The Red Deer Renegades had their backs against the wall Saturday, but found just enough energy to advance in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League Junior B tier two playoffs.
Red Deer dropped game one of the best-of-three series with the Calgary Axemen on Friday night.
To win the series Red Deer needed two straight victories on Saturday and finished in dramatic fashion.
The Renegades evened the series with a 15-9 victory in Game 2 to start the afternoon. After a 1-1 tie in a 10-minute mini-game, the series was decided in sudden death overtime.
The home side started the extra frame shorthanded, but after a loose ball was scooped up by Curtis Hallman he raced the length of the floor, deked a defender and fired a shot past the Axemen goalie and elation ensued.
“Being shorthanded, that’s where my team excels. Almost a hidden blessing. The guys know what to do. We had the right line out and it worked out. It’s a tough team to go against and to score in sudden death is just an amazing thing,” head coach Mike Martel said. “It was explosive. We were ecstatic, nothing in comparison. It was a surreal experience.”
Hallman also scored the lone goal of the mini-game for Red Deer on the power play with 3:34 left, after the Axemen opened the scoring 5:01.
“That mini-game, you have to look at it like you guys are dead even and it’s a brand new game. Just put yourself all out there. Everything you’ve got. Can’t stop. You might be exhausted and tired but you’ve got to give it everything and that’s sports,” Martel said.
“For the mini-game, it’s all about ball control. To control it is everything and that’s we stressed to the kids is ‘get the ball’.”
In the win that sent the series to a third and deciding game Red Deer jumped out a 6-2 lead and added six more in the second period to open up a 12-8 lead over Calgary. Those two dominant periods were just enough to snag the victory.
“Usually my team doesn’t do so well in the second period but they really stepped it up,” Martel said.
Seven of the Renegades 15 goals were on the power play in their first win of the afternoon.
Nicolas Scott had a hat trick while Tristan Clark, Brandon Heidinger, Hallman, Devin Saunders and Shayden Brinton all added a pair. Brodie Glaude and Brayden Laturnus also each added a goal.
With their second win of the day, the Renegades move on to face the Olds Mavericks next weekend in a best-of-three series to determine the South Conference champion.
“We’re ready to take it to Olds. They have looked at us as a tough competitor this year and they are a force to be reckoned with,” Martel said. “They beat us both times in the regular season so we’re looking forward to redemption and proving ourselves.”