Crude defender, Hudson Schneider Ma, white, pleads to the referee for a penalty on the Heat after forward #97 Eric Cooseman, purple, shoved him during third period action on Sunday. The Heat won 12-2.
The regular season for the Lakeland Heat is now over. The team claimed two more victories in Junior B lacrosse actionon the weekend: a tight 9-8 battle to win the rubber-match against the pesky Lloydminster Xtreme, and a 12-2 thrashing of St. Albert Crude on Sunday afternoon.
Those wins, 15 for the season, places the Heat (15-1-1) in first place of the Tier II Junior B North East, earning themselves a bye and a three week layover to contend with until the semi-finals.
Each of the six playoff teams gets a week break, and then the quarterfinals kickoff on July 13.
“We’ll take it easy next week and then we get back we’ll go a little bit harder. We’ll lose a couple guys. A couple young guys are taking off to Europe so we’ll lose someone for the whole break and then one for the first week. We’ve got some guys who are hurt too so hopefully some of those injuries will heal,” said Hodinsky.
The playoffs are two rounds with the remaining two teams earning the right to represent the North Division at Provincials.
As of June 24, it appears the Xtreme will be the three seed and play either the St. Albert Crude or Edmonton Wizards in the first quarterfinal. The Vermilion Roar (11-5) would play the Edmonton Warriors (5-9) in the other. The Sherwood Park Titans will finish second and claim the other bye.
The Heat will play the lowest seed that advances in the two-game total goals quarterfinal.
“We have lots of good sticks and guys know how to play. We just need to make sure that they’re playing smart, doing the right thing and at the right time,” said Coach Dennis Hodinsky.
Last year, the Lakeland Heat finished the regular season in a similar spot. Eventually, they settled for silver at Provincials in Sherwood Park, losing to the Lethbridge Barracudas. Most players on the team returned this season, so redemption could be in the air.
“We’re ready to take on the challenge. Hopefully, we’ll come back with a cup this year.”