There’s a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde personality to this Valley Rebels team.
The local senior B lacrosse squad is capable of top-flight performances, but they’re also prone to taking mental vacations at a moment’s notice.
The dichotomy was evident as the Rebels opened their West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association semifinal series with the Ladner Pioneers – a formidable foe, to be sure. On Tuesday, the Abbotsford squad gutted out an 8-7 triumph, with Sean Kelly and Brian Poole scoring two goals apiece, Graham Wiedenhammer notching the game-winner, and Shaun McRae posting four assists.
But on Wednesday, the Rebels were never really in the game, as they absorbed a 13-3 spanking from the Pioneers.
That forced a third and deciding game in the best-of-three series, next Tuesday at New Westminster’s Queen’s Park Arena (8 p.m. start). The winner moves on to face the Tri-City Bandits in the WCSLA final, with a trip to the President’s Cup national championship tournament in Spruce Grove, Alta. on the line.
“I think if they’d sent their moms, it would have been a better show than it was last night,” Rebels coach Ted Downey said with a wry chuckle.
“Being with teams over the years, you just get a sense that not all the enthusiasm and everything is there tonight,” he added. “Our goaltenders actually played pretty doggone well. They had no help out in front.”
That said, Downey loves his team’s chances in Game 3, which is ostensibly a “home” game – they’re playing at Queen’s Park because the ice surface is being installed at MSA Arena.
In addition to the Rebels’ predisposition to mental lapses, they’ve demonstrated a great ability to bounce back after tough losses. In the first round of the playoffs, they dropped Game 2 to the lowly North Shore Indians, but regrouped to for a decisive Game 3 win.
“We’ll finish them (the Pioneers) off on Tuesday in New Westminster, rather than last night,” Downey asserted. “It’s something about the mystique of playing in Queen’s Park … our guys have played well every time they’ve stepped in there.”