The Blackfalds Silverbacks Senior C lacrosse team is aiming for a return to the provincial finals.
After missing playoffs for the first time two seasons ago, the team returned to the post-season last year, only to be swept in the division finals by the Edmonton Warriors.
While they dropped their first game of the season this year to the Warriors by a narrow 9-8 score, the Silverbacks’ Collin Lampard believes they’ll have a good chance of giving their northern rivals a run for their money.
“We’re going to be very competitive in the north, for sure,” he said. “Once we get that first road period out of our system, I think we’re going to be very competitive with those guys.”
The team’s first game came on May 3, but they haven’t hit the floor since due to a heavily back-loaded Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) schedule. While some other teams have already played three or four games at this point, the team viewed their “break” as an opportunity to work on conditioning, which was interrupted by the Canada Winter Games and a lack of floor time throughout central Alberta as a result.
A tournament in Olds this weekend will be their next opportunity to gauge just how competitive they will be throughout the season, and see how their off-season adjustments will pay off.
Many of the changes to the team this year are on their right side offence, with veterans Andrew Munden and Ray Williams moving on from the Silverbacks. Munden chose to retire due to injury, while Williams relocated to Edmonton with work, and subsequently joined the very Warriors team that swept Blackfalds last year.
Fortunately, Lampard said they were able to replace them with two new faces in Declan Johnston and Devin Sheridan, and then managed to pull 40-year-old Luke Flett out of retirement, and added a few players to help with their transition.
“Transitionally, we’ve taken a major leap forward – we picked up a bunch of young guys that are very, very fast and will help getting the ball up the floor where we’ve struggled in the last couple of years,” he said. “I think away, we’re probably going to struggle a bit with the transition game, but at home – just with the way the floor works – we should be good.”
He said they’ve been solid both offensively and defensively, but where they’ve gotten caught is in the neutral zone, turning over balls and handing opposition scoring chances and time to set up for opportune shots.
As for their strength, despite losing a couple of veterans, he said it will still be on the front end.
“Our strength is going to be our offence again,” he said. “We do lean heavily on those guys and we do like to outscore our opponents, as simple as that sounds.”
Senior B Silverbacks won’t be back
As for their Senior B Silverbacks counterparts, they nwon’t be on the floor at all this season.
Lampard says the Red Deer area, where Blackfalds draws its players from, isn’t able to support both a Senior B and C team.
“They tried, but couldn’t quite make the numbers work,” he said. “The level of talent wasn’t quite there for the B team, but at the same time, was borderline too good for the C.”
A dispersal draft was held to relocate players interested in continuing to other teams in the league ahead of the start of the regular season.
The Sr. B had only played for two seasons, but struggled to be competitive. They finished fifth in their inaugural season in 2017 with a 4-14 record, and last in 2018 with a 1-17 record.
However, it may be possible to see their return in the future.
“They’re still trying to drum up interest, but I think we learned a lot with trying to expand the way we did,” he said.
In the meantime, the C team will carry on the senior level of lacrosse, including at a tournament in Olds this weekend at the Olds Sports Complex.
Their first home game will be on Saturday, June 8 against the Warriors at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena at 2:30 p.m.
Blackfalds Silverbacks Sr. C regular season schedule:
- Friday, May 3 Warriors 9 Silverbacks 8
- Friday, May 24 vs. Olds Sr. C
Olds Sports Complex at 7 p.m.
- Saturday, May 25 @ Erratic
Olds Sports Complex at 3 p.m.
- Sunday, May 26 vs. Irish
Olds Sports Complex at 2 p.m.
- Friday, May 31 @ Miners
Go Auto Arena at 8 p.m.
- Sunday, June 2 vs. Warriors
Bill Hunter Arena 4 p.m.
- Saturday, June 8 vs. Warriors
Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena at 2:30 p.m.
- Sunday, June 9 vs. Miners
Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena at 6 p.m.
- Friday, June 14 @ Warriors
Bill Hunter Arena at 8:30 p.m.
- Sunday, June 16 @ Miners
Go Auto Arena at 5 p.m.
- Saturday, June 22 vs. Rage
Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, June 23 vs. Rage
Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena at 1 p.m.
- Saturday, July 6 @ Rage
Centennial Civic Centre at 7 p.m.
- Sunday, July 7 @ Rage
Centennial Civic Centre at 12:30 p.m.
- Friday, July 12 vs. Miners
Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena at 8 p.m.
- Saturday, July 13 vs. Warriors
Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena at 2:30 p.m.