The Crossfire started their season off with a bang last Thursday, blazing to a 20-5 win over the BX Pub Bandits – a first for the team.
“We never beat them before and we definitely made up for it,” president of the Quesnel Lacrosse Association Lisa Scott said.
“I was just mesmerized. The Crossfire just played fantastic.”
The win represents a big jump for the team – a coming of age in their third year.
“It was surprising – very, very surprising how much bigger, faster and better we are this year,” acting coach Pat Gibbs said.
Gibbs stood in for Hugh Whalen, who was switched to night shifts, which created a large gap on the Crossfire’s bench. The coaching situation, for now, is up in the air, with Gibbs standing in as needed.
Gibbs credited the jump to the young players, including Alek Gibbs who won the Intermediate A provincials with the Maple Ridge Burrards last year, whose growth helped spur the team on to the win.
“Those kids are men now,” Gibbs said.
Before the game, both Gibbses were worried about the contest, as the Bandits had their number in the past. But all those worries were put to rest within the first two minutes of the game as the Crossfire went up two-nothing.
The young guns stepped up for Quesnel, with Alek Gibbs netting three goals in the first, Devin Whalen and Brody Lawlor each scoring twice and Levi Robertson getting a single.
Young goaltender Thomas Riestad kept the Bandits to two goals in the first twenty minutes, keeping the Crossfire in an 8-2 lead.
The Crossfire didn’t let up in the second, either, netting six more goals over the course of the period.
Gibbs added to his tally with two more goals, which was matched by Robertson. Ryan Murray and Whalen each got one-a-piece to round out the scoring by the Crossfire.
Riestad once again pulled out some big stops to keep the Bandits from making any headway, capping their goals at three, to put the Crossfire up 14-5 after 40 minutes.
In the third, Riestad skunked every effort by the Bandits, while the offence kept Quesnel moving forward.
Whalen scored twice, to tie with Gibbs for the top scorer of the game. Lawlor also took two points. Garth Kennedy scored his first of the season along with Bryston Waffle, to push the team to 20.
Both Pat Gibbs and Scott were more than happy with the team’s performance and are looking forward to a successful year for Lacrosse in Quesnel.
Pat Gibbs is coaching the intermediate Wildfire this year and the success of many of the Intermediate Wildfire players stepping up to play with the Crossfire bodes well for the rest of the season, according to Pat Gibbs.
The Crossfire will play their home opener this Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Twin Arenas against the Stylers. And, if it’s anything like their season opener, it should be a stunning game.