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Silvertips enjoys stellar start to 2019 season

A quarter of the way through the 2019 regular season, the Rockyview Silvertips Junior B men’s lacrosse team is off to a rocking start.

After five games, the Cochrane-based Silvertips currently boasts a 4-1 record, putting the team in second place in the Central Division of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League’s (RMLL) Junior B Tier 1.

“Our offence is pretty strong right now,” said head coach Derrick Henry. “We have our full offence from last year, and we added two key pieces – one in a trade and one in the draft – so our offence has only gotten stronger.”

The Silvertips’ 2019 campaign kicked off with three games on the road. Following an overnight road trip April 27 and 28 to take on teams from the Edmonton Area, Rockyview followed up with a day-trip to Lethbridge May 4 to play the Barracudas.

The road trip was a success, with the Silvertips taking all three wins. Rockyview didn’t taste defeat until its home-opener May 11, when it lost 10-8 to the Calgary Chill. but the team brushed the loss aside to win its fifth game, 9-7 over the Barracuda Lacrosse Club of Regina.

The team’s games have all been close – Rockyview has bulged twine 47 times this season, while conceding 42 goals. In each game, the difference has been no more than two goals.

“We’re not out of any games,” Henry said. “We’ve crawled back from being down in some games, so we’re pretty resilient.”

For Silvertips fans, the first five fixtures have seen familiar faces leading the offence – fourth-year forward Colby Gulutzan and second-year Nolan Oakey lead in scoring for the ‘Tips, with 17 points each.

Gulutzan’s younger brother Ryan – a second-year player – has also contributed plenty of firepower up front, scoring five goals and recording eight assists.

“They’re doing a great job, and they’ve really found their stride,” Henry said. “And this past weekend, we got [fifth-year forward] Matt Dyck back from college. He had five goals in his first two games back, so that’s only going to help us.”

With the offence firing on all cylinders, Henry said, a focus for the team will have to be the back end.

“We do have our fourth-years back there, a few of them, but other than that, our defence is pretty young,” he said. “They’re going to learn and make mistakes. That’s just part of the process.”

Following a weekend bye, the Silvertips’ next games will be at the Spray Lake Sawmill Legacy Sports Centre May 24 and 26, against the Manitoba Blizzard and the Red Deer Rampage. The battle with the Blizzard starts at 8 p.m., while the run-in with the Rampage goes at 7 p.m.

After seeing plenty of Alberta’s highways in the first quarter of the 2019 campaign, Henry said it will be a nice change to play most of the Silvertips’ games in late May and June in Cochrane. However, he said, starting the season on the road was beneficial for the squad’s budding chemistry.

“[When] you’re on the bus with the team, the guys are all together and they’re really bonding, which is nice to have at the start of the year,” he said.

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