The Red Deer TBS Rampage are currently performing at a break-even level, unacceptable for head coach Gregg Kinnear.
“We’re capable of a lot better than this, I think,” said KInnear, whose Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League Junior B Tier 1 team is coming off a .500 weekend that included a 10-2 thumping of the host Sherwood Park Titans and a 4-2 loss to the St. Albert Crude at the Kinex.
There have been nights when the 4-4-3 Rampage have not been firing on all cylinders, especially up front.
“The talent is there,” said the head coach, whose top snipers are Darren Kinnear and Patrick Amell.
“We have lots of guys who can put the ball in the net and so far we’ve struggled a bit (offensively). Scoring consistently has been a problem. One night we can look really good and the next night we can be pretty average. Our offence needs a little work.”
Kinnear is satisfied, for the most part, with his club’s defensive play.
“We allowed only six goals during the weekend and should have won both games,” he said.
The Rampage roster is a mix of fresh faces and veterans, including three players — Joe Rattan, Tyler Thorvaldson and Kyle Stone — who are in their final season of junior eligibility. Among the top rookies are Dustin Reykdal and netminder Nathan Stearns, who shares goaltending duties with Kyle Carswell.
“Nathan Stearns has been outstanding for us,” said Kinnear. “
He’s played the majority of our games.”
The Rampage sit third in the North Division of the Rocky Mountain League, with the Saskatchewan SWAT leading the way with an 8-3-2 slate. The Red Deer squad ventured into Saskatoon earlier this season and lost both ends of a weekend series with the SWAT, falling 9-8 and 7-4.
“We let them back in the game the first night and the next day injuries kept us to 15 guys and they scored two late goals,” said Kinnear. ‘We can play with any team on any given day, depending on what kind of effort we get.”
The Rampage coach expects his club to improve at a consistent rate over the next month.
“We have a lot of young guys who were injured at the start of the season and we’re looking to getting more out of them now that they’re healthy,” said Kinnear. “We think we can take a good run at the playoffs like we did two years ago.”
Kinnear and his crew are also looking forward to the Founder’s Cup — the national junior B lacrosse championship tournament — set for Aug. 17-22 in Beaumont. The Rampage applied for entry into the tournament and were accepted earlier this year.
“This team has never been to the Founder’s Cup before, but I’ve been there with a Calgary team with two of my sons,” said Kinnear.
The Rampage return to action Sunday against the Calgary Shamrocks at SAIT. Red Deer’s next home game is June 19 versus the Calgary Chill at 8:30 p.m. at the Kinex.
Contact Greg Meachem at firstname.lastname@example.org