The Toronto Beaches Junior A Lacrosse team drew the biggest crowd in years to the team’s home opener on May 13 at Ted Reeve Community Arena. About 300 fans crowded the arena to see the newly rebuilt team take on the St. Catharines Athletics.
The arena and the team were looking fresh, with new banners on the boards and floor, and new uniforms for the boys, and the Beaches team played hard for the home crowd. Despite their best efforts, the team couldn’t get enough shots past Athletics goaltender Eric Penney, who stopped an impressive 46 shots on goal during Sunday night’s game.
Beaches coach Bruce Codd said he was encouraged by the turnout and response from the crowd at the game, and took a somewhat philosophical approach to the loss.
“It was great to see that. I haven’t seen that big a crowd at a Beaches game in quite a while. It’s just too bad we couldn’t pull out a victory for all the people that came out, but hopefully they enjoyed the match,” he said.
While Codd had been hoping for a win, he’s still looking at the positive side of an ongoing learning process with the team.
“It was disappointing, but there were some positives at the same time. We’re still a young group trying to figure out some of the systems,” he said. “It might take a little bit to get stuff figured out, but I definitely think there is a lot of potential in this group. It’s up to us coaches to make good on that potential.”
St. Catharines coach Darris Kilgour said his team struggled through the start of the game, but pulled together by the third period, when the Athletics turned a one-point lead into a 10-6 win.
“It was really tight in the first and second. We weren’t playing with a lot of confidence, but in the third period we did a much better job of pacing the game to what we wanted and it showed on the scoreboard,” he said.
Kilgour said the Beaches team was still tough competition, and like all the other teams in the league, the Beaches team can only get better with more experience.
“They have some really good coaching, they have really good talent and once they get everybody on the same page they’ll be a tough team to play – in fact they’re already a tough team to play,” he said.
Toronto Beaches played their road opener the previous Friday in Orangeville, against a powerhouse Northmen team that hasn’t missed appearing in the final league championship in years. Although Toronto took an early 4-2 lead after the first, the Northmen pulled ahead and outshot Beaches for an eventual 10-7 win.
Toronto’s next home games will be Tuesday, May 22 against the Brampton Excelsiors, and Thursday, May 24 against the Whitby Warriors, the top team in not only the Ontario Junior A league, but the country, in 2011. Both games get underway at 8 p.m. at Ted Reeve Arena.