Lacoka Locos have been crowned the CALL Champions.
In the Central Alberta Lacrosse League (CALL) final on June 24, the Strand Media Bantam Locos crushed Innisfail 10-2 to take home the league championship.
Coach Bruce Clarke said the team showed how badly they wanted the title by the way they played.
“Our guys came out on fire, right from the get-go,” said Clarke. He added that team did everything exactly the way it was supposed to with everything falling perfectly into place.
Lacoka scored six seconds into the championship game and “never looked back,” said Clarke.
Innisfail, on the other hand couldn’t keep up and “ran out of gas” he added. Clarke said the Locos were up 4-0 at the end of the first, 8-0 at the end of the second and finished the game 10-2.
Interestingly, Innisfail had played Lacoka twice before in regular season and once in a tournament, defeating the Locos each time.
However, things changed when the two teams faced off in the post-season and Lacoka enjoyed their first victory over Innisfail on June 21, winning by a single goal.
Playoffs in CALL are done by a double-elimination tournament and once again the two teams faced off on June 23, this time Innisfail winning by one goal.
Knowing everything was riding on the final game against Innisfail on June 24, the Lacoka Locos came out flying and never once looked back, said Clarke.
Up until the final, all the games Lacoka had played against Innisfail were extremely close, said Clarke, with the winners being decided by only a goal.
In playoffs, games were even closer and Clarke said it was only by a narrow margin that Innisfail managed to pull ahead of the Locos at all in the second game.
“Quite honestly, I think it took Innisfail everything they had to beat us.”
However, things changed quickly for Lacoka when they shifted into survival mode and started playing desperation lacrosse in the championship game.
“They knew we could beat these guys, they just had to get the balls behind the goalie,” said Clarke.
Earlier in the season, Clarke had identified passing and defence as Lacoka’s biggest strengths. As with the regular season, these strengths proved invaluable in playoffs as well.
Clarke had also said all Locos players were capable of scoring goals and that the team needed to work on spreading the ball around to more than just the team’s core players. This was another thing that came through in playoffs as those players stepped up to score goals and keep the opposition guessing as to where the next shot would come from.
While the league is finished for the year, Clarke said Lacoka is by no means done playing for the season.
This weekend, Lacoka Locos play in Edmonton at the Canada Cup tournament. Then, the Locos will have a few weeks off before hosting provincials in July.