The Comox Valley Wild Bantam lacrosse team earned a silver medal at the provincial championships July 20 and 21 in Delta to cap a successful 2013 campaign.
During the regular season, the team finished first in its league with a record of 13-3, won a tournament in Nanaimo with a record of 5-0, finished second on the Island during playoffs with a record of 5-2, and went 4-1 in provincials. Overall, they went 27-6 this season.
The Wild earned a provincial berth by beating Saanich and Oceanside in the playoffs but lost a three-game series to the Cowichan Thunder in the Island final. Both teams qualified for provincials.
In provincial pool play, the Wild faced top-seeded Abbotsford, North Delta and Shuswap. In game one, the Wild beat Abbotsford 12-6. Brandon Playford, Marshall Pay, Luke Hutchings and Levi Hoffman scored a number of goals on a shell-shocked Abbotsford goaltender. In the second game against North Delta, the Wild put forth another strong effort led by goaltender Diego Such, who stood tall in the net and took away a number of scoring chances. Nathan Armstrong, Geoffrey Preiss and Owen Shears had strong games for the Wild. Carter Mulligan was strong in the face-off circle, winning a number of possessions. In the final game of pool play, the Wild defeated Shuswap 9-5 in a fairly lopsided game that allowed head coach Warren Dickie to rest many key players.
“These tournaments are a grind, with potentially five games in three days, so if you get a chance to spread out the minutes to all of your players, it might give you an advantage later in the tournament,” said Dickie.
Axel Noringseth, Zach Toovey, Levi Smith-Landsell and Trentin Douglas took advantage of the extra time and had strong efforts. Kale Best had one of his strongest games of the season.
Prior to the crossover semifinal game, Hutchings was recognized as the Wild’s Fair Play nominee and was named to the division’s All-Star team.
The Wild beat Langley 9-5 in a tight semi. The team amassed 32 minutes in penalties and benefitted from strong penalty killing of Braeden Hemingway, Jordan Dewhirst, Andre Sutter and Keenan Toal. Such had another strong effort in net.
The Wild played the gold medal game against Vancouver without captain Marshall Pay due to a BC Lacrosse rule that stipulates a player who amasses four major penalties in a season serve a one-game suspension. At the end of the first, the game was tied at two. Hoffman led the Wild to a 5-3 lead going into the final period, which they started shorthanded. Vancouver won the game 7-6.
“I’m proud of how our boys played. They could have buckled under the pressure of not having Marshall for this game, but they rallied around him and gave one of their best efforts as a team,” said assistant coach Duane Hemingway.
– Comox Valley Wild Bantam Lacrosse