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Lacrosse News

Stingers split games
By Barry Williams
May 1, 2006
Olds Albertan

In Rocky Mountain Junior Lacrosse League action played last week, the Olds Stingers split a pair of games.
Playing in Chestermere Lake on Wednesday, May 3, the Drillers were defeated by the Calgary Rustlers 7-3. Meanwhile, the Stingers downed the Strathmore Venom 11-3 in a game played at the Olds Sportscomplex on Sat. May 6th.
After the week's play, the Stingers' record now stands at 2 wins and 1 loss.
Play in the game against the Rustlers was not reflected by the scoreboard as the team's were evenly matched on the floor.
When the buzzer sounded to end play in the first period, the Rustlers held a slim 3-2 lead. in the middle frame the Rustlers took advantage of a few bounces and connected with four unanswered goals to virtually salt away the victory. In desperation the Stingers tried to mount a comeback in the final stanza but were denied as they blinked the red light just once.
According to Stingers' head coach, Stan Cheek, the difference in the game was the Rustlers ability to pounce on the loose balls and capitalize on their scoring opportunities.
"They (Rustlers) really took advantage of our mistakes in the second period," Cheek said.
"In the third period we gave it an honest effort to get back in the game but we couldn't capitalize on our scoring chances," Cheek said.
"It was a good game and could have gone either way," Cheek added.
In the second period, the Rustlers scored three goals in three minutes and Cheek noted the Stingers couldn't bounce back.
Notching the goals for the Stingers with singletons were, Owen Weimer, Brennan Pollock and Chris Lenfesty.
Despite the loss, Cheek is confident the Stingers will be competitive with the city teams.
"I don't think the two teams from Calgary will be much stronger than us, it's a fairly even league," Cheek added.
Cheek said he was satisfied with the work ethic of the Stingers against the Rustlers.
"They didn't outwork us, we stayed with them throughout the entire game," Cheek said.
In Olds against the Venom, the Stingers struck for six unanswered goals in the second period to secure the victory.
Except for the second frame, the teams were evenly matched as they were deadlocked at 2-2 after twenty minutes of play. In the third stanza, the Stingers outscored the Venom 3-1.
Once the Stingers had a comfortable lead on the Venom, mid-way through the second period, the Stingers took control by working the 30 second shot clock to their advantage.
Cheek indicated the Stingers' ability to control the ball was the difference in the game.
"We held onto the ball until the last seconds were ticking down on the shot clock," Cheek said.
And the Stingers didn't rush their shots on the Venom goal as they took their time offensively and worked the ball around until they had an excellent scoring opportunity.
Because the Stingers have fast runners, they can quickly clear the ball out of their own end therefore allowing them to have time to set up a scoring opportunity before the shot clock runs out.
Because of the strong forechecking by the Stingers, the Venom were unable to set up scoring opportunities and were forced to hand over ball control when the time ran out on the shot clock.
"When a team controls the shot clock, they have a better chance at winning the game," Cheek said indicating ball control is one of the Stingers strong points.
In a robust physical game, the Stingers notched a pair of goals on the powerplay and added a pair of markers while killing penalties.
Josh Cheek paced the Stingers offensively by notching four goals while Chris Lenfesty and Keith Winters chipped in with hat tricks. Rookie Tanner Stockdale added a singleton.
Goaltender, Eddie Richards, playing his first game in net, turned in a solid performance between the pipes for the Stingers.
On May 16, the Stingers travel to Calgary to take on the Calgary Mavericks. Next home action is on the June2-4 weekend when the Stingers will host the northern teams in a tournament setting.

Venom stung by Stingers
By Barry Williams
May 1, 2006
Olds Albertan

It appears it took the lacrosse box to determine if a snake's venomous bite is more potent than a spider's sting.
Playing in their first 2006 Rocky Mountain Junior Lacrosse League game, the Olds Stingers stunned the Strathmore Venom 6-4 in action played at the Olds Sportsplex on Sat. April, 29.
It was a game featuring everything about the sport of box lacrosse, thunderous body checks, a few scrums and exciting fast end-to-end rushes.
For the first game of the season, Stingers' coach Stan Cheek was satisfied with the players' effort.
"For the first game of the season, I thought it was a good game," said Cheek.
"I thought the players did a great job out on the floor," added Cheek, noting it will take some time for the players to get their kinks out of their game.
According to Cheek, the Stingers have been training at the Olds High School and because of the limited space in the gym, the practices have been focused on the basics of the game and conditioning.
"We really haven't had much time at working on plays, our practices have been quite simple up to this time," Cheek added.
But now with the Stingers moving into the Olds Sports Complex, Cheek indicated they will have the opportunity to work on different drills and playmaking at upcoming practices.
Because the Stingers are dressing mostly experienced players, Cheek noted the players were satisfied with their performance against the Venom.
"There was nothing fancy in the way we played, it was a fairly basic game," Cheek added.
"It went good and we had the right result," Cheek noted.
Because the game was played in the small arena at the sports Complex, Cheek indicated the team's true speed failed to be showcased.
"Ball control is very important in this game and we have players who know how to control the ball and prevent it from being turned over," Cheek noted.
"One thing we will be working on in upcoming practices is passing."
"A team can move the ball forward more quickly if they have good passing," noted Cheek.
"We're a very fast team and we can move the ball quickly down the court," Cheek added.
"We also have size and this will help us in our defensive zone," Cheek indicated.
Although the Stingers have experienced players on their roster, four players are relative new comers to the game.
"These four players have never played an organized game of lacrosse but they are fitting into the line-up," Cheek said.
Cheek indicated the veteran players are more than willing to work with the newcomers and they are starting to create a bond.
"All the players on the team are good friends," said Cheek indicating, they have created a bond which is essential to a successful team.
"Our players are very dedicated, they're here playing the game because they want to be," Cheek added.
Although the ink on the 2006 Rocky Mountain Junior Lacrosse League is barely dry, Cheek is confident the Stingers will be among the top teams in the league.
"Our experience is one of our strong points this year," noted Cheek.
Although the junior lacrosse program is fairly new, Cheek noted the community is very supportive.
"This year the Mayfair Cinema and D&S Color Printing and Promotions are our major sponsors," Cheek said.
And the Stingers are not shying away from support whether it be financial or volunteering to assist the team in any capacity.
"Anyone interested in helping out with our program can always contact me," Cheek added.
This season, the Stingers will play 18 games.
On June 3-4, the Stingers will be hosting crossover league play where the northern teams will journey down to Olds to play the Stingers.
Notching the goals for the Stingers against Strathmore were Josh Cheek, Ryan Tracey, Brendan Pulse, Chris Lensessty and Brad Williams.

Lacrosse gaining popularity
By Barry Williams
April 2, 2006
Olds Albertan

Canada's national sport, lacrosse, is becoming quite popular in central Alberta.
And with the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League ready to commence play in all divisions, the Olds Junior Stingers are preparing to hit the box floor.
For the past three weeks, the Stingers have been holding regular practices in the Olds Jr.Sr High School gymnasium.
According to Stingers' head coach, Stan Cheek, twenty-five players from the central Alberta area have attended the weekly work-outs and it appears the roster this year will be a mix of veteran and rookie players.
"We have several players graduating from the Midget ranks this year and I believe they will be welcome additions to the team," Cheek said.
Because the Stingers have been confined to gymnasium practices, Cheek's evaluation of the team is limited.
"Practicing at the high school gym is really tough," Cheek said, noting the players are relegated to basic fundamentals and conditioning.
Next week the Stingers will commence practices in the Bowden arena and will occupy the venue until they are able to move into the Olds Sports Complex.
Because some players have work and job commitments, Cheek expects to card the maximum 22 player limit and hold affiliation rights with local Midget players.
"This year we will be able to dress two goalies and 20 runners for each game," Cheek added.
With the addition of another goaltender and runners capable of playing both ends of the box, Cheek believes the Stingers will be poised with depth and balance. Because the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League is basically divided into two separate Junior leagues, Cheek indicated the Stingers will be playing teams of the same caliber.
"All of the teams in our league are comprised of players from rural Alberta," Cheek added.
"Because we are not playing the city teams, our division will be evenly matched," Cheek noted.
Teams in the Junior B division of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League consist of the Olds Stingers, Brooks Drillers, Strathmore Venom, Lethbridge Burracudas, Medicine Hat Sun Devils, Okotoks Ice, Cranbrook Colts and Pincher Creek.
Meanwhile, all lacrosse teams associated with the Central Alberta Minor Lacrosse League have noticed a spiked interest in the sport.
Local minor lacrosse associations, Innisfail, Olds, Didsbury, Carstairs, Crossfield and Three Hills are reporting an increase in registrations this season.
Most member teams playing in the Central Alberta Minor Lacrosse League will field teams from Tykes, Novice, Pee Wee, Bantam and Midget levels.
Several area teams have held clinics for all divisions and the response has been overwhelming.
And according to Cheek, the area minor lacrosse associations have been a major contributor to the Stingers.
"All of our players are graduates of the local minor lacrosse teams," said Cheek.
And because the junior lacrosse players have previous experience with the game the transition into a higher caliber is made easier indicated Cheek.
Play in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League is expected to start in mid April and will continue until the end of July.
Alberta Junior B lacrosse provincials are scheduled in Strathmore.

Calgary Roughnecks championship should benefit local lacrosse

By Barry Williams
May 9, 2004

      Area lacrosse teams have a reason to celebrate, a National Lacrosse League championship claimed by the Calgary Roughnecks.

      A relatively new team playing in the NLL, the Roughnecks captured their first Champions' Cup, emblematic of lacrosse supremacy in North America.

     And the Roughnecks 14-11 victory over the Buffalo Bandits on Friday May, 7 before a sold-out crowd at the Pengrowth Saddledome will benefit minor lacrosse teams throughout Central Alberta.

     In  only its third year of existence in the NLL, the Roughnecks have made a lasting impression with minor lacrosse teams. In an effort to promote the sport and bring the players closer to their younger fans, the Roughnecks have conducted clinics in and around Calgary.

     Two weeks ago, the Roughnecks made an appearance in Olds and put on a clinic for approximately 60 enthusiastic minor lacrosse players.

     At the time, the Roughnecks were just entering their playoff run for the league championship and the players present at the clinic were extremely interested in the Roughnecks play and were following the post season play.

    "The best thing for lacrosse in this area would be a league championship for the Roughnecks," said Mitch Redshaw, Roughnecks' Community Relations Manager.

    "Kids look at professional players as their heroes," added Redshaw, indicating the majority of local minor lacrosse players have their favorite player on the Roughnecks.

    And the two Roughnecks conducting the Olds' clinic, Brad MacDonald and Kevin Dostie were very impressed with the enthusiastic kids trying to improve their game skills.

     "It's hard to believe most of the players here tonight are just learning the game," added Dostie, a seasoned lacrosse veteran.

       "They were quite interested in what we were saying and they asked intelligent questions," Dostie added.

       "Every thing we taught them tonight, they can use in game situations," MacDonald said.

       And it appears the Roughnecks' clinic had a lasting impression because the number of players involved with the sport has seen a dramatic increase.

       Although most of the minor lacrosse players are participating in the game for the first time, most teams have some players with at least three years experience.

     Teams within the Mountain View County, are playing in the Red Deer Minor Lacrosse League which has teams registered from Tykes up to Junior.

      Carstairs, Didsbury, Olds and Innisfail all have a compliment of teams registered in the Red Deer Minor Lacrosse League.

      Although the Red Deer Minor Lacrosse League keeps statistics from the games played, the league's motto is fun and enjoyment. This motto is first and foremost and the league strives to keep the players interested in the game by providing Alberta Lacrosse sponsored coaching and refereeing clinics.

     Most of the minor lacrosse games are played on the weekends and lacrosse fans can wander down to their local arena to catch the action.


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