Team Saskatchewan finishes sixth at bantam lacrosse nationals
The 2017 Canadian Lacrosse Association Bantam Box Lacrosse National Championship wrapped up in Saskatoon on Friday, and while Team Saskatchewan left without a medal, five local players left with a greater appreciation of the highest level of Canadian lacrosse.
Making their way onto Team Saskatchewan this year were five members of the provincial bantam champion Prince Albert Trappers: Matthew St. Germain and Bauer Swystun, who were on Team Saskatchewan last year, and Chase Ulriksen, Hayden Ulriksen and Kyler Wiese, who joined the provincial team for the first time.
“Our kids from P.A. represented our club teams very well. It was a great experience. It was a tough tournament, there wasn’t one team that was easy to play against so every game was a battle,” said Bryan Swystun, who coached the boys with the Trappers and was part of the convoy of friends and family from P.A. that travelled to Saskatoon for the weeklong tournament.
“All teams competed at a very high level and it was one of those tournaments where … you were in every game and it’s just a matter of a break here or there that usually decided it. It was good. Our kids really rose to the level and they got better as the tournament got on.”
With the home crowd packing Saskatoon’s Kinsmen Arena, Team Saskatchewan started the tournament with a 6-5 win over Quebec before falling to teams Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, First Nations and British Columbia by 8-1, 12-2, 5-4, 8-4 and 10-1 scores, respectively. The home team finished the round robin stage on a positive note with a 6-3 victory over Manitoba.
With a 2-5 record, Team Saskatchewan then advanced to the relegation round, once again beating Manitoba 6-4 before losing to Nova Scotia 4-2 to finish the tournament in sixth place. Team Ontario, undefeated throughout the competition, beat B.C. 11-5 for the gold while Team Alberta bested team First Nations 11-2 for the bronze.
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