Okotokian climbs Mountain to Minto
Lacrosse: Ray Banister and Coquitlam edge Calgary in Jr. A west final
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 06:00 am
An Okotoks lacrosse player will be flying a different banner when he makes his third appearance in the last four years at the Minto Cup.
Ray Banister and the Coquitlam Adanacs dispatched the plucky Calgary Mountaineers in four games on Sunday to win the inaugural Jr. A western final and the right to advance to the national championship later this week.
“Alberta finds its success in outworking the opposition and that’s where we found our difficulty,” said Banister. “Calgary came in running 100 per cent at all times and we really had to step it up in the physical department and our work ethic. We couldn’t just rely on our talent.
“It’s good to get the series done with and move on to the next stage.”
Banister, a mid-season acquisition from the Okotoks Jr. Raiders, said the Mountaineers put up a stiff test in the best-of-five series. The Adanacs won the first two games of the series in comfortable fashion, 14-7 and 13-6, respectively.
Calgary, with Okotokian rookie Ryan McLean in the lineup, made history in its 9-8 victory in Game 3 of the series — the first by an Alberta team over B.C. opposition in a playoff format in more than a decade.
The Adanacs, six-time defending British Columbia Jr. A Lacrosse League champions, responded by closing out the series with a come-from-behind 7-6 triumph on Sunday.
“We didn’t start a lot of our players and maybe went in and underestimated them a bit,” Banister said. “They did show they could compete and won a game and that’s huge for Alberta. Alberta being my home province, it’s good to see they could compete.”
Coquitlam fought tooth and nail to make it out of its province. The Adanacs pulled off a minor upset in ousting the top-seed and arch-rival New Westminster Salmonbellies in an epic-seven game series.
“That final game was the biggest one for us, everyone had New West picked,” Banister said. “We had games where the offence would show up and the defence wouldn’t and had games where the defence would show up and the offence wouldn’t. That final game everyone stepped up and came to play for a Game 7.”
The Adanacs are now in for a step up in competition.
Awaiting the Adanacs at the Minto Cup is Ontario’s titleholders, the Six Nations Arrows. Six Nations swept the defending national champion Whitby Warriors in four games to earn the right to represent the Heartland Province.
The best-of-seven Minto Cup opens on Aug. 17 in nearby Langley.
“It’s going to be predominately a B.C. crowd so hopefully that will help us out,” said Banister, who previously appeared at the 2011 and 2013 Minto with the Raiders. “We have to take a look at what they’ve been doing for the past few weeks in playoffs and see if we can watch some film on them.
“We just have to practice our systems, get all of our stuff down before we can start specifying on what they’re going to do.”
Coquitlam is looking for its first national title since 2010, earning runner-up status in 2011 and 2012, while Six Nations last hoisted the Minto Cup in 2007.
For more information on the Minto Cup go to lacrosse.ca