The excitement level at the Carmichael Arena on Sunday could not have been higher as Mckayla Bell decided the GSLA (Greater Sudbury Lacrosse Association) Tyke Houseleague final, finding the back of the net in a shootout to lift the Rock to a 6-5 win over the Roughnecks.
Unfortunately, none of the ensuing championship encounters would come close to re-creating that drama as the loop wrapped up the more recreational component of their spring and summer offerings with the weekend in-house playdowns.
André Beaudry scored four times for the tyke Rock, with William Ranger adding the remaining goal while William Gouchie (3) and Gareth Mead (2) replied in a losing cause for the Roughnecks.
The Peewee Roughnecks earned a little retribution for their younger namesakes, closing out the day with a 6-0 win of their own, over the Rush, receiving valuable contributions throughout the roster, a lineup that proved to be extremely balanced, in spite of featuring just four competitive Rockhound players.
“My friend, Caleb (Mead), he got me into it,” said first year lacrosse player Lukas Coufal, who looked more and more at ease with every passing game, as the season progressed. “He said it was a fun sport and all, so I went to the open house at my school and really liked it.”
The reality for the average 10 year old, such as Coufal, is that box lacrosse can certainly appear somewhat intimidating, until players begin to grasp the nuances of exactly how to handle the physicality of the sport.
“I didn't know much about the cross-checking, but once I saw it, I started doing it,” explained the grade five student at St James Elementary. “On defense, you want to keep your stick out, so they can't ram into you and make you fall down. On offense, you try and protect yourself with your shoulder pads, and you rub against them.”
As a team, the Roughnecks executed their game plan to perfection, especially at their own end of the rink. “On defence, this game, we did really well, because we had three on the outside and two on the inside of the house,” said Coufal. “But we just did it better this time.”
Josh Cholette (2), Berkley Pitura, Russell Ranger, Alex Rietze and Ryker Young all hit the mark for the Roughnecks, with Brayden Paradis maintaining a clean slate in net.
In Novice action, a hat trick from Emmett Croome and two goal performances by Hunter Currie and Jack Deshaw helped to propel the Rock to a 9-2 win over the Roughnecks. Connor Paris and Hugo Drouin rounded out the offense for the winners, with Logan Moran and Josh Bell pulling the trigger for the Roughnecks.
And while the Bantam final was never really in doubt – the Rock blanked the Rush by a final count of 8-0 – it was still a big game for Ian Erb-Glass, as the 12 year old recorded his first shutout of the season in his very last outing, in this, his first year in the league.
“I had just finished my hockey season and felt that I needed to do more sports,” recalled Erb-Glass of his motivation for joining the GSLA crew. “I just decided to try lacrosse. I wanted to be a player, but we needed a goalie.”
Though Erb-Glass acknowledged that he dons the pads in the winter, as well, most recently with the SMHA Lightning squad, he also noted that being comfortable between the pipes in hockey does not necessarily carry-over seamlessly to the lacrosse setting.
“There's no going down as a goalie in lacrosse,” he said. “You just kind of stand up and hope that you get hit with the ball.” That might over-simplify the position, just a touch, as Erb-Glass admitted to one particular area of his game that he felt excelled in the gold medal victory.
“I feel like I went out more, or just enough, not too much out, but not too much in,” he said. “It was kind of like the sweet spot.” Pacing the Rock attack was Ashton Eadie, with a six goal effort, all while older brother Jared provided a helping hand to the rookie goaltender. Brodie Neboneionquet drilled home two goals of his own, joining Eadie on the scoresheet.