The Lakeland Heat Junior B lacrosse squad returned from their two week road-trip on Friday night and beat their division rivals the Vermilion Roar 7-2 in a sluggish contest.
Despite some flashes, the game was rather pedestrian for a pair of top teams in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) Tier II Northern Division. The Roar were without six players, and there were four penalties in the entire game, much different than their last meeting which saw 19 penalties called.
“I’m a little disappointed. We definitely got two points out of it and we need those two points every game…we played decent enough today but it wasn’t the calibre we can expect from our boys,” said Coach Dennis Hodinsky.
“We stood around a little too much and hung on to the ball too much. We’re more successful when we start to move the ball. When we hang onto the ball for a low amount of seconds then we get good movement, and generally get some goals out of it.”
The Roar (9-4) came into the game with a four game winning streak and only one point behind the Heat for top spot in their group.
Vermilion scored the first goal of the game but their only lead did not last. Justin Hodinsky shook of his defender with a back-door cut and Taylor Anselm delivered a perfect pass to equalize three minutes later.
“Taylor made a nice play. He got a pass from someone else and brought the ball low and I saw the hole and cut. Taylor made a beautiful pass right onto the stick, so I had the easy part. He did all the work,” said Justin Hodinsky.
The Heat support a few fraternal teammates – and the Brown boys, Ethan, 19, and Isaac, 17, carried the offense the rest of the way. Isaac recorded a hat-trick, including the game-winning-goal, and Ethan a goal and two assists.
Isaac’s powerplay goal just thirty seconds into the second period saw him follow his own rebound to the slot and wire it in.
“I was expecting it to just sit there and I was gonna run back to the bench, and it just went my way,” said Brown.
Mitchell Bibeau added two goals to round out the scoring.
Tyler Wareham stopped two walk-in breakaways in the third period, halting any potential momentum for the Roar. They even got a penalty shot with a 1:30 left after six players were caught on the floor. Still, Wareham shut the door.
The Heat (10-1-1) suffered their first loss of the season against the Lloydminster Xtreme 12-10 on June 6, and avenged the loss last Wednesday by exploding with seven quick goals in the first period, good enough for a 16-7 win. It was that consistent effort from a couple days prior that both coaches feel was missing from Friday’s game.
“The boys didn’t buy into the movement that we wanted them to do and it backfired on us [on June 6]. They wanted to play their own game and it’s a good lesson to learn at the right time of the year,” said Daryl Hodinsky.
The Heat and Xtreme will play a rubber match on Friday that is sure to influence seeding for playoffs. The regular season then wraps up on Sunday against the Crude. Both games are in Cold Lake.