The Lacoka Locos tried hard to work their way up but were ultimately defeated 16-6 by the Red Deer Renegades during last Sunday’s game.
The teams both put forward a great effort, but Red Deer pulled ahead and maintained a lead during the game held at the Red Deer Kinex Arena. The game was a constant display of athleticism and both teams worked hard to score.
“We were a little disappointed – we thought we’d have a bit of a better showing. The kids have been working hard in practice and trying to get better but it was just one of those nights where it didn’t pull together for us. However, when you can walk away from a game and take things from it to work on, then there is a positive side,” said Mike Wood, head coach of the Lacoka Locos.
“What we took away from that game was our team needs to attack a little bit more and give a little bit more pressure. We’re going to work on driving them down low instead of letting them freewheel up top. On offense, we need to work on moving our feet, not standing around and changing levels.”
The Locos played a good game but were kept down in points by heavy defence and pressure put forward by the Renegades. The Red Deer boys were getting in many hits and were able to gain control of the ball from their opponents several times.
Owen Rush, head coach of the Renegades said his team had a focus on defensive play and he was glad it paid off.
“We had a high-pressure defence. We’ve played Lacoka a few times over the last few years and we know which guys to key in on. They’ve got one guy there who we really know we have to key in on. We bulldogged him one time to the ground, got up with the ball and still scored,” Rush said.
By the start of the second period, Red Deer had taken the lead 5-2. Lacombe players tried to pick up their game play, but were overtaken by a series of risky shots that paid off in volumes for the Renegades.
Soon the points began to add up and in the same period, Red Deer creeped up to a score of 10 goals, with Lacombe at three.
Rush was very pleased with his team, but says they do still have a few things to work on as they develop the team atmosphere.
“We are looking to build that chemistry a bit. We’ve got 12 graduating midget this year, so it’s their first year in junior. It’s quite a culture shock for a lot of them. In the minor program, they’re basically guaranteed floor time once they register. There is stress that they get equal playing time throughout the games. When they come up to junior, it’s performance based. If they’re not performing and miss practice, they don’t play,” he said.
With a final score of 16-6, the Lacokas left the game with some things to work on, and Wood says the team will be doing just that.
“We’re just looking forward to improving and getting better. It’s so much fun being around these boys. They’re hard working – they want to get better. They’re motivated to show up and come to practice. I’m motivated to get better, and if I’m motivated they will be too,” he said.
“We’re not quite halfway through our season yet, and I think we’ll see a lot of improvement. We’ve played the top three teams multiple times already. I see the second half of our season being a lot better than our first half.”