The 2019 Saanich Tigers Novice Select Team returned home with a Silver Medal this weekend for the 2nd straight year. Some say you win gold and bronze but you lose silver…
Well not this time … This year the Saanich Tigers were at a disadvantage from the word go some may say. Unlike years prior , this year the island division went a different route then the rest of the Novice aged divisions around the province. No more tiered lacrosse (A or B ) , and no more Crosschecking or body checking in a effort to lower head injuries at this age (9 and 10) .
Entering into the Jack Crosby tournament in Burnaby BC where the rules stayed the same and did not cater to the islands views was a bit of a uphill battle yes. This squad had a handful of practices together and did not play as a team all season like the A teams in the Crosby the Tigers were matched up against. The Tigers also were not used to the hard hitting the rest of BC had been playing with all year. This showed as the Crosby began…
First game of the round robin play saw the Tigers lose to their island rivals the JDF Whalers in a very tight battle with the Tigers dropping a 7-6 contest, Thursday afternoon. Game two later that evening was against North Okanagan .
The Tigers took a beating on the floor and the score board, taking a second loss of the day 8-2. The next morning the Tigers looked to rebound but again the chemistry just wasn’t there yet with this newly pieced together select team .
Langley Thunder laid the licks to the Tigers 7-2 for their third straight loss . Things looked bleak, Real Bleak. But .. at the helm of this ship were two great coaches. Chris McKay who runs the Claremont Lacrosse Program and Aaron Papps . These two men wouldn’t let the boys quit… 0-3 sitting at the bottom of the standings , the Saanich Tigers met up against the Port Coquitlam Saints Saturday morning and decided it was time to get things done and show BC the Tigers are still the Tigers .
There is a saying that.. A Good Coach Can Change A Game,A Great Coach Can Change A Life
Lead in goal by 2nd year goaltender Elliot Ziegler the Tigers woke up in a big way and Ziegler shut the door on way to a 5 -0 shut out . Rhett McKay was picking corners like McKays usually do on the lacrosse floor and led the way with 2 goals. New Westminster Salmonbellies were on the menu next … And well the boys were ready again…and again so was Elliot Ziegler .
He posted his 2nd shutout of the tourney with a 6-0 victory for the Tigers as they won again with back to back shut outs. Ya the kid didn’t let a goal in for over 2 hours of game play! Pretty exceptional in the high scoring game of lacrosse .
Noah Van Der Meer notched 2 goals as a power play specialist and led Tigers in scoring as now the boys from Saanich were 2-3 after round robin play and being able to sneak into the playoffs with 2 last minute wins.
Sunday morning the Coquitlam Adanacs were the opponent’s for the now confident Tigers.
Quarter final action saw the Tigers win their third in a row led by quick footed Wyatt Walker and Steady handed Sawyer McKay . These two boys know how to put up points . Both had very productive tourneys and never got held off the score sheet,big team guys .
Tigers knocked off the Adanacs with a 6-3 victory moving on to the semi finals against a very strong team from Kamloops . The Tigers went up early 5-0 then it was the Rattlers storming back late in game and tying it up with a controversial goal with 20 seconds left,5-5 now.
Well that Wyatt Walker kid decided he had seen enough of this come back stuff Kamloops had planned as he took control and scooped the ball up on the ensuing face off,deked out the two defenders in his way and buried the breakaway game winning goal to give the Tigers a 6-5 lead with just 12 seconds on the clock,Tigers win.
The team that was once 0 and 3 has now won 4 straight and fought and battled their way into a gold medal game .
Who would of thought ? The coaches did that’s who. The boys did that’s who. The parents….ya sure they did too.
Over those 4 games the goal tending was elite, the power play was deadly under coach Chris McKays guidance whp constantly made teams pay for going to the sin bin. But the best offense is a good defense and if you want talk defender you have to be talking about Jaxsen West .
This kid was Mr shut down,he was restrained all year on the island due to the change in rules and on the mainland he was able to D up.
He was a force to be reckoned with shutting down opposition’s top scores and leading the Tigers PK unit with ice in his veins. And trust me this boy can hit hard, and no I don’t just mean for a 10 year old either .
Sunday night Gold medal game the Tigers got a rematch with the boys from North Okanagan. But alas, 8 games in 4 days is tough and it seemed the boys in orange had met their match and possibly ran out of gas.
Tigers win the silver with a 7-1 loss. Yup it was a win.
Hold your heads high Tigers.
Be proud, Very proud !! 0-3 to the gold medal game.
Congratulations on the hardware Tigers!