The Valley Rebels’ once-promising season came to an abrupt end in the first round of the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association playoffs.
On Sunday night at MSA Arena, the Rebels squandered a 5-1 first-period lead and fell 7-6 to the Royal City Capitals in the third game of their best-of-three series.
The Capitals move on to face the Tri-City Bandits in the semifinals, while the Rebels, who had high hopes of qualifying for the President’s Cup heading into the season, are done.
“Disappointed is the only word that can sum it up,” said head coach Jim Nishiyama.
“To be able to win any championship, you have to be dedicated and you have to have the passion to overcome everything. And you have to commit.
“We just didn’t have it.”
After dropping the series opener 11-6 at home last Wednesday, the Rebels came through with a gritty 12-8 road win on Saturday behind hat tricks from Geordie Wells and Sean Kelly and 33 saves from goalie Matt Morehouse.
They carried that momentum into Sunday’s Game 3, getting goals from Kelly (2), Brad Olson, Shaun McRae and Kevin Lemond to lead 5-1 after the opening frame. The Capitals, though, responded with five straight goals, including three by Leif Mydske, to seize a stunning 6-5 lead. The Rebels’ Jordan Hernandez drew the hosts level midway through the third period, but Royal City’s Jake Riha scored shortly thereafter and it held up as the game-winner.
“They just wanted it more than we did,” Nishiyama analyzed. “They’re a hardworking young team and they don’t give up.
“It’s either, you put your foot on the gas pedal and go forward, or you put your foot on the brake and stop and let them run right over you. And that’s what they did.”