Sunday , 2 October 2022

Lakeland Heat off to another great regular season start

Image courtesy of gamereadyphotography.com. Jayden Frey tries to deke the Lloydminster Xtreme’s Duncan Knorr during Saturday’s game at Imperial Oil Place where the Heat’s 16-10 win.

The Lakeland Heat are perfect to start the season.

The Heat got a bit of payback from last season against the Lloydminster Xtreme on Saturday with a 16-10 win.

The Heat followed that up with an 18-5 win over the St. Albert Crude T2 to advance to 4-0 on the season.

“I think they’re always a good competitor,” said Coach Dennis Hodinsky on the early win against Lloydminster.

“It was their first game of the season, and we were going into our third. That makes a little bit of difference. You can get into game mode already and they’re not. They’re definitely going to give us a run for our money. No doubt about that.”

The Heat went 15-1-1 in regular season play in 2018 but were upset by the Lloydminster Xtreme in the league semi-finals to miss out on a Provincials trip.

The Junior B lacrosse team lost six or so players from last year’s team, including skill and finesse players like Donovan Bibeau, Justin Hodinsky, and Taylor Anselm.

But Donovan and Justin’s younger brothers have a firm grasp on the offensive side of the ball so far.

Mitchell Bibeau has racked up 21 goals in only four games and Taras Hodinsky is second in points with 17.

“He plays a lot like his brother,” said Coach Hodinsky on Mitchell Bibeau.

“He’s got some dangle in them and that’s definitely an asset. He’s actually been taking this brothers number this year so he’ll be a guy to watch. Unfortunately, he’s stacking goals and putting up penalty minutes too.”

Some key pieces like Allen Wareham, Isaac Brown, and Jayden Frey also return to the team and fill out the second wave of scoring so far this season, along with Austin Saint, Cohlten Bernier, and new lacrosse player Isaac Brown.

The Heat will bolster a full roster this year with the players graduating from midget.

“The young guys have picked it up. I think we’re doing better with the changeover but they’re eager. Kudos to our minor teams coming up because the players, they understand quite a bit so we’re not re-doing stuff,” said Dennis Hodinsky.

Two teams have relocated from Edmonton to Spruce Grove and St. Albert which leaves question marks on where the Heat stand until they play them.

Hodinsky says the Sherwood Park Titans will be a tough competitor when they play Saturday night at Imperial Oil Place.

“Sherwood Park is always got a good club. They’ve got a tier one team, so it’ll depend on what they lose in tier one, they drop down to tier two. But they’re always strong and they’re always a good rival,” said Hodinsky.

This weekend is Lakeland Lacrosse Association’s Ice Melter tournament where Tyke, Novice, Peewee, Bantam, Midget B, Peewee Female, and Bantam Female B teams will battle in an early-season competition.

“Obviously, there’s always things that we need to work on early in the season and hopefully those pick up by the end of the season,” said Hodinsky.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.