There will be no fairy tale ending to the Quesnel Crossfire’s 2018 season.
The Prince George Devils played like a team intent on repeating their championship achievements from last year and blew the local team out of the water with a 14-2 victory on Monday night (July 9) at West Fraser Centre.
Andrew Schwab scored five goals and assisted on two more to pace the Devils, who will face the winner of the Bandits and the Mackenzie Lumberjacks for the league title.
Schwab, who received Game Star is complimentary of the Crossfire’s abilities despite the dominant win.
“It’s actually unbelievable,” he says.
“Quesnel didn’t have the best team in the world a couple years ago and now they’re playing great lacrosse.
“They’re swinging the ball and they’ve got some great shooters out there, guys who can go through a whole A-team.
“And their goalies are playing unreal.”
The Devils had a 4-0 lead after the first period thanks to some slick passing that found open men dashing towards the net.
Jesse Deagle played wonderfully in goal for the Crossfire in the first period, stopping a number of breakaway attempts but the Devils’ crafty players found ways to consistently get behind the Crossfire defenders, which lead to the game opening up in the second period.
Tomas Reistad came in at 9-0 midway through the second but, despite more solid play, didn’t have much luck staunching the waves of attacking orange players.
Defensively, the Devils clogged up the middle very effectively, forcing the boys in blue to take shots from the point and quickly gobbling up loose balls, whenever a hint of a second chance made itself available.
It didn’t help the Crossfire’s chances that their leading scorer, Dusty Cathcart, had just secured himself a job where he has to work nights.
Or that mainstays Garth Kennedy and Will Pagurut were also unavailable.
Lastly, fireplug Bryston Waffle was serving a suspension that left him unable to help out as well.
Duncan Johnston was able to provide some relief for the team, breaking the shutout with four minutes left to play in the game.
Midget call-ups Colby Couturier and Dyson Leneve were bright spots too with Couturier scoring a goal and Leneve assisting on another.
“Well, we’ve been playing the Devils since I’ve been playing senior lacrosse and they’ve always been a strong team,” says Crossfire forward Mitch MacLean.
“They have a lot of experienced players who have came back from A division leagues and they’re just a good team who got the better of us.”
Although the end result might have been disappointing, the season was anything but.
At their brightest, with all their players operating at full capacity, the Crossfire have proven to be a dangerous opponent to any team in the league.
They finished third in a competitive league for a reason.
Their young players are excellent passers, they are fearless and they can run for days.
When they keep their cool and communicate effectively, their defense can frustrate the most skillful offensive players.
The current team, who have been practicing together for over five years, is still a year or two away from playing at their peak and with fresh, talented competitors like Couturier and Leneve joining the fold, the future is very bright.
So while the Cinderella finish was not to be, the fellas can still hold their heads up high.