The Red Deer Rampage are division champs after upsetting the league-best Rockyview Silvertips in the playoffs.
On Sunday the Rampage completed the series win over the Silvertips 6-5 on the road to become Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) Junior B Tier I Central Division champions.
Head coach Troy Tisdale told The Advocate it was an exciting series and it felt good to come out on top.
“It’s been great,” he said. “The spirit of the boys and mentally it’s a great win. To be able to come back after we lost that first game… It just made it all that much better.”
The Rampage entered the playoffs after finishing third out of four teams in the standings in the central division with a 9-11 record.
The Rampage swept the Calgary Chill in the first round and followed it up with an underdog series victory over the top team in the division.
However, it wasn’t an easy journey.
In Game 1 of a three-game series against the Silvertips, the Rampage were blown out 13-2 on the road. Red Deer rallied and took Game 2 at home on Friday 4-2 and again on Saturday in Cochrane 6-5 to win the series.
“No doubt it was our approach,” Tisdale added.
“We came out really flat and had no energy in that first game. It was a real gut check for everybody to dig deep and bring out the game we know we can play.
“Once we had our energy level up then we just tidied up some of the areas that haunted us a little bit… We concentrated on that and went out and executed. We played fantastic defence, goaltending, and just overall everything.”
From a coaching standpoint, Tisdale said they knew they had the team to pull off the upset. They had the right work ethic but it was all about going out and executing it.
“There were many times throughout the season that we proved it and we competed and played well against the top teams in the league,” he said.
“We knew we could do it, it was just a matter of doing it at the right time.”
To come away with two straight wins over the Silvertips, Tisdale explained it all started with great goaltending.
Goalie Carson Wells held the Silvertips to only seven combined total goals in Games 2 and 3.
“Carson was absolutely amazing and he’s obviously a great goaltender no matter what but he played lights out during both series,” Tisdale said.
“Our defence was also very solid so we didn’t give them the clean looks that they were looking for.”
The Rampage will now move on to the RMLL provincial championship hosted by the Beaumont Outlaws to compete for the Larry Bishop Memorial Cup.
Beginning on Friday, Aug, 4 in Beaumont the Rampage will take on the Calgary Shamrocks at 8 p.m.
They’ll then face the Outlaws at noon on Saturday before playing the Edmonton Warriors at 8 p.m.
On Sunday the Rampage will wrap up the round-robin portion of the tournament against the Winnipeg Blizzard on Sunday at 5 p.m.
The top two teams from round-robin play will compete for gold on Monday, Aug. 7 at 1 p.m.
“I believe we compare quite well [to these teams],” he said. “I don’t think our position in the standings in the regular season is completely accurate to the type of team that we have.
“I believe that when we’ve got a full roster like we do going in this weekend we’ll be able to compete just fine. They’re all top teams so you’ve got to bring your A game.”
The winner of provincials will then move on to the National Championship in Port Coquitlam, B.C. from Monday, Aug. 14 to Sunday, Aug. 20 to play for the Founders Cup.