The Innisfail Phantoms showed their dominant stripes as lacrosse action complete with bodychecks, crisp passing and stunning goals sent the season into high gear.
The midget team won three out of four games last week, beating the Olds Stingers, Lacoka Locos and Kneehill Bulldogs before losing to the Red Deer Chiefs 5-3 on May 12. The bantam team beat the Olds Stingers 16-2 at the Innisfail Twin Arena May 11.
“Lacrosse in Innisfail has definitely come a long way,” said Dez Lorencz, manager of the Bantam Phantoms. “In the last five to six years we've developed some really good lacrosse players.”
The bantam team beat the Red Deer Chiefs at home 17-6 May 1 before zapping the Stettler Thunder 11-5 May 5. The midget team took the Red Deer Chiefs 7-4 on May 3 and fossilized the Drumheller Raptors 12-1 May 4.
The strong performances started with big results by bantam and midget teams at the Icebreaker Tournament in St. Albert April 26-28, as both brought home the gold.
The peewee squad even won half their games at the West Edmonton Blues-hosted event.
After a long drive north, the bantam team was sluggish out of the gate against the Sherwood Park Titans.
“We had a slow start in the first period and took over in the second,” he said. “We have lots of players so we can run all 60 minutes.”
With 18 runners and two goalies, the team has the necessary muscle to wear down the opposition. Point players Teren Christensen and Bret Marshall led an aggressive offence that managed six points, with the defence only allowing two goals against.
The team came out ahead against the Westlock Rock 10-3 and hammered the Blues 9-3.
“We've had a good year so far,” he said. “We're a big strong team that likes to move the ball.”
The gold medal game against the Titans was more of a nail-biter.
After going ahead 5 -1, Innisfail players couldn't help but make dates with the sin bin.
“We ran into the penalty trouble,” Lorencz explains, noting the team was down 6 – 5 with 10 minutes left to play. “We won the draw and scored seconds later. It got the momentum going back our way.”
Phantoms launched into all-out attack mode scoring three goals to win 8-6.
“Any time you get to win a tournament it means a lot to the kids,” he said. “It takes a lot of work in the weekend.”
The Midget Phantoms also finished first overall, losing to the Westlock Rock 5-4 before slamming the North Edmonton Wizards 10-4, inching above the Fort Saskatchewan Rebels 6-4. In the gold medal match Innisfail once again edged out the team 4-2.
The peewee team beat the Parkland Posse 7-1 and the St. Albert Rams 4-3, ending up seventh overall. The novice team was unsuccessful in its bid to down Blackfalds.