Remarkable run ends at league finals
Lacrosse: Okotoks Sr. C Erratic bounced in championship series
By: By Remy Greer
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 14, 2013 06:00 am
This Cinderella story didn’t quite have the Hollywood ending.
The underdog Okotoks Senior C Erratic’s dramatic run to a championship came to a halt when the top-seeded Blackfalds Silverbacks earned the final series three-game sweep, in a 10-8 win Thursday night in Calgary.
“To come from a bunch of guys standing around on the floor and the coach asks what do you want to do and we just say ‘we’re happy to make the playoffs’ to not only make the playoffs, but to beat the Irish and give (Blackfalds) a pretty competitive run at the end it’s great,” said Erratic player/manager Leon Perrier. “I wanted the medal to be gold, but it was silver.
“For about 30 seconds you tear up when you see the other guys get the medals, but after that you’ve got to walk out and hold your head high.”
The Erratic lost the first game of the series 19-8 and were edged 11-7 in the second game of the series, both of which were in Red Deer.
Okotoks had a challenging, albeit brief, road to the championship series in the form of a one-game semifinal showdown with the South division kingpins, the Calgary Irish.
Calgary were firm favourites, boasting an 11-2-1 record, compared to Okotoks’ 7-6-1, and a 4-0 season series advantage on the Erratic.
Anything can happen in the post-season. Behind a steely effort in goal from Pat Brown and an eight-point effort from Dan Zentner, the Erratic took the semifinal 11-9 on July 31.
“You always hear about teams in professional leagues that come in first place, that win President’s trophies and fall off in the first and second round,” McLeod said. “All I can say is the guys on our team fought from day one all the way until the end.
“I’ve never been on a team that’s progressed to a peak at exactly the right time like we have just based on dedication and character and hard work.”
Some feistiness with the division foes up Highway 2 was also a necessary ingredient.
“There’s not a lot of love lost between us and Calgary,” McLeod said. “It was a frustrating season playing them and losing four times. There’s always a lot of tension between an Okotoks team and a Calgary team.”
The Erratic snuck into the playoffs through the back door by picking up a victory in its regular season finale with the Silverbacks in a must-win-situation.
“We didn’t make it easy on ourselves,” McLeod said. “We had to go up to Blackfalds and pulled off the win with a 9-8 victory in a hard fought game.”
It’s been a remarkable transformation in one calendar year for the Erratic, last place finishers a year ago as beleaguered also-rans on the outside of the playoff picture to division champions.
“Last year we were bottom of the barrel, we were 3-11 and were the laughing stack of the league,” Perrier said. “This year I think when we came into it, everybody thought they were just going to walk over us.”
Perrier attributed to the evolution of the Senior C outfit to ramping up off-season training and the introduction of first-year head coach Ian MacDonald.
“In the winter, we started to do one night a week where we would have drop-ins and used it as a recruiting run,” Perrier said. “Ian MacDonald our coach was frankly instrumental in forming the team. We had a bunch of guys that were playing last year, but we didn’t really have anyone in that driver’s seat that really understood the game or work with the individuals in our age range.”