Miners extract 10th win
Senior B lacrosse team undefeated with six games to go before the playoffs
Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 06:00 am
The St. Albert Miners are constructing an undefeated season one game at a time.
The 10th win in a row for the senior B lacrosse team was a workmanlike 8-4 effort against the defending provincial champion Calgary Mountaineers on Sunday at Northstar Hyundai Arena.
“We just outworked them today,” said attacker Jordan Cornfield. “As a whole we played really well. We were firing on all cylinders. We were moving the ball well and our defence played awesome. Matty (Hiebert) our goalie played unbelievable too.”
The Miners have six games remaining before the playoff round starts to determine the Alberta reps at the Presidents’ Cup, hosted by the Tri-City Bandits, Aug. 25 to 29 in Coquitlam, B.C.
“Our record looks very good but to us that doesn’t matter. It’s all about building every game and building our defence and offence,” Cornfield said. “It’s nice to win but that’s just an after product of us building our systems every game.”
The remaining games are split evenly between the Edmonton Outlaws (4-6), last year’s provincial finalists which the Miners beat 9-6 last month in St. Albert and 17-14 Friday at Bill Hunter Arena, and the winless Spruce Grove Slash.
“It’s great where we are right now but we’ve got to keep pushing. We can’t let it get over our heads,” Hiebert said. “We’ve got six more games left and we’ve got to keep battling every game. We can’t look ahead to the playoffs. We’ve got to take it one game at a time.”
Sunday’s decision also completed a 6-0 series sweep of the three southern teams – Rockyview Knights of Airdrie, Okotoks Raiders and the Mountaineers – in the Rocky Mountain circuit.
“That’s something we’ve never done before so that was a huge victory mentally for us,” Cornfield said.
The previous weekend the Miners toppled the Mountaineers 13-7 in Calgary by outscoring the fourth-place finishers at the 2013 President’s Cup 7-3 in the third period.
“This was a better game to win. We came out a little too easy the last time against them but today we played harder,” said Cornfield, 31.
Hiebert agreed with the veteran Miner.
“It was a way better effort by our team,” said the netminder in both wins against the Mountaineers.
“We got into a little penalty trouble more in this game than the last game but we overcame it and in the third period we took the game away,” added Hiebert, who didn’t allow a goal after the visitors pulled to within one at 5-4 during four-on-four action with 2:19 left in Sunday’s middle frame. “We knew we had to shut it down and keep the game tight so we could progress once the penalties were done.”
The Miners had a point to prove after their sloppy showing against the Outlaws despite turning a 5-5 stalemate after the first into a 16-9 advantage entering the third.
“We didn't play so good on Friday so we knew we had to turn up today and it was a good hard battle for us to win,” Hiebert said. “I know I didn’t do so good that game so I had to come out and play the best game I could too.”
Hiebert, 23, was the reason why the Miners didn’t bury themselves under an avalanche of penalties. The Mountaineers tallied only once with the man advantage despite numerous opportunities with Miners in the penalty box.
“I would say this is probably my best performance this year but I’ve got to give credit to the team too. Our defence played great. They made me look good today,” said Hiebert, the starting netminder in more than half of the team’s games this year.
The product of the Nanaimo Timbermen moved to Alberta in his final year of junior and played for the junior A Miners. He was then drafted by the Slash but was granted his release in order to try out for the senior B Miners last year.
Hiebert joins all-star Dave Marrese, the former Edmonton Rush practice goalie, and affiliate Leland Labrecque as the Miners’ shot blockers.
“I’m getting more of a shot this year. I’m getting more confidence as every game goes by and I’m learning lots. Vay (Diep), the coach, has helped me out a lot. He’s given me the opportunities to play and get better. He’s not given up on me at all,” said Hiebert, owner of Mattadoor residential and commercial garage door services.
In the opening 20 minutes Graedon Cornfield tallied twice and Nick Petz also connected after the Mountaineers struck 74 seconds into the match.
In the second Jordan Cornfield made it 4-1 with a shorthanded marker and closed out the period with a slick shot to put the Miners up by two at 6-4 with 1.3 on the clock after the team called a timeout with 6.1 to go.
“It was a designed play. It was going to one of the corners with either Nate (Schmidt, the captain) or myself shooting,” said Jordan, a noted sniper who was welcomed back to the lineup with open arms after missing the first six games with a broken finger.
The older of the two Cornfield brothers also has more pro experience (18 goals in 22 National Lacrosse League games with the Rush and Colorado Mammoth) than the faster Graedon, the league’s top scorer with 33 goals and 59 points.
Schmidt also netted goals in the second and third periods and Darren Kinnear finished off a tremendous feed by playmaker Sean Reid on the power play to wrap up the scoring with 12:06 remaining. It was Reid’s fifth assist of the game and 37th of the season.
Friday the Miners spread the offence around as special teams shone in the win. In the second they capitalized five times on the power play.
The teams also combined for 92 penalty minutes, with the Outlaws tagged for 55 PIMs. Ted White was among three players ejected during a melee with 27 seconds to play.
The Miners and Outlaws duke it out again Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at Servus Credit Union Place.