“We went out there and meshed. We did our best,” Savanna Wygiera of the Drillers told the St. Albert Gazette about the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League tournament last weekend in Calgary.
The Drillers went undefeated in the tournament and won the junior B provincial championships, but it wasn’t without adversity.
“We had a lot of trouble going into the first game,” said Wygiera. “We only had nine runners and a backup goalie until the third period.”
Travelling mishaps had left the team understaffed in more than just players.
“They pulled a fast one on us Friday night,” laughs Wygiera. “Two of our coaches weren’t allowed to sit on the bench. ”
The Alberta Lacrosse Association (ALA) called Friday night to inform the team they could not find the proper certifications for team manager Tom Perry and head coach Hank Crough.
By the time the Drillers staff was informed the ALA offices were closed for the weekend.
“Hank and myself were still allowed to talk to the team in between periods and provide motivation, we were just not allowed on the bench,” said Perry.
“It could have gotten into our heads but it just made us play even harder,” said Brooke Huber. “Kara Perry had played goalie a few years ago and she really stepped up.”
The game was a high scoring back and forth battle that dragged out of regulation and into overtime.
Brooke Huber found an opening late in second overtime and rifled the ball into the net for the 12-11 victory and her fourth goal of the night.
“Seventy-seven minutes is a lot of lacrosse. We were sore but it was worth it,” said Huber.
Saturday morning the Drillers met the Edmonton Saints on the field with a few more players and a lot of momentum.
“We played harder because we had to,” said Huber. “We felt ripped off about the coaching situation and we were fired up.”
The game was another close one but the Drillers pulled through with a 9-7 win in regulation.
Huber racked up another four goals and was assisted by Shayla Michalycia who put up four assists and a goal of her own.
“Everybody on the team stepped up,” said Wygiera. “That’s the reason we won. Everyone was playing so well.”
In the championship game Sunday the Drillers took on the Axemen in a rematch of the first round.
The Drillers came out firing early and went up 4-1 in the first period with goals from Janelle Wilks, Charleigh Kondas, and Huber.
The Axemen responded in the second and the Drillers were fortunate to survive the period up 5-4.
The Drillers regrouped in the third and tightened up defensively, holding the Axemen to only one goal and potting three of their own, winning the tournament with a score of 8-5.
“It’s really exciting,” said Wygiera. “There were some tough plays out there but we came together and meshed.”
“I’m so proud of everyone,” said Huber. “We said we were going to win gold and we went out and did it.”
Next up for the Drillers is a four-team tournament between the Edmonton Saints, the Edmonton Bandits, and the Junior A division champions next weekend.
“We can do it,” said Huber. “We’ve beaten all of those teams before and we’ll do it again.”