Winning wasn’t the primary focus for the Penticton Heat bantam lacrosse teams during their Barn Burner tournament.
However, the Heat B team did get some pay back against the New Westminster Salmonbellies, who doubled them 6-3 in their first game at Memorial Arena Friday. After losing 5-4 to the Langley Thunder and 2-0 to the North Okanagan Legends, the Heat bounced back to defeat the Salmonbellies in the bronze medal game. Tayedra Koppe scored the winning goal Sunday morning.
“It was very rewarding to see that she was able to complete one of our plays that we keep going over and over in practice,” said Heat B coach Cliff Shortreed. “That is one of the highlights.”
What was important to the team according Shortreed is that they competed hard the entire weekend. He was pleased to see the players try to execute the set plays they worked on.
“That was really rewarding for all of us in the end.”
Shortreed said what his players learned was to play smart, which they benefited from.
“They realized when they play smarter, it’s easier on them,” said Shortreed, whose team has won three of four games in the regular season. “In the final game they did that. It was the first tournament, the team is still coming together. I’m very proud of our squad. It was a huge accomplishment to compete with this calibre of kids.”
In the B final, the Langley Thunder defeated the North Okanagan Legends 4-3.
Heat A coach Dan Chetner watched his players perform as a team.
“They are still relatively unfamiliar with each other, unfamiliar with the systems,” said Chetner, who is working with seven rookies.
The Heat opened the weekend with an 8-2 loss to Surrey, who would go on to defeat Prince George 5-4 in the A final. The Heat then lost to the Ridge Meadows Burrards 6-1, and 4-2 to the North Shore Eagles.
“I thought that my team got progressively better as the tournament went on,” he said.
What impressed Chetner, who coached the peewee A2 Heat to a provincial title last year, was the effort his players put in. He said the players showed commitment. Now the coaches will work on their development process. Chetner saw a willingness by the players to outwork other teams. The areas that need improvement are passing and catching. There is also room for players to get more comfortable with each other, said Chetner.
“I thought it was a great tournament,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to bring in a lot of out-of-towners. Teams that we don’t normally get to see or play.”
Feedback was that most teams were satisfied. He also received comments on how they play, especially their physicality.
“Definitely our game is more physical,” said Chetner, who received mixed responses. “One team in particular was upset. It’s just experienced lacrosse people observing that there are some differences in how the game is played in different areas of the province. Some like that. Others don’t. The Thompson/Okanagan play a physical brand. It has developed to a greater degree here than it has in the Lower Mainland. It serves us well”
He said Vancouver teams have better individual skills.
“Their stick skills are better,” he said, agreeing that Lower Mainland teams play more of a finesse game.