Four games into an abbreviated 2021 season, the Rockyview Knights are still trying to find their feet – and their first win.
Airdrie’s senior B men’s lacrosse team is currently 0-4 in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL), with defeats against the Beaumont Outlaws, St. Albert Miners and Calgary Mountaineers. The Knights were outscored 37-16 in their first four games.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement, especially on the offensive side,” said Keith Berg, the team’s general manager. “We’ve had trouble scoring goals in all [four] games we’ve played. That’s part and parcel of a lot of new guys playing offence. Unfortunately, with a shortened season…we’re missing offensive players more so than defensive players.”
The Knights opened the six-game RMLL season on the road July 7, with a 10-3 loss at the hands of the Calgary Mountaineers. Rockyview followed up that defeat with a 6-5 setback against the Outlaws on July 10 and an 8-5 loss against the perennially strong St. Albert Miners on July 17.
“We had a really short bench when we went to Edmonton and lost 6-5 – they scored the winning goal with 20 seconds to go in the third period,” Berg recalled. “That one could’ve gone either way. I think it was 3-2 and 4-3 after each period. I think we only had 11 or 12 runners, so it was a short bench, and we were travelling.”
Finally playing at home for the first time in 2021, the Knights were at the Ron Ebbesen Arena on July 18, in their second of two regular-season battles with the Miners. According to Berg, the Knights struggled to find the net throughout their home-opener, going down 3-2 at the end of the first period and 6-2 after the second period.
“It was kind of weird – we controlled the pace of the play in the first, but just didn’t get a goal,” Berg said. “They scored a goal right off the first draw – their first shot on net went in. It’s always hard to start a game like that, trailing right off the hop. We hit a lot of posts in the first, but nothing dropped for us.”
Early into the third period, Berg said the Knights conceded a seventh goal, allowing the Miners to take a 7-2 lead. From there, he said the team’s play unravelled, and the St. Albert side went on to score an additional six goals.
After playing the first half of the regular season on the road, the Knights will finish off the campaign at home, with their two remaining games at the Ron Ebbesen Arena. Rockyview will take on the Mounties at 8 p.m. on July 28, before finishing off the schedule July 31 with a game against the Outlaws. Face-off is set for 5:30 p.m.
This year, there are just four teams in the RMLL’s senior B men’s division, as the Edmonton Warriors dropped out of the league for 2021. Due to that, Berg said all four senior B men’s teams will qualify for the post-season, with the first-seeded team taking on the fourth seed in a best-of-three series, and the second-seeded team taking on the third seed. The winners of those series will face each other for the league championship.
While it’s been a rough start to the season for the Knights, who are currently in fourth place, Berg said the enthusiasm among the group has been great to see. He added the players are eager and excited to be back on the floor, after the 2020 season was cancelled completely due to COVID-19.
“The night before our first game of the season, we had 28 guys at practice, which is way more than we typically have,” he said. “Normally, we’re lucky to have 20 at a practice.”
For more information on the Rockyview Knights, visit rockymountainlax.com