Yet again, the Blackfalds Silverbacks won’t be moving on to the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL) finals.
After finishing the regular season at the top of the north division, the Silverbacks fell in the semifinals Sunday to the very same Edmonton Warriors they edged a week ago, in what was a repeat of last year’s semifinal matchup.
The Silverbacks tied the series 1-1 Sunday afternoon, but would ultimately fall in the tie-breaking “mini game” played shortly afterwards.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” said Silverbacks goalie Colin Lampard. “We came out fired up today and won what we needed to win, but just couldn’t get it done. We got into some serious penalty trouble – we were shorthanded for pretty much the entire period and then we just couldn’t get it in the net and they got one past me.”
The Silverbacks fell 11-7 Saturday afternoon in what Lampard called a “convincing” Game 1 loss, but regrouped for Game 2 where they beat their opponents 7-6 at the Blackfalds Multi-plex Arena Sunday afternoon.
Kyle Groat opened the scoring for the Warriors 7:31 into the first but Riley Loucks would respond for the Silverbacks at 12:04 to tie the game. Shandz Wierenka would add another two minutes later to give the home team a 2-1 lead they’d take into the second period.
Early in the second, momentum appeared to be on the Silverbacks’ side, with Tyler McRobbie extending their lead less than four minutes into the second. However, Peter Grigg would score two quick goals to tie it 3-3. Declan Johnston would retake the lead seconds later, and then it was a back-and forth affair with Curtis Moore tying the game once more for the Warriors, followed by a goal scored by Silverback Luke Flett and another tying goal from Grigg.
Midway through the third, Bradyn Blain beat Warriors goaltender Shawn Siegers. Johnston would score the eventual game-winner with his second of the game with 8:18 left to play, and while the Warriors’ leading goal scorer in Shaun Wilhelm would beat Lampard at 6:16, the Silverbacks would manage to fend off their opponents for a 7-6 win.
In the tie-breaking mini-game, however, the Warriors were the more dominant team, thanks to 14 minutes worth of penalites, including three roughing calls, a slash, too many men, and two separate unsportsmanlike conduct calls. Grigg scored the game-winner for the Warriors to win 1-0.
“We just weren’t playing smart. When they’re down on the ground, we can’t be swinging our sticks – we took a penalty that way. It was ugly and well-deserved. We’ve got to keep our heads,” Lampard said. “The effort of the team was good today. We need a little bit more discipline – that was the issue today.”
The Warriors will now advance to the finals against the Airdrie Mohawks next weekend. The Mohawks have claimed the last three RMLL championships since the Silverbacks last victory in 2015, so the team is now hoping the Warriors will break their streak and go all the way.
“The (Warriors) are good – hopefully they bring (the championship) back to the north, because those guys in the south are undefeated,” said Lampard. “Hopefully it plays out in their favour.”