustangs won their other four games, which was a pretty good feat on its own and Morash said that they went to the tournament to challenge their players and were happy with how they responded.
"They play lacrosse in B.C. like we play hockey. They play 11 months of the year. These are pure lacrosse teams, so for us to even compete in the final is great for our kids," he said. "We were right with them for a couple of periods and then we ran out of legs. Being all second-years against half first-years makes a difference too. There's a big difference between kids who are 12 and who are 14 years old."
While it would have been great to win their final game of the season, Morash couldn't have been prouder of his Mustangs and the season they put together.
"We had a strong club and everyone contributed," he said. "Our second years really stepped up with the leadership and we had a huge commitment from the kids too. They really committed to playing for the team and not as individuals. If some guys were coming up short one game other guys would step in. It was a well-balanced team."
Two other local teams took part at the Saskatchewan Lacrosse Festival.
The Midget Mustangs defeated the Prince Albert Bandits 9-2 to finish third in their age division.
Nathan McKenna scored four goals and Branden Klatt scored once and added three assists for the Mustangs. Derlan Pratt, Ben Helland, Dylan Jones and Dalton Naskathey also scored for Moose Jaw.
Six players from Moose Jaw and eight from Prince Albert received game misconducts late in the second period which led to the game being cut short.
Derlan Pratt scored a hat trick as the Mustangs beat the Saskatoon Mavericks 7-6. Jones scored with 25 seconds left to earn the win for the Mustangs and put them in the bronze medal game.
The Mustangs lost 5-4 to the Regina Rampage, they lost 8-2 to the Regina Rush and 5-3 to the Bandits earlier in the tournament.
The Pee Wee Mustangs lost 8-4 to the Regina Stealth, 6-3 to the Prince Albert Predators and 5-4 to the eventual champion Saskatoon Rush in pool play. In their crossover game they beat the Estevan Cobras 8-2 to finish their season with a win.
Against Estevan Kael Nichols scored twice, while Jayden Nash Wilson, Atley Calbert and Ethan Peters each had a goal and an assist.
Kirkland Mullen and Zachary Berardi also scored. Rowan Calvert, Ethan Johnson and Piper Ingalls each added an assist.