The Penticton Heat Bantam Lacrosse team are looking to take their experience back into league play after finishing third in the 2015 Barn Burner Tournament last weekend.
The Heat went 2-2 for the tournament, going up against some unfamiliar teams like the Langley Thunder and the Abbotsford Warriors.
“We like to see where we stack up and then we take that back into league play and hopefully we can qualify for provincials with that,” said Dan MacDonald, head coach of the Heat. “The tournaments is a good way for our guys to see what else was out there and bring our game up a little bit.”
The Heat battled some nerves in their first game of the tournament against Abbotsford, but rallied back to beat Langley 4-6 on May 23.
“We were fine, Abbotsford was the only one we didn’t play very well against, it kind of was the first game jitters,” MacDonald said.
The Heat, sitting second in the Interior Division, return to league play on Monday in Rutland when they go up against Kelowna. Soon it will be crunch time for the Heat with four more league games left in the season.
The goal is to qualify for provincials in July. Many of the current Bantam Heat squad were in provincials last year at the PeeWee level and MacDonald said they hope to repeat that success at a new level.
“The big goal is provincials for this group of kids,” MacDonald said “We’re trying to either move up or hold our own right now.”
The Heat are looking to get some revenge on Shuswap as the season draws to a close.
“We haven’t been able to beat them. We’re trying to get ahead on them,” MacDonald said.
He said standouts during the hometown tournament included Cody Wilson, Rhys MacDonald, Connor Nohr and Aiden Canada due to their ability to get the ball in the net and kill penalties.
The tournament was also an opportunity to give some of the fresh faces on the Heat some experience with the game.
“Our team is kind of interesting because we have six or seven new players to lacrosse,” MacDonald said. “Pretty much everybody knows what to do in Bantam, so these kids have a steep learning curve. They are all holding their own and slowly but surely learning and working together as a team.”
The aspect of the game MacDonald is focusing on most is moving and working as a team, which he says hasn’t been too challenging.
“It’s interesting with kids that age, they just know how to mould,“ MacDonald said. “I think the whole team as a whole did really, really well. They worked well and learned a lot.”