June 21st, 2024

Sun Devils have home floor advantage for playoff series

By Sean Rooney on July 7, 2018.


Getting to the playoffs was the goal.

Now the Medicine Hat Sun Devils want to get to the next round.

The Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League junior B team hosts the Calgary Axemen Saturday (5 p.m., Kinplex) and Sunday (11 a.m., Kinplex) in a best-of-three Tier 2 series, and they’re eager to see what they can do.

“We’re just going to stay with the course,” said head coach Chris Loran. “We’ve put in a lot in our program to strengthen our depth in our roster, whether that’s on the defensive end or the offensive end, and we’re going to continue playing our game. It’s reaped a lot of success over the last eight to 10 games and we don’t want to change any of our motion going forward.”

Has it ever. Medicine Hat has won seven of its past eight, including a record-setting 30-8 win at Strathmore June 24. No Sun Devils team has ever scored that many goals in a game.

“It was a high point for Medicine Hat Lacrosse, that’s for sure,” said Loran, now in his second year coaching the team.

Momentum is also in the Sun Devils’ favour in the head-to-head matchup. After losing their opener 11-6 to the Axemen April 14, they evened up the season series with a 17-12 home win May 6. Calgary’s only 3-3 in its last six games, but like Medicine Hat they’ve only lost to other playoff-bound teams.

Their records are similar — 11-7 for the Devils, 10-8 for the Axemen — while individual stats aren’t far apart either.

Zack Wilson leads the Sun Devils with 62 goals and 98 points despite only having played 13 games.

Aidan McLean is second in points with 83, while Izaak Loran (66 points), Damon Phillips (57) and Daniel Drefs (56) are all averaging more than three points per game.

The Axemen are led by 33-goal scorer Justin McAadam, who racked up 62 points in a mere eight games. Three-point-per-game players include Eamon Berteotti (53 points), Kyle Thomas (52), Phil Moroney (46), Ben Loschuk (35) and Hunter Dairon (33).

“We’ve got a pretty strong offensive core, for sure,” said Loran. “We’re pulling from all facets, whether it’s the primaries or the secondaries, they seem to be getting help from all angles.”

The weekend will end early Sunday afternoon even if the teams split the first two games. Instead of playing a third, they’ll just have an intermission and play one more 20-minute period. Winner of the 20-minute session takes the series.

High River (17-1) and Innisfail (16-2) got first-round byes. Red Deer (15-3) plays Olds (7-11) in the other first-round series.

Teams will be re-seeded for the semifinal round, which will also be a best-of-three series at the court of the top-ranked team. Loran said those series would take place July 21 and 22.

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