Miners dig for medals
St. Albert senior B lacrosse team runs the floor in today's semifinals at Presidents' Cup national championship
Saturday, Aug 30, 2014 06:00 am
The St. Albert Miners are playing for medals at the Presidents’ Cup senior B lacrosse championship in Coquitlam, B.C.
The result of today’s semifinals will determine if the Miners will run the floor in Sunday’s gold-medal game or the bronze playoff.
Visit www.2014presidentscup.ca for the schedule and results.
The Miners are so close to winning a championship they can taste it.
“Hungry is an understatement. The guys are determined,” said head coach Vay Diep, prior to the Friday’s game against the Kahnawake Mohawks, last year’s silver medallists from the Quebec Senior Lacrosse League.
The score was unavailable at press time.
The day before the Miners suffered their first loss of the season after 26 victories, 7-6 against the Onondaga Redhawks despite a heroic 50-save performance by netminder Dave Marrese.
Period scores were 2-2 and 5-5.
The Can-Am Senior B Lacrosse League team broke open a 6-6 stalemate with 3:09 left in regulation time.
The Miners were outshot 24-13 in the third and were credited with 33 shots in total.
Despite the setback, “Our boys are still confident that we will win this championship,” Diep said. “What this loss did was it made our boys more hungry than ever. They recognized the mistakes that we made and they know how to correct them. Nothing has changed for our goal at the beginning of the year.”
The Miners had clinched a berth in the medal round before the contest.
“Our record doesn’t mean a thing to us for the fact that we are in the medal round. That was our goal at the start,” Diep said. “To be honest the four teams in the semis have an equal shot of going to the final, therefore if we play our game we will be in the final.”
The seven-team round-robin got off to a controversial start for the Miners when they were awarded a 1-0 forfeit win because the Akwesasne Outlawz of the Three Nations Senior Lacrosse League failed to file the mandatory Canadian Lacrosse Association paperwork.
“At first we were upset that we didn’t play but after we settled down it was great that we didn’t play that game as we were fresh and even more ready to get going,” Diep said.
Tuesday the Miners defeated the Six Nations Rivermen of the Ontario Lacrosse Association 10-8 and the host Tri-City Bandits 8-6.
Chris Schmidt’s penalty shot after the Bandits were caught with too many men with 23 seconds to play sealed the deal.
Wednesday the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League champions crushed the Nanaimo Timbermen 20-6 despite losing Marrese to a game misconduct for an illegal facemask with 8:49 left in the first period. Backup Matty Heibert finished the game by stopping 21 of 25 shots by the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association team.
The Miners have dug deep this week for national honours.
“We are now playing teams that are provincial champs so it requires us to raise our game. They’re all tough,” Diep said. “Our strengths have been playing as a team and buying into systems.”
After games played Thursday captain Nate Schmidt was tied for second in scoring with 22 points and his 10 goals were the second most in the tournament.
Darren Kinnear was second in team scoring with 15 points and Graedon Cornfield ranked third with 11 on the strength of three on the power play and three shorthanded.
The Miners are competing at nationals for the first time going 2-4 in 2010 at Burnaby, B.C. and 2011 at Akwesasne.
The last Alberta team to win nationals was the 2007 Sherwood Park Outlaws.