The Subway Peewee B Ravens made the journey over “The Hump” on Saturday to play the Port Alberni Tyees in their second-to-last regular season lacrosse game.
Unfortunately, the altitude seemed to wreak havoc upon a few of the players, at least at the start of the game. Although team captain Nolan Fair was back in the line-up for this game, Lukas Lund, Jasper Osterhoute-Code and Caleb Vivier were called up from the Co-op Peewee C team as assistant captain Reilly Doney has been put on injured reserve with a broken right wrist. Doney suffered the injury at school while enjoying some well-earned “free-time” near the end of the day.
The Ravens seemed to be out-of-sorts at the start of the game with the Tyees taking an early lead fifteen seconds into the first period. There were moments when the team was executing what has become their trademark stifling defence and quick, short-pass transition game but they seemed to be few and far between. The Tyees were looking to avenge their 19-4 loss earlier in the season to the Ravens and were quite content to get into a rope-a-dope game while trying to take advantage of their offensive chances.
Goalie Caleb Vivier made several excellent saves to keep the score close. He also came out to move the ball up to teammates on the attack which helped preserve precious seconds on the shot clock. The Tyees scored their second goal before Will McLean scored the first goal for the Ravens at 11:04. The Tyees scored another to end the period with a 3-1 lead.
The second period saw a much more concerted effort from the Ravens. They made things difficult for the Tyees and were rewarded when Lukas Lund scored at 16:50.
Their renewed approach to team-defence helped to keep the Tyees power-play from being effective. The Tyees scored their fourth goal at 12:09 of the second and took a 4-2 lead into intermission.
Tyees coaching staff were overheard during the break trying to keep their team’s spirits up by trotting out the phrases from Coaching 101 playbook: “We’re the better team than they are. Let’s teach them to lose!”
The Ravens coaches, meanwhile, reminded the Ravens of the keys to their team defence; contacting, controlling, coordinating, communicating. Contact with the other player. Controlling where they are allowed to go or not go. Co-ordinating with teammates to work together to limit the offensive play and get the ball back. Communicating so teammates are aware of where a pick is, where help is coming from or where help is needed.
By this time the Ravens had shaken off their travel bug and were ready to rock and roll.
Thomas Dunn came into the game and made key saves to start the period.
Lukas Lund scored his second of the game at 15:40 to cue the Ravens comeback.
The scoresheet says Will McLean scored his second of the game at 12:59 but McLean confirmed that Zach Lontayao actually scored the goal to tie the score. Quin Nelson scored at 9:07 to seal the deal for a 5-4 Ravens victory.
Head coach Todd Fair said, “This team is working really hard on the defensive side of the floor, and it shows. Jeff and Diane Lontayao have brought their basketball coaching skills and some of their drills to the Peewee division and that’s made a huge difference.
“Players like Jasper, Lukas and Tyler Dickson have come in and fit right in because they understand what we’re trying to do as a team.
“We’re keeping the play to the outside and helping our goalies by getting sticks up to block many of their cross-court passes. Players know, accept and seem to enjoy the basic defensive philosophies we’re teaching them in practice. Our team is first in our division in goals against.
“Even after excluding three games that were forfeits (which resulted in one win and two ties), we’ve only allowed 43 goals in 12 games played. That’s less than four goals per game which is pretty amazing considering that we’ve got quite a few first year players and haven’t had a consistent line-up over the past few games.
“Our players deserve a lot of credit for doing the heavy-lifting on defence which springs our attack. We’re getting the ball to the right player at the right time…it’s really been fun to watch the team effort and growth to date.”