The last two years the Red Deer Renegades have lost in the South final of the Rocky Mountain Junior B Tier II Lacrosse League.
Head coach Rob Kachor is looking to change that this season.
“A lot of veterans came to me and said they’d return this year if I was coming back to coach and I said if they were here I’d be here,” he explained. “We want to win this year and with the number of veterans and the young guys coming in we have a nice mix.”
The Renegades, who have 15 returnees on their roster, opened their season during the weekend and showed their skill level beating the Innisfail Yetti 15-5 Friday at G.H. Dawe Arena and the Wranglers 12-4 in Calgary Sunday afternoon.
Kachor has 25 players on hand, although he needs to make a few cuts yet.
“That’s unfortunate as every kid deserves to play in this league, but there’s rules and I’ll have to make a couple decisions. As a coach it’s nice to have that many players, but it’s tough if you coached them before and have to let them go. We’ll make the decisions shortly so they can go play with another team.”
It’s evident by the way the Renegades kill penalties and work on the power play they have that experience.
“You can see they stay at home on the penalty kill, are aggressive and hard hitting,” said Kachor. “On the power play we move the ball well and work well together.”
Kachor is also able to give several of the new players a chance to play on the special teams.
“You want everyone to get a chance to learn the systems,” said the veteran coach. “You could see me getting upset several times on the bench because we went away from the systems. You have to learn, and run them now, because later on you’ll need those systems when it’s a tight game.”
One of the Renegades more spectacular goals came late against the Yetti when newcomer Keagan Kingwell scored while the Red Deer squad were two men short.
The one area the Renegades are short is in goal with only Jared Ferguson, who played midget last year, on the main roster.
“We had Chase England last year, but he wanted to return to Innisfail where he played growing up, so we let him go,” explained Kachor. “We’re short is in goal, but there are some good midget goaltenders and it’s good for them to come up and even sit on the bench and see our game, There’s a big difference between midget and Tier II and it helps them when they go back to their midget teams.”
Kane Weik, who played Junior B Tier I last year, but moved to Tier II because of work commitments, had three goals against Innisfail with Justin Moltzahn and Ryan Margetts adding two each, Singles came from Kole Weik, Brandon Magill, Carter Copeland Blair, Brad Thudium, Declan Johnston, Ryan Svederus and Colton Levie.
Moltzahn scored five goals against the Wranglers with Levie and Thudium potting two each and Kane Weik, Logan Sinclair and Svederus one apiece. Ferguson was solid in goal both games.
Kachor knows it’s important to spread the scoring around.
“When you’re playing a game with only one guy scoring it’s easy to shut him down,” he said. “If everyone is contributing and you’re getting a full team effort that’s hard to stop. It’s important to have a strong third line. In most cases the first and second lines are even so if your third line knows how to play with them that’s when you win.”
All the goal scorers, except Kole Weik, Johnston and Kingwell are veterans. Other returnees are Nate Bellanger, Chase Boswell, Jason Brand, Austin Johanson, Tucker Kambeitz, Cody Rush and Ryan Strome. Rhett Ritter played with Three Hills last year while Tyler Schumacher and Calcum Anderson are returning after taking a year off.
Sawyer Gervais scored twice for Innisfail while Kaden Christensen, Cody Hewitt and Aric Bosomworth potting single markers.
On Sunday the Yetti lost 10-5 to the Ponoka Locos.
The Renegades return home Saturday when they host the Lethbridge Cudas at 3:30 p.m. at G.H. Dawe.
• The Red Deer Rage senior women’s team was defeated 14-2 by the Sherwood Park Junior Titans at the Kinex Friday.
Leah Boucher and Janessa Sullivan scored second-period goals for the Rage, who trailed 9-0 after the first period. The Rage were assessed seven of nine minor penalties.
• In senior C action, the Blackfalds Silverbacks downed the Rage 9-5 and 11-10 in Vermillion during the weekend,
• In Tier I action, the Red Deer Rampage tied the St. Albert Crude 9-9 and stopped the Rockyview Silvertips 12-6.
Spencer Lee and Dawson Reykdal had two goals each against the Crude with singles added by Connor Hartley, who had three assists, Pearce Just, Cole deGraaf, Logan Elliott and Kane Weik. Darrian Banack made 34 saves in goal.
DeGraaf had four goals and two assists against the Silvertips with Lee adding two goals and three helpers, and Ryan Beatson two goals.
Adam Ferguson, Brandyn Blain, Reykdal, Trey Christensen and Just added one goal each.
Brendan Machan got the win in net.
The Rampage’s next action is Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against the Manitoba Blizzard in Innisfail.
• In Junior B Tier III play, the Olds Stingers edged the Cudas 7-6.