By Woodard, Dale on July 17, 2017.
The Lethbridge Bert & Macs Barracudas are heading north looking for a shot at redemption.
The Junior B Tier II lacrosse squad downed the High River Heat 13-6 in Game 2 of the team’s Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League semifinal series Sunday afternoon at Henderson Arena to earn a 2-0 sweep following a 16-7 win Saturday night.
With the Heat beat, the Barracudas are Sherwood Park-bound for the four-team RMLL provincial championship starting Friday, going for the gold after settling for silver at last year’s provincials.
Fittingly, the team that downed the Cudas in last year’s provincial final – the Olds Mavericks – will also be in Sherwood Park and, equally as fitting the two northern reps – the host Sherwood Park Titans and the Lakeland Heat – will make return appearances this weekend.
“It’s the exact same four teams as last year,” said Barracudas head coach Cam Pilling. “Junior hockey, junior lacrosse, it’s not surprising to have those same teams year after year. It says a lot about those organizations, their coaching staff, players and management. We’re excited to get back up there and see those same teams again. If we play our game, we should be fine.”
Needing one more win to clinch their trip to finals Sunday afternoon, the Barracudas had to battle back from an early deficit as the team’s offence and man advantage units starting clicking with nine second period goals en route to the win.
“We started a little bit slow again today,” said Pilling, whose team also rode a second period explosion in Saturday’s win. “It was 4-3 Heat after one. Our second period was really strong. We got some power play opportunities and we scored on the power play. That, again, was the big thing. Our scorers can convert.”
Cody Firth and Jaxson Geddes each scored three goals for Lethbridge Sunday.
Brock Draper, Tate White, Tommy West, Ethan Heidt, Cole Stroud, Cole Tait and Nathan McMurray added one each for the Barracudas.
Quentin Carlson was in goal for the win for Lethbridge.
“We took that opportunity in the second period and really got on our game, we took advantage of it and came out strong,” said Cudas veteran and assistant captain Chace Wiley.
As they get ready to head to Sherwood Park later this week, Sunday afternoon was about winding down after two games in less than 24 hours.
“It’s pretty good, I think everyone is tired,” said Pilling. “I think a playoff series is always tough. It’s very taxing. But our guys are excited (and) we’re focused on practice on Tuesday night.
“We have to be very business-like in terms of our approach at practice, we need to be sharp,” said Pilling. “I think our player leadership will carry the pace at practice. We have two practices left and then we go up north and put our best foot forward, that’s all we can do.”
The Barracudas will open the finals Friday night against the same team that edged them 11-10 in the gold medal game last year when they take on the Mavericks.
Ideally, they’ll bring home a different result.
“We’re going to go up north and hopefully take it all, as a team and as a Cuda,” said Wiley.
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