Editor’s Note: This time around, Connor joined up with the Ontario-based Green Gaels for the 2017 Ales Hrebesky Memorial. There he linked up with Rad Joseph, Rad watched the games and now he’s joining us to talk about it. Welcome, Rad!
Game 1 – Gaels 10, Deutschland Adler 0
After a couple of days of touring and serious socializing, it was game time! The Green Gaels played Adler from Germany in the opening game of the Ales Hrebesky Memorial tournament in Radotin, Czech Republic.
Led offensively by former NLL star Gavin Prout (3 goals, 2 assists), the Gaels rolled over Adler 10-0. Goalie Neil Roberts stopped 14 shots, including a couple of partial breakaways to record the shut-out.
Head Coach Doug Luey commented, “I was pleased with the way the players adjusted to each other, particularly new additions to the team, who were playing together for the first time.”
Although hesitate to cite any particular player, it was apparent to fans that Jeff Wittig (2 goals, 1 assist) blended in nicely with the smooth running offense.
Coach Luey had to be satisfied with the feisty defense displayed by the Gaels, in particular, Logan Kane who was a presence on the floor every shift. Luey noted, “The key to winning is defense and we were solid today.”
Other goal scorers for the Gaels were Evan Lovestead, Graham Bergsma, Zach Sloan, Brandon Murphy and Logan Kane. The game had its moments of feistiness which saw Adler draw 7 penalties and the Gaels 4 penalties, including a double minor to Prout.
Although held off the score sheet, Jonas Derks was always around the ball displaying the tenacity that so represents Gaels lacrosse.
Draw man Graham Bergsma led in the face-off circle which saw the Gaels dominate 11-1. Overall the Gaels outshot the opposition 36-14 and were never at risk of losing.
Canadian Connection – The Adler team had four Canadian players on their roster. This includes veteran goaltender Cam Janzen and Kyle McIntosh from Vancouver; Jamie Plunkett from Peterborough; and Noam Goldstein from Nepean, Ontario.
Next up were the London Knights out of England.
Game 2 – GALES 10, London Knights 1
Goals from eight different players led the Gaels to a convincing 10-1 win over the London Knights in the second game of the Memorial.
Mike Kamanski scored 30 seconds into the game and the Gaels never looked back, building up a 5-1 lead in the first half of play. Daryl Robertson and Gavin Prout both sniped a pair. Other players netting single goals were Will Petschenig, Brandon McFarlane, Brad Hollbrough, Zach Sloan and Graham Bergsma. Junior “A” star Jeff Wittig continues to impress collecting three assists.
Similar to the opening game, the Gaels collectively had a formidable defense with a notable game from newcomer to the roster, Lacrosse All Stars’ own, Connor Wilson.
A four time veteran of the Ales Hrebesky tournament, Wilson is delighted to be participating as a member of the legendary club. He noted, “I am honored to be here playing with such a talented and experienced team. The key for me is knowing my role and playing accordingly”.
Veterans Brad McArthur and Dalton Lundy were solid and led a “No free path” defense to the Gaels net.
The game had a good tempo with plenty of end to end action. Goalie Neil Roberts was solid once again, giving up only one goal. Although not a nasty game, Nick Loyst did receive a double major for high-sticking. The act resulted in an automatic game misconduct and expulsion from the game. The Knights incurred only one minor penalty.
Draw man Graham Bergsma and the aforementioned Connor Wilson shone in the face-off circle which saw the Gaels dominate face-offs 10-3.
The next game is against the Ladner Pioneers from British Columbia. The Pioneers won the tournament in 2015 defeating the Gaels in the Gold Medal game. Tomorrow, they will look to have a different outcome.