The Red Deer Rampage lacrosse team is taking a firm hold on the season with an undefeated record thus far of 5-0-1.
The Tier 1 Junior ‘B’ team took down the Okotoks Marauders with a final score of 11-7 for the Rampage on their home field at the Kinex Arena over the weekend.
A strong offensive push from the Rampage secured an 11-4 lead heading into the third period, with the Rampage defense letting three late goals slip past but it wasn’t enough for the Marauders to take home the win.
With four goals from one of the Rampage’s newer additions, Logan Sinclair, and three goals from Rampage veteran Logan Elliot, the team’s offense was on fire during the match on Sunday afternoon.
Head coach for the Rampage, Dustin Reykdal explained although he was disappointed to see their defense slip up in the third period – to which he attributed to complacency due to the team’s lead – he was beyond thrilled to watch Elliot and Sinclair come into their own.
“It’s what I’ve been expecting and what I knew they’ve been capable of all season so it was great to see them fill those roles of strong offensive players,” explained Reykdal. “It was really their breakthrough game where they finally felt confident in their play and took the time to shine.
“It was really great to watch them step up and produce some goals for us in the offensive end.”
With both players having strong offensive and defensive skills, the coach added he feels comfortable putting them in any situation.
Nineteen-year-old Jayce Grebinski of the Rampage made his seasonal return to the field during the match-up against he Marauders as well, following an injury, with Reykdal adding it was great to see the player return to the field.
“He made an awesome effort of pushing the ball up and had nice transitioning from offense to defense as well as winning loose balls.”
The strong offense seen on Sunday’s game was one Reykdal has been waiting to see all season, stating it’s primarily the team’s defensive push that makes them shine.
“I’ve seen our defense be very successful in the past four games, but this game was a little different in that our offense was definitely the stronger point of the game for us and we did see our defense slipping up in that third period.”
With no losses this season and only one tie against the Saskatoon Swat early in the season, the Rampage are in good shape heading into mid-season. Despite their undefeated record thus far, Reykdal isn’t worried about wins just yet in the season.
“I’ve been telling our team all year that the beginning of the season needs to be about development – it’s great that we are doing well this early, but ultimately when it comes down to play-offs, that’s when we need to be able to win games because that’s when it really counts.”
He added he hopes to see the team get their skills in check and develop the younger guys on the team to be able to have the confidence they need on the field.
“They also need to be comfortable playing with one another and these are all things that I like to see happen early in the season so we can win games later on.”
After the team’s trek to Founder’s Cup last year, Reykdal explained the returning players from last year’s team have done an incredible job of stepping into leadership roles and showing the newer players what it’s going to take to make it to a top level of play again this year.
“Those players know and understand what it takes to play at that higher level and it makes it easier for me as a coach because you can rely on those players who are stepping up and demonstrating their ability as leaders on the team.”
The Rampage takes to the road this weekend, with games in St. Albert and Edmonton and will return to the Kinex Arena in Red Deer on Friday, June 5th at 9 p.m. as they take on the Sherwood Park Titans and again on Saturday June 6th at 8 p.m. against the Calgary Shamrocks.