The Blackfalds Bantam Warriors were not themselves last week.
Last Thursday, the Warriors hosted the Sylvan Lake Buccaneers, who defeated Blackfalds with a score of 7-1.
Coach Randy Trevors said last week’s performance was not typical of the Warriors.
“They played alright,” said Trevors. “Tonight was one of those off games.”
Last Thursday’s game was match of offence versus defense. While the Warriors displayed a solid defense, the Buccaneers favoured a powerful offence.
Blackfalds did a good job fending off the aggressive Sylvan Lake attacks for the most part, but even the best armour has weak points and the Buccaneers found them.
After opening up scoring, Sylvan Lake continued to hammer away at the Warriors defense, eventually wearing them down enough to open up more opportunities for scoring. Without a strong offense themselves, Blackfalds was unable to close the scoring gap, even though their defensive play kept that gap fairly close.
Sylvan Lake opened scoring in the first period, and their high-pressure offence kept Blackfalds from holding onto the ball long enough to score themselves. However, the strong Warrior defense prevented the Buccaneers from scoring any more in the first and the period ended 1-0.
In the second, Sylvan Lake again was first on the scoreboard. Blackfalds would get their first and only point about halfway through the period, but it would be quickly answered by the Buccaneers who would spend the rest of the period and the next expanding their lead on the Warriors.
A lack of offense was probably the most significant factor in Blackfalds’ loss to Sylvan Lake. Trevors said that usually the team’s offence is much stronger, but was off this game.
Because the offense was not doing well this game, the team decided to put stronger emphasis on the defensive play, added Trevors. However, he admitted that even with a strong defense, games can’t be won without offence.
The amount of time the Warriors spent in the penalty box didn’t help them out much either. Again, Trevors said this is not something typical of the team and usually discipline is not a problem for Blackfalds.
He added that sometimes, accidents that cause penalties are unavoidable.
Penalties are more likely to be called against hard-hitting teams as well, and the Warriors certainly can count themselves in that category. Blackfalds was not at all afraid to get physical during the game, and their hitting was one of their biggest strengths. Sylvan Lake played a very physical game as well, but not quite to the same degree.
Not only were the Warriors willing to hit, they weren’t afraid of getting hit either, showing great endurance while holding onto the ball. Strong hitting can form the defensive backbone in teams of many contact sports and Trevors said hitting and taking a hit is something that he has worked on a lot with the team this season.
Other than the game on Thursday, Trevors said the Warriors have played very strongly this season. He said that they are a well-rounded team having strong defense, goaltending (which was also on form last Thursday night) and usually offence.
However, Trevors also said Blackfalds has lost the last few games. He said right now the key to becoming successful again is to win some games and rebuild momentum, something he is confident his team can accomplish.
“You win some you lose some,” said Trevors. “They’ll jump back.”
Indeed, the Warriors have already started to bounce back. On May 26th, they defeated the Red Deer Chiefs 7-4 at the Kinex Arena. The Warriors next and final regular season game will also be against the Chiefs in Red Deer on May 31st.