Lacoka’s Strand Media Bantams have wrapped up a very successful season.
At the Alberta Lacrosse Association Provincial Championships hosted by Lacoka this past weekend, Lacoka’s Bantam team secured the bronze medals after defeating the High River Heat 13 – 6 on July 14.
Ben Arifin, who wears number 7 for the Locos and plays transition, said that the bronze medal win and games it took to get there brought his team together.
“It feels good,” said Arifin. “I love the feeling of our team melding together. We have played fantastic games over provincials and I think that our team is very happy with this win.”
Coach Bruce Clarke said the Locos were actually hoping to claim gold in this year’s provincials, but narrowly missed their shot at the championship game.
“If we would have scored one more goal we would have made it to the gold medal (game),” said Clarke.
As it was, Lacoka ranked third after the team’s first match against High River Saturday night, where the Locos won 13 – 5 and faced the Heat a second time on Sunday for the bronze medal.
Despite falling short of a chance at the provincial title, Clarke said the players’ spirits were high going into the bronze medal game.
“They were upbeat,” said Clarke. “Whatever happened the rest of the tournament didn’t matter. All we had to do was win the bronze.”
Lacoka wasted no time in setting the pace during the bronze medal match. Coming out flying from the beginning of the first period, the Locos outscored the Heat and established a comfortable lead ending the period 6 – 1 in favour of Lacoka.
In the second period, High River came back stronger, but still couldn’t manage to keep up with the Locos’ momentum.
Lacoka continued to outmaneuver and outscore High River to extend their lead and end the period 11 – 3. Finally in the third period, the Heat began to gain a foothold over the Locos, scoring more goals than they had in any other period and looking to turn the tide in what had been a very one-sided game.
However, the lead Lacoka had established early in the game left a score gap that could not be closed in one period.
While they were outscored 3-2 in the final period, the Locos’ last few goals bought them some extra insurance and they defeated the Heat to secure a third place finish in the provincial championship.
Arifin said the Locos won because their confidence allowed them to keep their momentum throughout the entire game.
“We had our heads high, we were confident,” said Arifin. “We just needed that win. Our team wanted that medal.”
Clarke said the bronze medal win was a great way to wrap up what he called a “terrific season.”
Arifin agreed and is already looking forward to next season.
Many players will be moving up into Lacoka’s Midget Lacrosse program next year and Arifin said he is looking forward to the new experience.