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Elites roll to dominant win in inaugural Bantam ‘A’ Lacrosse League game

Team featuring players from throughout southern Saskatchewan takes 13-4 win over Regina
It might have taken the South Saskatchewan Elites a couple of periods to fully find their scoring stride against the Regina Barracuda on Thursday night at Mosaic Place, but once they did, what was once a close lacrosse game turned into an out-and-out shooting gallery for the home team.

Which makes sense, considering it was the first game ever for a team comprised of the best-of-the-best players from Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Estevan and Swift Current, playing in a new ‘A’ lacrosse league designed to bring the top players in the province together for a higher level of competition.

“Last year was the first for the South Sask League, so we had a good thing going with (small-town teams) and the interlock games with Regina,” said Elites coach Steve Michaluk. “So we wanted to keep that going and elected to have an exhibition schedule in this ‘A’ league so we can all still play on our club teams. It’s some extra lacrosse for the kids who want to develop and take their game to the next level, play against kids who are like-minded and have similar interests, so that’s how we got into it.

“It’s an experimental season for the whole province and hopefully it goes well.”

There’s no question it went well for the Elites in their opener. After finding themselves tied 2-2 through the first period and leading 6-3 after two, South Sask poured it on in the final frame, scoring seven goals to take a 13-4 win.

“After the first period, I think we really came together as a team and brought it to them,” said team captain Nathan Wagstaff, who plays for the Estevan Voltz in the SSLL and picked up two goals on Thursday. “It was our first time together as a team, so we were just trying to get used to each other and know each other, but once we got comfortable with each other we really shined.”

Michaluk saw much the same from the bench.

“We know these kids, but they hadn’t really played together,” he said. “We went over simple line-change systems so we knew what we doing, some positions so we knew who we were running with. We trusted they all had some passing and catching skills and a sense for loose balls, which they did… as the game went on our loose ball dominance took over and we started shooting low and finding the twine. It was good.”

The scoring was impressively spread out: Mason Williams, Zealand Rayner and Rowan Calvert each scored two goals, Lukas Salkin, Liam Fitzpatrick, Trent Benning, Carter Michaluk and Chase Foord all had single markers. Wagstaff, Fitzpatrick and Davin Williams all had two assists each.

The Bantam Mustangs standout duo of Walker Williams and Luke Andrews split time in goal during the win.

As well as things went in their first game, Wagstaff predicted even higher scores in the future.

“Oh yeah, way bigger,” he said with a huge smile. “We’re coming.”

Next action for the Elite is Tuesday, May 7 when they travel to Regina for a rematch with the Barracuda.