Well, that escalated quickly.
The Lakeland Heat Junior B lacrosse team scored 33 goals in their pair of home games this weekend. First, a 14-1 victory over the Wainwright Wolfpack (0-8) Friday night in Bonnyville, and a 19-1 win on Saturday against the Edmonton Wizards (3-5) in Cold Lake.
Not a bad home stand.
Sure, the Wainwright Wolfpack are a new team to the Tier II Northeast, with many players who haven’t played competitive games in a couple years. Only 12 players suited up for the game, and they struggled to move the ball out of their own zone.
And the game against the Wizards was similar. At times the Heat let up against the new team from Wainwright, but not on Saturday. Once the captain Donovan Bibeau broke the ice at 4:03 of the first period, he ignited a five goal powder keg in the span of 1:39. After twenty minutes the Heat had nine goals, two shy of their season-high for goals in a period of 11.
The Heat are dominant in the games they need to be, giving them the flexibility to play different players in new positions during the games.
Oh, and fans have a new word to describe their offense: explosive.
“We’ve been working on a motion and it’s starting to come together a bit better,” said Coach Dennis Hodinsky. “The guys are understanding what their play is and it’s a big timing thing. Hopefully all the timing work takes place by the end, and we can bring it right into playoffs, and hopefully make us unstoppable.”
The wins kept the Heat undefeated in the regular season (10-1-0) and in first place of their division with 20 points. Their next opponent is the Lloydminster Xtreme who they’ll play Wednesday for the first time on the road. Half of the Heat’s remaining schedule are against the Xtreme, which means these next three matchups will shape the division when the playoffs begin.
“We’re looking ahead to that one,” said Aaron Goulet, who played defence against the Wizards on Saturday.
“They’re more of a challenge for us, and we need to worry about that because we haven’t had a challenge. We need to work hard, work on the motion, and do the program better than we have been against these weaker teams,” said Goulet.
“We haven’t seen the Xtreme yet and their record is decent,” said Coach Hodinsky. “I expect a big change of pace for us. I think it’s going to be a lot faster than we’ve been used to lately, and I think that’s going to help us get back into playoff mode. I’m kind of exciting to go down there Wednesday to play them and see what they’ve got.”
Familiarity can spark many things – rivalry chief among them. The feeling around the team is the game on Wednesday will be chippy. And if not in their first matchup, then sometime over the next two weeks.
-The Heat will travel Friday to play the Wainwright Wolfpack.
-The Heat’s next home game is Friday, June 15 against the Vermilion Roar.
-They have six games remaining this regular season.
-The highest goal total for the Heat this season was 24 against the Wolfpack.
-The lone tie of the Heat’s season was against the Sherwood Park Titans 10-10