It was a learning experience for the Lakeland Heat.
The Junior B lacrosse squad fell in their season’s opening games, losing 7-4 to the Lloydminster Xtreme and 9-8 in overtime to the Parkland Posse.
As head coach Daryl Hodinsky explained, it was the first time some of these players had played in two years, making their junior debuts, with some never even playing at the midget level.
But after shaking away some of the nerves in the opener, the Heat improved and was a shot away from victory against the Posse.
“Like I say, we’re young. But I guess a lot of the other teams are in the same boat, but we’re young, where we don’t have the junior experience either,” said Hodinsky.
“Defensively, we have a little bit of work to do. We’ve seen some big improvements in the first game from the first period to the third period. And the second game was night and day difference. Our defense really stepped up and played a lot tighter and made the Parkland Posse work for everything they got from us. All in all, that was pretty good.”
This week in practices, Hodinsky has worked with the team on defence and retrieving loose balls, two aspects of the game they feel put them behind the 8-ball against the Xtreme.
Plus, if the Heat takes advantage of their opportunities, they could reverse their initial weekend fortunes.
“We’re trying to get them to be a little bit meaner,” Hodinsky said jokingly. “But just way more aggressive. The defenses that we played against on the weekend were super aggressive on us and didn’t give us much time and space. We’re trying to incorporate that into our defense.
“The other thing we really worked on over the weekend that I saw a big improvement from Friday night to Saturday night was us retrieving loose balls. Lloydminster just dominated us on that part of it. Yeah. And against the posse, we really stepped it up. It was a totally different team in front of me in the second game.”
The Heat will stick with their home cooking for the third straight game to start their season on Saturday night when they host the Sylvan Lake Yettis.
The Yettis offence has been powerful thus far, scoring 13 goals in each of their contests.
The action gets going at the RJ Lalonde Arena on Saturday at 7:00pm.