Hits were hard and fierce during the Penticton Heat Barn Burner lacrosse tournament at McLaren Arena May 7 to 9.
Equally impressive were the goals scored that left goalies wondering how in the world a hole was found through their Michelin Man-sized equipment.
“The tournament was really good. Good games,” said Penticton Heat team 1 coach Dan Chetner.
Capturing the eighth annual tourney in the A and B divisions were North Okanagan and North Shore. Both Heat teams captured bronze. Results that Chetner and B team coach Dan Ricard were happy with. Both Heat teams feature first-year players and the early season competition provided the chance for players to work on their skills with four games in three days.
Chetner’s team defeated Chilliwack 11-0.
“They improved their work ethic and their team play,” said Chetner of the game against Chilliwack. “Most important is that they are having fun. We want that all the time.”
While parents play the role of secondary coaches in the stands of McLaren, the Barn Burner tourney allowed the coaches to see significant improvement.
Ricard’s group earned sweet revenge against North Okanagan winning 6-4 after losing to them in the first game by the same score.
“It was a complete turnaround,” said Ricard. “They had a lot of heart and desire.”
Ricard also liked that his players showed a willingness to get loose balls and go in the dirty areas. They worked to get ball possession and won battles. They also adjusted their breakout, which included coming back and playing stronger defence. Ricard felt the main thing his young players learned from the tournament is having that team feeling. He saw his players bonding.
“Hard work is going to win any game,” said Ricard, a first-year coach, who will be assisted by Chris Pond and Mitch Ricard, who are proving to be popular mentors. “I think they figured that out.”
Game MVPs during the weekend were Austin Swanson, who the coaches chose as the team’s captain, Darius Venables-Alex, Ty Ricard and Matts Bratton.
The games on the weekend also gave Ricard an assessment of his group, from which he was able to finalize the team. The rookies include Jace Canada, Bratton, Freddy Harbinson and Bryn Carter.
In having the mix Ricard has, the Heat coach feels the veteran players can lead by example and show what to do, especially with stick skills.