Knights sweep Mounties
Every team hopes for a playoff series win. That’s exactly what the Airdrie Knights got, and they won in a convincing fashion.
The Knights defeated the Calgary Sr. Mounties 10-4 in the third and final game of the first round series, July 24 at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.
“It was a good game, start to finish,” said Knights Head Coach Gareth Barley.
“It was a battle. (The Mounties) never gave up. (Toward the end of the game), we had a little bit of momentum and controlled the game. By the end, you could kind of see the game was slipping away from them.”
The Knights took a two-goal lead heading into the second period, but the Mounties kept it close until Airdrie potted four goals to take a 6-2 lead into the third. Calgary scored two more goals in the third period, but the Knights kept the pressure on and net four of its own.
Barley credited Alex Coutts for his strong play in netted as well as the team’s two leading playoff scorers, Matt Besplug and Keegan Davidson, with the win.
“Coutts played a very sound game,” he said. “The guys did exactly what we wanted to a tee. Collectively, it was a team win. The players were seeing what we were seeing and we were able to overcome what they were setting on us. We used it to our advantage and (the Mounties’) frustrations were getting to them.”
Calgary’s emotions boiled over as the Knights took control of the game, resulting in two fights near the end of the third period.
Barley characterized the entire series as rough, but clean, which added to the intensity. While the Knights expected a competitive series from Calgary, it wasn’t expecting to sweep the Mounties in three games.
“Winning three games was a positive,” Barley said. “To come out and win three straight was unexpected. We were fairly matched teams. It was their first time in the playoffs in seven years, and we had a little more experience.”
The three-game sweep advanced the Knights to the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) final. The Knights now await either the St. Albert Sr. Miners or the Spruce Grove Slash.
The final starts on Aug. 11, which gives the team 11 days to rest, recover and prepare.
“It’ll be a good rest for the guys,” Barley said. “Some people might see it as a downer and a slow start, but we’re used to slow starts, and hopefully we can keep it going.
“They are both top teams and going to be hungry teams. Our next goal is to win the league championship. We’re only looking towards the next five games and we’ll have to be prepared.”