The Subway Pee Wee B Ravens went to Vernon to compete in the BC Provincial Championships July 7-10 and came back with more than just Okanagan cherries and sunburn for souvenirs…they struck silver in them thar hills.
The Ravens opened the round-robin segment of the tournament with a nail-biting 7-6 win over Semiahmoo. The game as close as the score suggests, with both teams working the ball around for high quality shots on goal. Semiahmoo was also effective at the late change, floating players behind the Ravens defence.
The Ravens team defence was up to the task and they prevailed in the end. Each game included most valuable player awards selected by the opposition coaches, with captain Nolan Fair winning the award for the first game.
Their second game was played at the old Civic Centre against Shuswap. Both teams were scrambling to adjust to the slippery floor conditions. It really was as if they were playing on ice, not concrete.
The Ravens took an early lead that they never relinquished while keeping a shut-out until the last two minutes of the game. Shuswap was frustrated and kept targeting key Ravens with extra-curricular activities that weren’t noticed by the officials. This was surprising given the pre-game discussions with their coaches about how some teams teach their players what others consider to be mean bordering on dirty tactics. Ravens won 5-2; game MVP was awarded to Liam Rivett.
The third game was in Armstrong against North Delta. The Ravens were starting to get acclimatized to the higher altitude, feeling their rhythm and getting their timing down. The ball was moving crisply and the late changes by the opposition were being picked up by players on the floor.
The final score reflected the territorial play and ball control, with the Ravens winning by a score of 11-2 and game MVP going to Justin Kennelly.
After the game, they made a quick trip to the Westbild arena in Vernon for the opening ceremonies. This was a large event since Vernon was hosting the PeeWee C, B, A-2 and A-1 provincials.
Ravens figured prominently during the ceremonies, winning several divisional awards. Liam Rivett won the Fair Play player award, captain Nolan Fair was selected to the all-star team and head coach Todd Fair won the Fair Play Coaching award. The last item was a significant surprize to some, including Todd.
At the conclusion of the opening ceremonies, the Ravens went back to Armstrong for a semi-final game against North Shore.
Scouts had mentioned that the North Shore goalie was very acrobatic; he made more than 50 saves in a game. He had a decent game but the ball movement and shot selection by the Ravens exposed a few holes in his armour.
The Ravens also did a great job of limiting the North Shore snipers to a couple of goals en route to a 7-4 win thereby punching their ticket to the gold medal game. Assistant captain Zachary Lontayao earned game MVP for his work at both ends of the floor.
In the finals, the Subway PeeWee B Ravens faced the Coquitlam Adanacs. This match was predicted as the probable final game at the coaches meeting prior to the start of the tournament.
Both teams started cautiously as may be expected. Coquitlam scored the first goal, then the second and third before the Ravens answered with their first.
At the first intermission, coach Fair and assistant coach Lontayao focused on a couple of key adjustments and emphasized that this game was far from over. This motivated the Ravens to renew their commitment to defence and rely on their counter-attack to get back into the game.
Unfortunately, Coquitlam was successful on a greater percentage of their chances and ultimately won the gold medal with an 8-2 victory. Lukas Lund was selected game MVP in the finals.
“I am extremely proud of each of these players,” head coach Todd Fair said. “They have all sacrificed and contributed to the team’s success. Each of them has grown significantly as a player. The new outdoor lacrosse box allowed us to begin our practices earlier this year than ever before which was reflected in the huge strides the players made in their individual skills, especially first year players. As coaches, we put together a developmental plan for the season that had a series of checkpoints and progressions. All of the players accepted each challenge and beat our expectations. These young men have earned everyone’s respect. Several coaches, including some that we beat in the round-robin, came up and told me that the Ravens were the best team that they’d played all season.”