Rocky View Knights one step closer to taking home title
The Rocky View Knights Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League Senior B team took the first two games of a five game series against the St. Albert Miners, Aug. 11 and 12 at the Ron Ebbesen Arena.
The club will now head to Spruce Grove to play two games against the Miners Aug. 17 and 18 (after press time).
“It’s tough to be critical when you have two wins and you are heading into the clinching game,” said Knights Head Coach Gareth Barley. “I think we can play better, and as a coach you always want better. Transitionally, we played good. Defensively, we played alright. We played good, not great. I think we have more left in the tank.”
The first game was an 8-7 overtime win. The story didn’t change in game two, winning 10-9 also in overtime.
The first game was won by two overtime goals by Chad Evans and Keegan Davidson. In the second matchup, there was only a single overtime goal tallied, along with a late-period shot from Matt Besplug.
“We have been used to playing close games all year. We have fought from behind to win seven times,” said Barley. “In the first game’s (overtime) we got two right away and that speaks to how we were ready. It deflated their sails, they got a late one, but we held on.”
One aspect of the Knights play is the team’s strength in the second period. During the Aug. 11 game, the team played reasonably flat in the first frame, but came back very strong in the second.
“I would have liked to play a bit better. The second period has been our best period this year,” said Barley. “There is not as much stress in the second. We are just a second-period team.”
Heading up to Spruce Grove, which is not the home arena for the Miners, Barley is expecting to have to shut down a powerhouse player from the St. Albert club - Nate Schmidt, who scored two goals in the first game and six in the second.
“When we execute covering him, it works, but with the calibre of player he is, you have to cover him differently,” said Barley.
Instead of putting two players on Schmidt, Barley is hoping to rely on his stronger guys to stick with the St. Albert standout to shut him down.
In the second matchup of the series, Mark Scherman totalled five goals to help his club to the 10-9 win. Barley is expecting the Miners to employ similar tactics in covering Scherman.
“He is a competitor and he wants to win,” said Scherman. “They are going to want to cover him or find someone to be on him all the time. I hope they (Miners) double (team) him, ‘cause we have guys that can put the ball in the net.”
The next two games will be held Aug. 17 and 18 in Spruce Grove and a fifth and final game (if necessary) will be held in Airdrie at the Ron Ebbesen Arena Aug. 19. Game time has not yet been set.