The Assault doused the Crossfire’s season Tuesday in the third game of the best-of-five playoff series in Prince George. With the win, the Assault won the series 3-0 and will move on.
The Crossfire went into game three against the second ranked team in the league down two games and on the road, which they have struggled with all year.
With a shortened bench, shored up by young players called up from the midget league, the Crossfire struggled throughout the game, leading to a 24-4 final for the Quesnel team.
The Crossfire could only field a bench of two lines said coach Pat Gibbs.
“Other things took priority over lacrosse,” he said.
It’s a problem Gibbs has been struggling with for the entire year, with a core group of six to eight seniors and four to six midgets that could be depended on to fill in the gaps, the team found itself short of players and willing to take anyone who could shake a stick.
The committed centre, though, Gibbs is proud of, even during their final game, which turned to a rout.
Despite the rough season, Gibbs said he’s in it for the long haul and is already looking forward to next season, when a chunk of graduating midgets will move up and swell his ranks, allowing him to be a bit more choosey with who he brings along.
“I’m looking forward to putting a group on the floor that is willing and committed,” he said.
That new group, plus the already committed centre of the team should make for a more reliable performance on the floor.
Of course, it’s not just the players on the floor that make the season happen. Lots of work goes on outside of game times beyond the purview of the spectatorswhich makes each season a success.
Gibbs is thankful to the volunteers outside the box that give their time and effort at each home game that makes the season possible.
And as ever, he’s thankful to the women that made it all happen, the president of the local lacrosse association – Lisa Scott.
Now that the season’s over, Gibbs has named their Goalie, Bob Mills as the team’s M.V.P. and the most dedicated member of the team
“It feels good to get the M.V.P. and be rewarded for my commitment,” he said.
Gibbs was impressed with Mills’ enthusiasm for the team, including making the drive from 150 Mile House to Prince George, and back again after, just to play in their final game.
Despite hailing from 150 Mile House, Mills has played, or at least been floor side, for every single game the Crossfire has played since its inception two years ago.
Mills was ranked third in the leagueover the regular season, with 600 shots on goal, the most in the league by far, and a 78% save-percentage.
Though Mills was rock solid in the net, the team of defence in front of him changed consistently throughout the year, making each game a different experience for the experienced goalie.
“Some nights were definitely harder than others,” he said.
“Some nights you have 16 year-olds out there facing off against full grown men and sometimes you face more shots than you should.”
Despite the distance, Mills intends to be equally diligent next year, and the next, until someone from Quesnel is willing to step in and take over between the posts.