The Red Deer TBS Rampage took on the three-time defending Canadian junior B tier 1 lacrosse champion Six Nations Rebels Thursday and the end result wasn’t pretty.
“There’s a reason why they’ve lost I believe only one game this year,” Rampage coach Ron Just said of the Rebels, following his club’s 15-5 loss to the Ontario squad in the national championship tournament at Halifax.
“Their offence is very solid, their defence is very strong and their goaltending was excellent today. They’re a tough team.”
Just knew the Rebels would be a tough nut to crack.
“Certainly everyone in the tournament is gunning to try and beat Six Nations,” he said. “They’ve won the last three years in a row so they are the team to beat.”
The Rebels ran out to a 5-1 lead after one period and were up 9-1 heading into the third stanza. Reid Swier notched Red Deer’s first-period goal and Davis Reykdal tallied three times and Mitch Vellner scored once in the final frame.
Mitch Green fired five goals for the Rebels, who were assessed 17 of 26 penalties while improving to 3-0-0. Jon McMillan was in net for the Rampage.
“I don’t think the score did us justice. We battled them as well as anyone has battled them in the tournament so far this year,” said Just, whose squad slipped to 1-2-1.
Trailing five teams in the standings, Just doesn’t see his club making an appearance in Sunday’s championship final.
“I think too many things have to happen for us to have a shot at the gold-medal game,” he said. “It’s most likely that we’re playing for bronze now.”
The Rampage might have to beat the Manitoba Blizzard and Quebec in their final two round-robin games — today and Saturday — to get a shot at bronze. Winning a bronze medal would be a nifty accomplishment for a team making its first appearance in the nationals.
“It’s disappointing because I think we felt we could do better than that,” said Just. “But with it being our first time in the Canadian championship I think bringing home a bronze medal would be something that Red Deer Lacrosse could be proud of.”