The Comox Valley Wild bantam B lacrosse team won the gold medal at provincials, July 18-21 in Saanich. Photo supplied

Underdog Wild wins provincials

After a long road to earn a wild card berth, the Comox Valley Wild bantam B team faced some well-rested opposition at lacrosse provincials July 18-21 in Saanich.

In their first game, Comox faced their rival Island Timbermen, the Island number one, who they bested at the Tim White Tournament earlier this season. The Wild came out strong and led the play throughout the first and second periods as the Timbermen found themselves three deep in the penalty box. The third period started with the Wild leading 5-1. They prevailed 8-1.

For their second game, the Wild played first time opponent Ridge Meadows Burrards. This was a nail-bitter as shots and goals were exchanged evenly. The Burrards opened the scoring after five minutes of play, but the Wild quickly tied the game. The Wild pulled ahead 7-5 after two periods, but the Burrards tied it with three minutes left in the third at 7-7. A Wild penalty late in the third was not looking good for the team, but they remained disciplined and sank a shorthanded goal to take an 8-7 win.

The third contest was against the Penticton Heat. This match saw a scoreless first period until the Wild found the back of the net with a shorthanded goal. The Heat quickly answered to tie the game. The teams exchanged a goal each in the second with the period ending 2-2. The Heat pulled ahead by one in the third. The Wild were penalized for too many men with 13 minutes remaining, but the offence powered through the Heat defence to score shorthanded. Comox pulled ahead 5-3 with two minutes remaining and stayed strong to finish the game on that note to win their pool.

In the cross-over game against the #2 team in the other pool, the Wild played Lower Mainland champion Sunshine Coast Rapids. Comox Valley took an early 2-0 lead after a Rapids double penalty, and pulled ahead 4-0 in the second until the Rapids scored late in the period. The Wild continued to pull away in a physical third period to end the match with a decisive 7-2 decision, punching their ticket to the gold medal game.

They again faced Penticton in the final. The Wild took no penalties in 60 minutes of play. They opened scoring by sinking the first goal with five minutes remaining in the first. A time clock buzzer-beater goal early in the second period had the Wild leading by two. The Heat scored at the 14-minute mark of the second. The first penalty of the game went to the Heat with 13 minutes remaining in the third, followed quickly by a second Heat penalty. The Wild called a timeout with one minute left in the second Heat penalty and 11 minutes left in the game. The timeout paid off and the Wild power play was able to take a two-goal lead. The Heat scored with a minute left in the game to make it 3-2. With 11 seconds left, the Heat called a timeout, pulled their goalie and took possession of the ball for their last attack but the Wild held on to win 3-2 and bring home the gold.

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