The St. Albert Miners are one win away from advancing to their fourth consecutive Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League senior B provincial final after starting the playoffs with two home victories.
Scores were 19-8 and 15-3 against the Calgary Mountaineers last weekend at Go Auto Arena.
Game three in the best-of-five semifinal is 9 p.m. Friday at Stu Peppard Arena.
If needed, game four is 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Stu Peppard and game five is 2 p.m. Sunday in St. Albert.
The winner plays the Rockyview Knights of Airdrie or the Edmonton Warriors to determine the Alberta rep at the Presidents’ Cup, Aug. 27 to Sept. 3 at Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario.
Last year the Miners hosted nationals in Leduc after winning their fourth provincial title since 2010 and capped off a 25-0-1 season as Canadian champions.
Two years ago, the Miners finished 27-3 as bronze medallists and all three losses were at nationals in Coquitlam, B.C.
The Miners are 20-0 this season after winning their 43rd consecutive game since last year’s season-opening 7-7 draw against Rockyview on April 30 in St. Albert and Sunday’s 12-goal margin of victory Sunday was highlighted by Keegan Bal’s five goals and five assists.
In the series opener Saturday, Bal tallied three times and added five assists.
During the regular season the second-year Miner racked up 49 goals and 74 assists in 16 games as the repeat winner of Harris Toth Award as the league’s top scorer.
The Coquitlam, B.C. product lead all scorers in the 2016 regular season with 70 points, including 26 goals in 13 games.
At nationals Bal recorded a tournament-high 24 assists and 36 points. The third round, 25th overall, selection by the Toronto Rock in the 2013 National Lacrosse League entry draft was a first-team all-star selection and the tournament’s MVP.
Darren Kinnear’s hat-trick, two-goal efforts by Cam Sedgwick and Graedon Cornfield and singles from Sean Reid, Ryan Dilks and Richard Lachlan rounded out the scoring in game two.
Eleven players combined for 19 goals in game one, led by Lachlan’s four markers.
The Mountaineers, the fourth-place finishers at 11-7 in the seven-team standings, lost last year’s best-of-three provincial final in two games to the Miners.
The playoffs lasted only two games for St. Albert Crude in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League.
The junior B Tier I team lost 11-4 and 10-5 to the Sherwood Park Titans in the best-of-three north division opening round.
The Titans (12-8) and Crude (6-13-1) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the six-team standings and in league play the teams split two games.
Last year the Crude finished fifth at 3-17.
Carter McCorriston led the Crude in scoring this season with 59 points in 18 games and Ben Holowaty produced 58 points in 16 games.
Holowaty also posted a team-high 26 goals, followed by McCorriston’s 24 and Taylor Dion’s 20.
In the playoffs, Holowaty tallied once and added three assists in game two Saturday in St. Albert.
Taylor Dion collected three goals and one assist in two games and McIntyre and McCorriston pumped in a pair each.