Toll delivers for Miners
Edmonton Rush player packs offensive punch in senior B playoffs
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 06:00 am
It’s been a rush for Jarrett Toll playing for the St. Albert Miners.
The National Lacrosse League player is the top playmaker in the playoffs with 16 assists in six games, and is second in points with 22 in his first stint with the senior B team.
“I’m getting to play some offence so it’s a lot of fun for me. I’m used to playing defence with the Langley Thunder and the Edmonton Rush so it’s different but really good,” Toll said.
The former runner with the junior A New Westminster Salmonbellies and senior A Thunder joined the Miners in July after his second season with the Rush. In four games with the Miners he scored five goals and added five assists.
“I played with [Miners’ sniper] Graedon Cornfield back in junior in New West and the last two summers I’ve been in Edmonton he said if I ever needed a team to play for the door is always open. I stayed in Edmonton for the full summer so I gave him a call and that was that,” Toll said. “It’s been great. It’s a good bunch of guys. It’s been a pretty successful season for the team so far.”
The Maple Ridge, B.C. product is impressed by the quality of senior B lacrosse in Alberta.
“There are a lot of good players. The top 10 or so on each team are A quality players,” he said.
During the 2010/11 season Toll spent his second semester at the University of Alberta doing double duty with the Golden Bears and the Rush after playing 274 games in five Western Hockey League seasons as a defenceman for the Tri-City Americans.
Toll, 23, was able to continue his lacrosse career after the Rush selected the former Tri-City captain in the fifth round, 48th overall, in the 2010 NLL entry draft.
“I happened to be playing hockey for the Bears in Edmonton and my junior A coach, Dan Perreault, knew some people in the Rush organization and said I was going to be living here. They had a late pick and they didn’t really know who to use it on so they gave me a chance and ended up taking me and it’s worked out,” said the Miners’ assistant captain.
The 2012 Rush campaign marked the first season Toll didn’t play hockey.
“It was a little different having to keep my fitness up without being on the ice every day. I had to get used to that but it was nice just being able to commit to the one sport. I really enjoyed it,” he said.
Toll struck twice and had one assist in 16 league games, and in the playoffs scored once for the Champions’ Cup finalists. Last year he potted two goals in eight games in his Rush debut.
“I had a new role this year taking face-offs. I haven’t really done that since my novice or peewee days but they stuck with me through the rough parts at the beginning and I got more comfortable as the year went on,” Toll said. “Taking face-offs, defence and running the ball up the floor were basically my roles with the Rush.”
Toll quickly discovered professional lacrosse is a demanding sport.
“You have to prepare for every single game knowing you can’t afford to blow one and that’s pretty valuable experience,” he said. “Playing 16 games a year, the wins are huge. Once you get into the playoffs, a single game knock-out, the intensity gets even better.”
The playoff run by the Rush to the final was a pleasant surprise after placing fourth at 6-10 in the five-team west standings. The Rush knocked off the Calgary Roughnecks 19-11 in the divisional semifinals, overpowered the Minnesota Swarm 15-3 in the divisional finals and lost 9-6 to the Rochester Knighthawks in the final.
“We started off kind of slow but we really caught fire at the end and did really well in the playoffs. We beat Calgary, who beat us all year, and then we went in and dominated Minnesota pretty good,” Toll said. “In the championship game we were up 5-1 at the half and things were looking good but apparently we couldn’t hold it together. We ended up blowing that one but it was still a good learning experience.”
Senior B final
Toll still has another crack at a championship, although it’s a longshot with the Miners in their bid for a provincial three-peat. Last weekend in Airdrie they lost in overtime 8-7 and 10-9 to the first-place Rockyview Knights in the best-of-five final.
“They were both really close games and both could’ve gone either way. The last game was a little unfortunate because they had too many men on the floor when they scored [in OT],” Toll said of the only goal in the 10-minute extra period with 7:32 to play. “At the same time we had so many chances that we just couldn’t capitalize on.”
Game three was played Friday at Grant Fuhr Arena in Spruce Grove, but the score was unavailable at press time.
If needed, game four goes today at 4 p.m. in Spruce Grove and game five is Sunday at 4 p.m. at Ron Ebbesen Arena in Airdrie.
The Miners’ home floor at Northstar Hyundai Arena is unavailable because ice is being installed.
The winner advances to the Presidents’ Cup national championship, Aug 27 to Sept. 3 in Spruce Grove.
“We’re just focusing on Friday night, start with a win there, and then go from there,” Toll said.