The Midget Ravens lacrosse team travelled to Edmonton Alberta July long weekend to participate in the first ever Edmonton Rush Capital Cup. The Edmonton Rush are the professional National Lacrosse League team in Edmonton who won the Championship this season. In the past Thompson has travelled to Calgary for a tournament but decided to try Edmonton this year.
The team was made up of fourteen runners and one goalie. As there was no goalie from Thompson able to attend, a goalie from Edmonton was suggested and was a welcome addition to the team. Two players from Winnipeg also joined the team in Andy Szun and Owen Sorobey, and an addition from The Pas in Tyler Custer.
The round robin has a unique scoring system. One point is awarded for a period win, and two points for winning the game, so a total of five points is available per game, meaning a maximum of fifteen at the end of the three round robin games. The two teams with the most points after the round robin moved to the finals which would be played at Rexall Place (home of the Edmonton Rush and the Edmonton Oilers).
The first round robin game was played against the Edmonton Locos. This was the first time for this team to participate together fully together. Closing in at the end of the first period it was tied 1 – 1. With twenty-eight seconds left Andy Szun sniped the corner from the left side to put the ravens up 2 – 1. This turned out to be a big goal as it gave the Ravens one point for the period rather than one half of a point. After two periods the score was 6 – 5 for the Ravens, and a half point awarded. The Locos outscored the Ravens 5 -3 in the third period, winning the game 10 - 9, and the precious two points that go along with the victory. The coaches however were happy with the in game improvements and felt like the team gelled quickly. Jonah Babulic, Owen Sorobey, and Taylor Ritchie each had two goals for the Ravens. After one game the Ravens had 1.5 points in the round robin standings.
Game two saw the Ravens come alive with a 21 – 5 victory over the Wizards. The Ravens won all five points available. Draydon Day had a great game scoring a hat trick, one on a nice assist from Braydon Vallance. Steven Goran also scored two goals and had an assist.
Game three was against the Calgary Axemen. This was the final round robin game and the Ravens knew they needed 3.5 points to secure second place. There was no score in the first period, with the Axemen’s goalie turning aside numerous great chances as the Ravens really took it to the Axemen. The coaches suggested during the break that the players tried changing things up by shooting low on the large goalie as he was very strong at guarding the top of the net. Thompson got on top early in the second with a goal by Owen Sorobey on a low shot. This opened the flood gates for a while as Thompson scored five goals to go up 5 – 0. This also got the full period point and the Ravens now has 1.5 of the required 3.5 points. The only thing left to do was to hold on for the victory for the two points that go with it and a shot in the finals. The Ravens were outscored 2 – 1 in the third but held on for the 6 – 2 victory and a shot in the finals at Rexall Place. Owen Sorobey led the way with three goals, Tyrel Charlton added two himself, and Trent Laycock helping out with two assists.
The Ravens were set to play the Axemen in the finals at 10:30 Monday. Upon arrival at Rexall Place, representatives of the Edmonton Rush escorted the players and coaches to their dressing room which happened to be the NHL visitors dressing room and the regular room for the Edmonton Rush. It is fair to say it was a step up from the players normal experiences, and right away the TV was on and the music was booming.
The entire team was formerly introduced and after the national anthem, play began. Once play began you could see the Axemen had come to play, looking like a different team from the prior game. Before the Ravens knew it they were down 4 – 0 after only five minutes of play. The coaches reminded the players that there was still 55 minutes to go, but deep down knew if this got any further out of hand it would just be too tough to climb back. They made a slight change on their defence, playing tighter to the man and over playing the stick side to reduce the number of outside shots that seemed to be troubling Jackson in net. Tyrel Charlton scored for the Ravens while the Axemen got one more to lead 5 -1 after the first. The Ravens kept working hard at both ends of the floor, all players playing to their full potential. This great team work resulted in five second period goals, two on a key power play opportunity, and a 6 – 5 lead as the Axemen could not get away the outside shot and were not too eager to come into the punishing defence that the Ravens were playing.
The Ravens scored three goals to the Axemen’s two to hold on for a 9 – 7 victory, and the championship in the first ever Capital Cup. Steven Goran scored on a great individual effort from a face off right after the Ravens had pulled to within two goals to bump the cushion up to three (a small lead in the game of lacrosse compared to hockey). Owen Soroby had four goals in the gold medal game.
Coach Brad Ritchie, Fred Goran, Mike Ross, and Dave Babulic were very impressed with the compete level of the Ravens, and how much they improved over their short time together. “It was a hard working group with varying levels of experience. “The team worked very well together and supported one another. It was a pleasure to coach this group” said Brad Ritchie. The Edmonton Rush did a fantastic job of hosting the tournament.