Photo Credit Edge of Philly Sports
Locally the WCSLA Ladner Pioneers Sr. B Lacrosse team accomplished a feat that no other club has done in the history of the league.
If you were a betting person the odds might be against them, but they managed to win all regular season home games as well as the three of the best of five playoff games against the North Shore Indians.
The win over the Indians allowed them to have a couple of weeks off to rest and heal any injuries they might have occurred during the three game series.
Heading to Leduc for the Presidents Cup added extra pressure on the guy’s, but they were up to the task of playing 8 games in 7 days that started August 28th
Entering the series many thought that their toughest rival would be the Edmonton Miners who were the host team for the event.
The event was played at the Bill Hunter Arena, formerly known as the Jasper Place and according to team members the hotel was about a 20 minute ride.
The Pioneers had a solid line-up suiting up players like Matt Beers, Owen Barker, Tyler Pace, Ryan Benesch, Brandon Goodwin and local fan favorite Logan Schuss.
Considering that Schuss calls Ladner home one might have thought there was added pressure on him, but such wasn’t the case as everyone picked up their game.
In addition they managed to pick up Alex Buque from the North Shore Indians after they were eliminated by the Pioneers.
The Pioneers line consisted of NLL Vancouver Warrior players, Barker, Goodwin, Buque and Schuss who know the importance of team chemistry.
I was impressed to see that they were using a three-man system for their officiating, which only adds to the game, which is the same as the NLL uses for their games.
To the surprise of many the Miners failed to make the final and ended up in the semi-final coming out on the losing end of the score.
As the game was set for the opening face-off there was a hush over the crowd at the Tswassen Legion who were hosting the game for those on hand.
The game opened on a goal at 15:19 as Hopps send a low shot past Buque as the crowd in the Tsw Legion became silent, but it was short lived as Benesch got the Pioneers even at one at the 12:28 nark with Schuss and Pace doing all the dirty work.
Hopps got his second at 10:06 forcing Delta to change their attack, which worked and with 0:41 second left in the first Beers set up Benesch for his second of the game tying the game at two.
With the first drawing to a close many thought they would take the tie to the dressing room.
A cross pass saw the ball take a bounce going in the stick of Tarbell who sent a long desperation shot the length of the floor managing to bulge the back of the net giving the Bucks a 3-2 lead after 20 minutes.
The Bucks first chance came at 19:12 but Buque again stopped them and the turnover saw Herreweyers get the Pioneers even at 18:50.
There was no question that this battle was going to be between the guys in the blue paint and as both teams fought hard the Bucks took the lead with Oakes giving them a 4-3 lead at 17:20.
The seesaw battle continued but this game was going to be hard pressed to find any free loaders on either team as Schuss hammered one from 30 feet out pulling the Pioneers even at 16:20 tying the game at four.
Schuss got his second of the period giving the Pioneers a 5-4 lead at 4:39 only to have Oakes even the game at 2:26 with the teams heading to the dressing room tied at five.
The Bucks jumped out to a 6-5 lead at 17:17 with Russ Oakes bringing the crowd to life cheering them on.
If you’ve covered the Pioneers you knew that the Pioneers had more to show, which they did changing their shot locations having Tyler Pace even the game at six with Beers dishing the lose up floor.
Pace got his second of the period after a set up from Benesch and Mallory at 7:54 putting pressure on the Bucks.
The game remained tied heading into the last minute that saw the Bucks call a TO with 51 seconds remaining putting Abrams on the bench for the extra attacker.
The Bucks managed a couple of quality shots, but were turned aside by Buque that saw Barker jump on a loose ball with 33 seconds left giving the Pioneers an 8-6 lead.
The Pioneers won the face-off, keeping possession of the ball as the clock was slowly winding down and the final buzzer giving the Pioneers the 2022 Presidents Cup Championship trophy.
The game was evenly played that saw the officials assess nine minors to the Bucks and seven to the Pioneers through 60 minutes.
To no surprise the game stars as well as the three officials are NOT listed on the Presidents Cup site.
As the game was winding down the noise became somewhat deafening at the Tsw Legion with everyone on hand cheering for the home town guys.
The long and winding road to Oz for the Pioneers became a reality with the team waiting for their trip to Disneyland taking the championship trophy back to Delta, which they will have for the next 10 months.
On-floor photos followed with family members as well as those who made the drive out to catch the final championship game cheering on the Pioneers.
The Pioneers’ long road to success became real for everyone who bought into the program which started about 10 months ago.
The win marks the third time the Ladner Pioneers have won the coveted Cup in 1998, 2004 and now 2022
SPORTSWAVE AND EASTLINK TV SEND OUT CONGRATULATIONS TO THE LADNER PIONEERS ON WINNING THE 2022 PRESIDENTS CUP!!!!