Story courtesy of Scott Roblin, CHAT News
MEDICINE HAT, AB – Jubilation and heartbreak at the Kinplex on Sunday as the 2018 edition of ‘Lax to the Max’ came to a close with medal games.
This year’s lacrosse tournament featured 26 teams across four divisions, down from close to 40 teams in 2017 with one-year experiment of the tyke division.
That didn’t stop those in Medicine Hat from putting on a show, as a number of gold medal matches came down to the wire.
One of those was in the midget division, as the host Medicine Hat Sun Devils looked for gold at home against the Cranbrook Outlaws.
Cranbrook scored early and often in the third period, building up a 7-3 lead over the Sun Devils.
However, Medicine Hat began to chip away at the deficit with three straight markers to pull themselves within a single goal.
The host Sun Devils would have to settle for silver though, dropping a 7-6 decision against the Outlaws in front of their supporters.
Captain Ethan Machan led the offensive charge in the third period and said they just struggled to contain Cranbrook’s scoring ability.
“Obviously, they’re a high-skilled team and they’re really well coached, so they’re tough to play against,” said Machan. “But, there’s a lot of positives coming out of that game, a lot to grow from. Obviously, not the result we wanted but win some, lose some I guess.”
Capping off his season with a gold medal, Cranbrook assistant captain Michael Blackwell said the Outlaws were tactical in their play in the early part of the third to build up their lead.
“We started to move the ball and just didn’t worry about being tired,” said Blackwell. “Just played our game, and made sure that we could find the openings and go through the middle.”
Hundreds of fans watched close to 50 games at the Kinplex and Hockey Hounds Arena, in what organizers dub as the largest lacrosse tournament in southern Alberta.
Machan said the support from the Medicine Hat fans helped fuel the team through their four games of the tournament.
“There’s a great lacrosse community here in Medicine Hat, it’s really big,” said Machan. “It makes the game really fun to play in and it sure helps the boys out.”
The Bantam 1 Sun Devils had a story book ending to their home tournament, beating the Calgary Hornets 2 squad to win gold in the bantam division.
Novice gold was won by the Moose Jaw Mustangs 1 team, beating the Novice 2 Sun Devils who had to settle for silver.
Cranbrook won their second gold medal of the tournament in the peewee division meanwhile, taking down the Calgary Hornets 2 team.