BY WAYNE SHEILS
Jesse Nash and Darian Noln-Ens of Warman combined for the one-two punch that earned Team Saskatchewan the B-side gold medal at the Bantam National Box Lacrosse Tournament in Saskatoon last weekend.
Nash led the provincial all-star team in points with 11, including 9 assists; while Noln-Ens was the squad’s top goal scorer, registering six markers.
This was the second year in a row the Bantam National tournament was hosted by Saskatchewan Box Lacrosse Association (SBLA) and the Saskatchewan SWAT. The five-day tournament featured the top players from across Canada.
After a tough 4-0 loss to the First Nations team in their opening game, the Saskatchewan boys rebounded to secure their first victory of the tournament with an exciting 6-5 overtime win against Manitoba.
Darian Noln-Ens scored two goals and Jesse Nash set up the overtime winner by Kaiden Fletcher of Saskatchewan Landing.
On Day Two, the home squad lost 9-4 to a very strong Team Alberta. Noln-Ens scored Saskatchewan’s first goal and Nash had an assist on the team’s fourth goal.
The evening game was one of the best of the tournament. Trailing 6-2 going into the third, Saskatchewan battled back to send the game in overtime when Nash scored their fifth goal with 50 seconds left, and 11 seconds later Noln-Ens netted the tying goal. Saskatoon’s Nolan Fetch scored the game winner in overtime.
Day Three saw losses to powerhouses Ontario (13-2) and British Columbia (8-0). With the previous overtime wictories against Manitoba and Nova Scotia the Saskatchewan squad advanced to the ‘B’ side final. Nova Scotia defeated Manitoba 6-2 to earn a rematch against Saskatchewan in the ‘B’ gold medal game on Saturday, August 6.
Nova Scotia started strong with a 2-0 lead before Noln-Ens set up Nash for Saskatchewan’s first goal. The second and third period was all Saskatchewan as Noln-Ens and Fletcher each scored a pair of goals, while Ben Swallow, Ausitn Normand and Tye Gillespie contributed singles. Nash added to his team-leading assists and points total with two more assists. Goalie Sam Marshall and the defense kept Nova Scotia off the scoreboard in the last two periods to earn an 8-2 victory.
“It was a great tournament with lots of good teams and players, said a jubilant Noln-Ens during the post game celebration. “It’s great to come away with the ‘B’ side trophy.”
Both Warman players felt it was fun to compete at the highest level and the experience will really help their development.
“It’s a great experience as we build for the future,” said Nash.
Joining Nash and Noln-Ens were players for Saskatoon, including: Nolan Fetch, Austin Norman, Warner Bristow, Easton Berms, Maxime Farbacker, Tye Gillespie, Nathan Jule, Tristan Tinker, and Samual Marshall. The Regina players included: Ben Swallow and Rance Meyer. Prince Albert had three players: Matthew St. Germaine, Jackson Bergen and Bauer Swyston.
The other players of the team included: Kaiden Fletcher (Sask Landing); Carson Krogsgaard (Gull Lake); Nick McKee (Melfort); Layne Soo-OyewasteKay (Fort Au’Aooekke); Bodee Badger (Leask); and Shane Friesen (Swift Current).
The team’s coaching staff included head coach Randy Trobak, assistant coaches Tyler Rybchinski and Brian Fletcher, trainer Neal Demans, and Manager Denise Fletcher.
On the ‘A’ side Team Ontario put an exclamation point on an undefeated week with a 13-1 victory of Alberta in the gold medal game played at Gordie Howe Kinsmen Arena on Saturday, August 6. In the bronze medal game the First Nations team beat British Columbia 8-5.