Rampage one win away from North final
The Red Deer Rampage took advantage of a frustrated and undisciplined opponent Sunday at the Kinex and are now one win away from advancing to the junior B tier 1 North final of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League.
The hosts struck for four overtime goals — including two on the power play — to pull out a 12-10 victory and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. Game 4 is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Kinex.
Tempers flared during the extra frame — necessitated when the visitors notched a man-advantage marker of their own with 11 seconds remaining in regulation time — and the Warriors were too often the instigators and were penalized as such.
“Lacrosse is a physical game at the best of times,” said Rampage head coach Ron Just. “These two teams have played three games in less than two and a half days. I don’t think the teams liked each other when the series started and they’re certainly not going to like each other when it finishes.”
The Rampage grabbed the early advantage in the series with an 8-7 win Friday at Edmonton and were edged 12-11 by the Warriors in Game 2, also in the provincial capital.
After stealing home-floor advantage in Game 1, the Rampage held service in Game 3, thanks to a give-goal outing from Reid Swier, who connected twice in overtime. Pearce Just tallied twice in extra time and finished with two goals and three assists, while Ryan Beatson notched one of his three goals in OT and Cole deGraaf and Spencer Lee tallied single goals in regulation time.
Red Deer outshot Edmonton 50-42 while getting a 32-save outing from Darrian Banack. Dawson Reykdal picked up four assists for the winners.
The obvious goal now for the Rampage is to finish the series Saturday at the Kinex.
“We sure don’t want to go back up to Edmonton. They’re a big, tough, physical team and they play really well in their rink,” said Ron Just. “We managed to split on the weekend and by winning Friday we got home-game advantage, but we have to make use of it on Saturday.
“All three games in this series have been close. It seems like every time we make a mistake they score on it, but we played well enough to win today . . . we found a way to gut it out. We know we can play better than what we have but a lot of that is they way they (Warriors) play. They’re really in your face all the time. They play physical and make it hard for us to play our game.”
Rhett Baldwin was the winning netminder in Friday’s contest, while Beatson fired three goals, Mitch Vellner potted a pair and Lee, who also had three assists, deGraaf and Dawson Reykdal each tallied once.
Davis Reykdal netted three goals in Saturday’s setback, with Dawson Reykdal and deGraaf each scoring a pair. Single goals were contributed by Lee, Beatson, Colton Woytas and Brandyn Blain.
Connor Hartley had five helpers for the Rampage, who used both Baldwin and Banack in net.