The Sylvan Lake Bantam Buccaneers have been roving to victory, game after game. Following a successful winning end to their regular season, the Bucs entered the playoffs with a first place ranking, going on to conquer the first game in the playoffs by beating Blackfalds 6-2.
During the game the Bucs’ first year players really came into their own, with four of the six goals scored by the Bucs being scored by first year players.
“We had a very good game the other night, in a one game elimination,” said Head Coach Bill Moody. “Our kids were ready, and responded with an effort that made us proud. We were very happy with our first year players in this game. [They] stepped up and played very well, when asked.”
Moody said a major plank in the Bucs’ victory against Blackfalds was the strong defensive effort they put into the game. This strength came despite some adversity, with the team suffering a suspended captain, and a couple of players nursing injuries.
Justin St. Germain put in a successful effort to bolster the Bucs’ score, netting three goals in the game’s only hat trick. Moody described St. Germain as “a force at each end of the floor,” playing a solid all-around game of defense and offence that Moody thought was St. Germain’s best game of the season.
“And it came up at the best time,” Moody added.
Before the Bucs entered the playoffs, they saw a strong finish to their regular season, winning a game against Olds Stingers 13-3, in a decisive win. Their victory was all the more laudable an achievement, given that the Bucs were deprived of the home advantage.
“It was kind of an easy game. [Olds] had a bit of a weaker squad this year – it definitely wasn’t last year’s team,” said Moody. “Starting the playoffs in first was a pretty good incentive going into that last game. With first overall, you have a home field advantage.”
Moody said in their final game of the season, the Bucs “came out flying,” making sure the Stingers didn’t have a chance to keep up, with Bucs “scoring some really nice goals,” throughout the game.
“In that game in particular, we had our systems working really well,” Moody explained. “The team really worked on plays we’ve been working on all year, and in the last few games, it started to kick in pretty well – especially in the five on five and power play.”
Another factor in the Bucs’ victory was their discipline, Moody contended. He said the players were “understanding it, getting it and having it come to them all a bit easier,” and “it was really effective in [the game against Olds] in particular. We had a few goals played exactly how we wrote it up.”
Moody emphasized that the practice which paid off in the final of the regular season was the product of practicing plays all season, “and in the last couple of league games they really showed it.”
Moody said the Bucs also participated in a tournament in Edmonton before the end of the regular season, playing three games.
He added, “we did quite well there, with two wins and one loss.”
The Bucs’ second playoff game was on Thursday, against the Innisfail Phantoms.
“We want the kids to keep it up, going into the next game in the second round, against Innisfail,” said Moody. “We are confident that if our boys keep playing that way … they can be successful going forward.”
See next week’s edition of the Sylvan Lake News for more playoffs coverage.