Bats Lacrosse defeated Prague Sports 8 – 5 in the dramatic European Lacrosse League (ELL) Final game after two tied periods thanks to Mike Gillan’s two markers and Vojtěch Weiss‘ one goal. Bats Lacrosse was crowned as ELL Champions for the first time.
The ELL final game started with great tempo and Bats Vojtěch Weiss scored in the third minute. He picked up a ground ball near the crease after Jamie Plunkett’s shot and threw it to the goal and this started his excellent shooting performance on the day. Both goalies, Bats’ Scottie Komer, and Prague Sports’ Dominik Sika, excelled in the following run of the game. None of the shooters on either squad was able to score again until the 11th minute when Prague Sports František Marhoul succeeded on the crease and tied the score 1 – 1.
In the 17th minute Prague Sports took the lead lead after Jan Skokan’s surprising shot to Scott Komer’s left goal post. In the middle portion of the game five goals were scored within five minutes. Adam Ondráček equalized with a smart shot over his defender, but Dominik Pešek finished an excellent combination in man-up situation during a penalty on Jan Hanák. The 28th minute of the game was lucky for Bats. Vojtěch Weiss scored his second goal from his typical spot near the crease. and Jamie Plunkett found a hole between Dominik Sika’s legs 23 seconds later.
But in the end, the score was still tied after two periods. Sports equalized after Martin Čulman’s great individual effort after which Dominik Pešek appeared alone on the crease and Scottie Komer had no help, and no chance. At the beggining of the season, people thought the ELL would be exciting, and the last period of the whole ELL season was expected to be dramatic, and it delivered.
Both teams excelled and rewarded the frozen spectators in the arena stands. Bats’ Canadian acquisition Mike Gillan proved his strength and scored twice with in one minute, giving his team the two goal lead for the first time in the game. One minute later Vojtěch Weiss finished his hat trick, when his third goal was scored from practically the same spot as his previous two. Prague Sports could not find the energy to turn the game over and they had to accept the ELL vice-champions role.
But still there vere many attractive moment at the end of the game including a penalty shot on each side. Dominik Pešek scored while Pavel Došlý did not. Dominik closed the final game score to 8 : 5 though.
Viliam Čulman, the Bats manager, and his team, were deserving of the title. After not being very successful during the beginnings of the league, Canadian offensive force involvement proved to be the difference maker. Mike Gillan and Jamie Plunkett together with Vojtěch Weiss showed enourmous offensive strenght. Mike Gillan was proclaimed the league best offensive player.
Prague Sports can be very satisfied with their second place too. Coach Pavel Semerák suceeded in creating a team consisting of players from 13 (!) European clubs during the basic part tournaments. Czech natinal team defender Martin Mrlík joined the team and helped greatly to organize its defense. Dominik Pešek was Prague Sports offensive ace scoring 41 goals and thus winning the best ELL scorer trophy.
LC Bison Radotín defeated ELL Blue 7 – 2 in the bronze medal game. Bisons‘ ambition was to win the league, so the third place is a bit of a disappointment for them. The team suffered from its relative inconsistency – there was a gap between their elite players and less experienced players and their performance was not so team-like in comparison with Prague Sports for example.
The winner of the ELL regular season portion, ELL Blue, finished in fourth. The Play-offs were not successfull for them, as they lost quite easily to Bats and Bisons. They were missing their elite scorer Jiří Košťál a lot. Blues scored only five goals in the play-offs which is usually not enough for better placement.
Old Dogs Plzeň finished the fifth after a great game against ELL Orange. They won 7 – 6. Old Dogs, despite their namen, is a young team that relied on their goalie Jakub Mareš. This 17 year old keeper was awarded as the best ELL goalie. Miroslav Polách contributed with four goals to the Old Dogs‘ victory, two of them scored in a man-down situation. ELL Orange close the ELL 2011 standings. They were missing strong personalities who would lead their teams to victory in decisive moments. Orange’s play improved a lot with the arrival of Martin Hodaň and Jan Penniger, but it was not enough for better final placing.
Final European Lacrosse League Standings:
1. Bats Lacrosse
2. Prague Sports
3. LC Bison Radotín
4. ELL Blue
5. Old Dogs Plzeň
6. ELL Orange
Best Goalie – Jakub Mareš (Old Dogs Plzeň)
Best Defensive Player – Martin Čulman (Prague Sports)
Best Offensive Player – Michael Gillan (Bats Lacrosse)
High Scorer – Dominik Pešek (Prague Sports)
You can watch all games at http://www.net-tv.cz.
written by Jan Barák, edited by Connor Wilson