Heat captures bantam provincial championship

The Penticton Heat struck gold in Nanaimo after defeating Vanderhoof for a lacrosse championship

THE PENTICTON HEAT bantam lacrosse team are provincial champions after defeating Vanderhoof. The team is as follows: Startng in the back row from the left: Noah Sweetgrass West

THE PENTICTON HEAT bantam lacrosse team are provincial champions after defeating Vanderhoof. The team is as follows: Startng in the back row from the left: Noah Sweetgrass West

It was a golden finish to the season for the Penticton Heat bantam C lacrosse team.

The Heat are provincial champions after defeating Vanderhoof 5-3.

“It all came together on the last day. It was an absolute surprise,” said Heat coach Dan MacDonald.

After finishing the Thompson Okanagan Minor Box Lacrosse season with seven wins in 12 games, MacDonald said achieving this makes it better. Along with playing system’s very well, the Heat received strong goaltending from Rowan Brown.

“The goalie was standing on his head,” said MacDonald. “He kept us in the game that’s for sure.”

Scoring for the Heat were Logan Cote with two goals, Rhys MacDonald, Jacob Stewart and Ethan Konno. MacDonald said the group was coachable and trusted each other.

With 30 seconds left on the clock, MacDonald told the group on the bench to watch the time as it ticked down. He then told them they are B.C. champs.

“That for them was elation. They lit up,” said MacDonald. “They were so happy with the end result. My son cried.”

MacDonald earned the Warrior Fair Play award, given to the player who exemplifies fair play and puts a great effort for the team and plays the game with integrity. Heat parents vote on that award. Allen was named to the tournament all-star team.

“He pushed it,” said MacDonald, adding that Allen came back from a broken wrist at the right time. “He has really good game sense and is a good player. He’s a really good player and fun to watch. He motivates with this play.”

With the gold medal win, the Heat went a perfect 5-0 in the championship. They opened by defeating Langley 5-3. Their second win came against Abbotsford 8-5 and scored three unanswered goals in the third period to bounce Vanderhoof 5-4. They defeated Port Coquitlam 9-5 to advance to the championship game.

Offensive leaders for the Heat were Cote, MacDonald and Canada.

“It was a good experience for the kids and coaches,” said MacDonald, who also had Levi Thompson, Tony Ramsey and Shane Clutterbuck coaching with him.

Heat midget team off to Prince George

With a rookie team, coach Dan Chetner is looking to get the best out of his group during the midget provincial championship.

Chetner likes how his team looks heading into this weekend, however, they face a challenge in taking on bigger, stronger and faster teams.

“As a group they have come a long way,” said Chetner. “Two years ago, they won one game that year. We went undefeated in the valley (this year). We’re really untested by local teams. We have good lacrosse players. It just ramps up for provincials. Our focus, my focus as coach going in is to get the best out of my team. Play to the best of our ability.”

Chetner said for his team to beat the other regional champions, they have to be at their best. To win a medal would be icing on the cake.