The Rockyview junior B Silvertips lacrosse team are in the home stretch of their regular season after they split a pair of games on July 6 and 8.
The first game for the Silvertips took place on the road in Olds when the team took on the Mavericks. Rockyview jumped out to an early 3-1 lead on goals by Nolan Oakey, Matthew Dyck and Colby Gulutzan, but Olds tied the game at three with just over half the period remaining. The remainder of the first was back-and-forth with the teams trading goals and Rockyview scoring late in the frame off the sticks of Ryan Gulutzan and Josh Halcro to push the ‘Tips lead to 5-4 heading into the second period. In the second frame, the visitors took over the contest scoring five of the next six goals from Dyck, Oakey Patrick Morrow, Carson Gron and Logan Ellis, extending the lead to 10-5. The Silvertips could have run away with the game were taking shot after shot on the Mavericks goaltender. Heading into the third with a comfortable five goal lead, the Silvertips scored twice more early in the period before Olds went on a four-goal run late to give the game its final score of 12-9.
The Silvertips had the next day off before returning home to face the first place Red Deer Rampage, a team that has only lost twice this season with one of those games coming at the hands of the hometown box lacrosse heroes on April 29 when Rockyview took a very close 11-10 victory.
This match up however, did not go as planned from the get-go. The Silvertips couldn’t find their legs early in the game as they allowed Red Deer to score less than 15 seconds in and four times within the first six minutes of the game giving the Rampage a very early 4-0 lead. Nolan Oakey responded at the 12:41 mark of the period to cut the lead down to three heading into the second period. Matthew Dyck cut the Rampage lead in half with a goal midway through the second but the remainder of the period went to Red Deer, who scored three goals in the final six minutes including an even strength goal with 20 seconds remaining in the frame, making the score 7-2 with one period to go. The Rampage continued their goal scoring spree in the third, generating three more goals running their lead to 10-2 within a span of three minutes of the period. Rockyview scored the game’s final two goals when Colby Gulutzan and Josh Halcro found the back of the net, but it was too little to late as the game ended with a 10-4 score in favour of Red Deer.
Rockyview defender Christian Scott who has five goals and three assists in 15 games on the year said splitting games is not something the team should be content with doing.
“Obviously, we cannot be satisfied with the results of the second game. We played well against Olds and to come back and not carry those results over isn’t good for us,” Scott said.
“We’re going into playoffs in a couple games and we’re really trying to build some momentum for a good playoff run … so the results of the game against Red Deer were disappointing.”
With the Silvertips beating Red Deer early in the year, Scott said his team isn’t intimidated by a Rampage team that has only lost twice on the year.
“Being one of the only teams to beat them gives us confidence for sure,” Scott said.
“Red Deer is a well coached team with a lot of skilled players. It just shows how tough we are to beat when we’re playing our game and outworking other teams.”
With playoffs just around the corner, the Rockyview dressing room certainly has a different feel to it than last year. A season ago, the Silvertips were playing out the remainder of their schedule without a chance to make the playoffs, where as this year, the ‘Tips are firmly planted in second place of the Central Division.
“It’s a lot different. There’s a different energy from the guys knowing playoffs are around the corner and it’s getting everyone in the room very excited,” said Scott.
“Guys are looking forward to competing for a championship and you can feel it in the atmosphere.”
“The ways we’ll have success is when we work harder than any other team. We need to run out in transition and tire out our opponents. If we do that, then we have all the tools to make this a successful playoff run.”
The Silvertips only have a pair of games remaining in the regular season against the Okotoks Marauders on July 13 and the Edmonton Warriors on July 15. Scott believes if his team does all the little things right, they should be able to come out with a pair of victories.
“They’re both very physical teams, so we have to beat them in that aspect of the game,” said Scott.
“After we do that, we just have to trust in executing our systems correctly and we’ll be successful. Plus having some momentum heading into playoffs doesn’t hurt either.”