Renegades LAX look to keep playoff hopes alive

It’s do or die time for the Red Deer Renegades Junior B Tier II lacrosse team as they approach their final two games of the season this weekend.

The Renegades find themselves in third place in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League Tier II South Division with a 6-6 record, just two points behind the Calgary Wranglers (7-4) in the playoff race.

“We’ve had ups and downs. Lots of good effort and there were three nights with not real good effort. But we’re .500. We beat one of the top teams and a lot of the teams below us in the standings,” said Renegades’ Head Coach Owen Rush of his team’s fortunes so far this season.

The Renegades got off to a flying start to a key weekend, last Saturday, as they downed the Strathmore Venom, who they are tied with in the standings, 14-4 at home for a key victory before suffering a tough 10-9 loss in overtime to the first place Calgary Mavericks on Sunday.

Although the Renegades managed to put up a key victory over the Venom, Rush said they still have some very meaningful games to play this weekend when they travel to Calgary and Lethbridge to take on the Wranglers and Lethbridge Cudas (9-1) respectively.

“We have to win one of them to have a chance of making the playoffs, so we’re going to go with that and hopefully win Friday night and then go to Lethbridge. We don’t play well after a long bus trip like that, or we haven’t historically, so we’ll get that win Friday night and then work on some systems and stuff Sunday in Lethbridge.”

Getting those wins won’t be easy, though. Both the Wranglers and the Cudas are ahead of the Renegades in the standings. Making matters worse, the team that they are currently tied with for the final playoff spot, the Venom, will be playing against one of the weaker teams in the Lacoka Locos (2-10) and a slightly tougher Medicine Hat Sun Devils (7-5) team.

Luckily, in the event that the two teams remain tied after this weekend, the Renegades will get to advance due to the fact that they have won both of their meetings with the Venom this season.

“We prefer to make our own luck, but you know how that works,” Rush laughed.

The Renegades are back in action on Friday night when they take on the Calgary Wranglers at the Brentwood Arena in Calgary. Game time on that one is 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, in Junior B Tier I action, the Red Deer Rampage have continued to impress this season.

The Rampage currently sit in second place in the RMLL Junior B Tier I North division standings with a 5-3-1 record, just one point behind the first place Sherwood Park Titans.

“It’s going about as expected. We want to be the top team we can be at the end of the year. We’ve got a lot of young guys so ups and downs are expected, but things are slowly starting to come together,” said Rampage Head Coach Trey Christensen.

Much like the Renegades, the Rampage, who still have seven games remaining in the regular season, battled their way to a 1-1 record this past weekend.

The Rampage didn’t get off to the quickest of starts this weekend, though, as they dropped a 9-7 decision to the Calgary Mountaineers (1-6-0) of the South Division when they visited the Stu Peppard Arena in Calgary on Saturday.

“It just goes back to that consistency. The first team we played, we were missing some of our guys, but still a weaker team and you can’t look past anybody. Our guys didn’t really come to play and had a lot of mental lapses,” Christensen said, adding although the team came back and won the third period 6-0, it’s important to be consistent.

“You’ve got to play that full 60 minutes.”

And they did just that on Sunday when they made the trip north on the QEII Hwy. to battle the third place Edmonton Junior B Warriors, downing their divisional rivals 12-10.

“We ran into a lot of penalty trouble but all in all fought through and played more of a 60 minute game to pull out a win,” Christensen said.

The Rampage don’t return home until July 8th when they take on the Crude Lacrosse Club at the Kinex Arena.

zcormier@reddeerexpress.com

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