Miners 2-0 in Calgary, Raiders Drop Home Openers

by Aidan Rai

All four teams have now opened their seasons, and the aftermath of this past week’s battles has left some savouring victory, and sent others retreating to lick their wounds.  The early season standings may seem shockingly unfamiliar to the devout RMLL fan, but as it stands, neither team in the south strides at the head of the points race.  Instead, the Miners rest at the top as they ride a three-game winning streak into Saskatoon this weekend.

The Miners emerged out of their Calgary road trip without suffering a loss, a feat that no team out of Edmonton has achieved since the 2014 Titans squad. On the flip side, the Raiders dropped their opening couplet of matches, which is a statistic that has not been seen since days of the Edmonton Eclipse.

The first games of the weekend saw the Mounties fend off the SWAT by a score of 13-7, and the Miners triumph over the Raiders 13-9.  The following day resulted in the victories of the SWAT over the Raiders (11-8) and the Miners over the Mounties (9-8).

Ethan Forgrave and Mitch Linklater continued their impressive offensive production as they each now have 18 points under their belts over 4 games.  Toron Eccleston stood out for the Mounties as he accumulated 9 points on the weekend, and Myles Hamm, despite his team coming up short, collected 8 points with the Raiders.

Another shocking yet exciting sight was the lack of an overwhelmingly one-sided and unbalanced matchup, which has been an issue with the Junior A league in the past.  Each game was competitive and tightly scored and it was more akin to an artfully strategized dual than an overbearing slaughter.  These early matchups are sure to send shivers down the spines of lacrosse fans, as we may be in for an invigoratingly tight race this season.

Though the Mounties and the Raiders did not come out of their opening weekends as they had hoped, it would be a folly to count them out so early in the season.  As the schedule grinds along expect the Raiders to bounce back and look for blood once they come across these squads again in the future.  As for the Mounties, they are surely vexed by their one goal loss to the Miners and will be a group to watch out for in their next matchup.

Now that each team has been baptized by sweat and adrenaline in their opening games, the stage is set for an exhilarating show this summer.  The Miners are headed to Saskatoon for a three-game marathon against the SWAT, and the Mounties and Raiders are geared up for a battle in Calgary on Wednesday where Marshall Bloomfield, who was recently acquired by the Raiders, is expected to make his season debut.  From here on out, each team’s schedule will be cranked up and the players will be pushed to their limits, and out of the flames of adversity something extraordinary is bound to emerge.