Editor’s Note: We’ve been closely following the European Lacrosse League this year. The Euro boxla league is in its second year and is really having a killer second season. Growing The Game all over the place! The league finals will be this Friday and Saturday, and can be watched on webcast! The webcast info can be found at the bottom of the post.
Canadian reinforcements help the Bats win the European Lacrosse League – Tournament 3
Na Košutce arena in Pilsen welcomed the third ELL tournament and the seedings for the play-offs were decided in this tournament. And it was Bats Lacrosse who dominated this weekend. Bats presented their full strength for the first time, which included two Canadian offensive players – Jamie Plunkett and Michael Gillan. These two players scored almost the half of all Bats‘ goals and their contribution to the tournament victory were enormous.
In Group A, LC Bison Radotín, ELL Blue and Prague Sports were all struggling for the two top places in the final standings. These spots would guarantee a direct path to the semi-finals. Blues and Prague Sports met in the first game in this group and Prague Sports started with big pressure. Martin Mrlík, their new acquisition for the second half of the ELL, scored twice in the first eight minute establishing the Prague Sports lead. But Blues recovered quickly. Michal Roubíček, Jan Pospíšilík and Jiří Loskot scored by the end of the period and turned the match. Blues added anothe four goals in the second period and that in fact decided the game. Their victory guaranteed their direct path to the semis.
LC Bison Radotín and Prague Sports played what was maybe the most attractive an exciting game of the weekend. Prague Sports’ Dominik Pešek’s talent decided the game. He scored seven goals on Tomáš Říha’s net driving his team to an 11 : 8 victory. Bisons‘ Pilsen mission was without the succes they had come to expect. Thea lost to ELL Blue, too, although the score was close at 8 : 9. Bisons then played the 5th place game. They showed a bit of a lack of discipline and thus many penalties were capitalized on by ELL Blue with no mercy, and that was one of the key factors of the Bisons‘ loss.
Bats dominated in Group B. They won easily against the home side Old Dogs Pilzeň 12 : 3, and then they beat ELL Orange 9 : 7. Canadians Jamie Plunkett and Mike Gillan were the Bats‘ main ofensive power drivers. Bats reached the final for the first time, which was a big satisfaction after unsuccessful tournaments in Bratislava and Radotín.
The last Group B game between ELL Orange and Old Dogs was very tight for almost the entire time. Oranges lead 4 : 1 but Old Dogs, with the loud support of loud fans, equalized. But Tomáš Žipaj scored three times within 50 seconds and Oranges won the game 9 : 4, finishing second in Group B. Old Dogs ended the tourney in last place.
Bisons easily won their 5th place game on Sunday morning against Old Dogs 13 : 3 securing their overall second place, and thus direct nomination to the semifinals. On the other end, home Old Dogs was missing several injured key players and finished the sixth. In the bronze medal game, between Oranges and Prague Sports, there was no special motivation except finishing higher in the third tournament. The seedings for the play-off were clear before the game. In the calm match both teams tried to practise their strategies for play-offs. Prague Sports confirmed their good shape and won 8 : 5.
ELL Blue is lead by coach Jiří Pechar and the team reached their third trip to an ELL tournament final. They had the overall first place seed secured, and therefore several key players were resting including, Jiří Loskot and Miroslav Jakš. On the other hand, Bats were highly motivated and wanted to prove that they are a strong team. The game was resolved early in the first period. Bats won it 5 : 1. They guarded their lead for the rest of the match, and Bats manager Viliam Čulman could be satisfied with his team performance. The Bats confirm that in their full strength, they will be one of the teams which will fight for the ELL champions title. The dark moment of the final game was the injury of the key ELL Blue scorer Jiří Košťál. Because of the knee injury he will be probably be missing in the final tournament. This is a big loss for Blues.
Bats Jamie Plunket was proclaimed the first final game star, his teammate Vojtěch Weiss was the second star, the third star player was ELL Blue goalie Theodor Šamalík.
Final standings after three ELL regular season tournaments:
1. ELL Blue – 16 points
2. LC Bison Radotín – 13 points
3. Prague Sports – 12 points
4. Bats Lacrosse – 9 points
5. ELL Orange – 7 points
6. Old Dogs Plzeň – 6 points
Article by Jan Barák, edited by Connor Wilson, courtesy of the European Lacrosse League.
For a ton of high quality Euro box lacrosse photos, check out the ELL’s homepage!