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B.C. field wins first Alumni Cup

Provinical hosts upset Ontario 11-10 in u-16 final

Team B.C. tasted victory in the Alumni Cup for the first time at the Field Lacrosse national championships in Burnaby.

The provincial reps upset six-time national champion Ontario 11-10 in the gold-medal final at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex-West on Sunday.

"It's the first time since field lacrosse became a true national championship. Yeah, it's great," said B.C. head coach Scott Browning of Victoria. "It was a great team win. We had kids from all over the province.

"They all sacrificed their weekends. They had their box seasons and we basically had them for the full month of August. They made that sacrifice and they were rewarded today."

The two rivals were deadlocked at halftime.

"Our defence was the difference," said Browning. "(Ontario) had more possession, but we denied them good scoring chances and when they did get them, our goalie played well."

Tyler Klarner of Port Coquitlam led the attack with five goals on seven shots, including B.C.'s last two scores.

"But when (Klarner) scored it was because of the players around him," Browning said, adding the B.C. midfield was also a key element in winning the gold medal.

The win avenged a 10-8 loss to Ontario in roundrobin play on Saturday.

B.C. put up big numbers in wins over Manitoba and Alberta before defeating Saskatchewan 15-6 early on the final day.

Alberta edged Saskatchewan 12-9 in the consolation final.

In the u-19 national final, Ontario came from behind to eke out a 13-12 victory over B.C. to win its third consecutive First Nations Trophy.

B.C., winners of eight First Nations titles since 1997, opened the final game with a 4-0 start, including a pair of goals from recent B.C. junior A box player of the year Reegan Comeault from Ridge Meadows.

But Ontario managed to rally in both the first and second quarters to knot the contest at 8-8 at the interval.

The lead changed hands three times in the third period before B.C. took an 11-10 advantage into the final frame.

But Ontario scored three straight goals and B.C. gave up the ball on a couple of unforced turnovers late in the game to seal the final outcome.

"We're a little disappointed. I thought the kids played well (apart from the few mental errors)," said B.C. head coach Brian Spaven of Victoria. "In the last quarter we had lots of looks and chances, but we couldn't finish them."

Turnovers also proved the difference in B.C.'s only other loss to Ontario in the national tournament.

In an earlier 15-12 loss to the eventual champions in the preliminary round, B.C. was whistled down for 18 penalties, while Ontario capitalized on nine of them in the Saturday matchup.

B.C. also made five costly turnovers in the opening loss.

B.C. had little difficulty with the remaining opposition, blanking both Manitoba and Team Atlantic, while handing both Alberta and Saskatchewan double-digit losses.

Saskatchewan won its third straight bronze medal, doubling Alberta 23-11 in the u-19 consolation final.

For Saskatchewan, it was a satisfactory end for a lacrosse program that is doing its best to overcome challenges both with overall player numbers and geographical hardships.

On the opening day of the u-19 tournament, Saskatchewan gave Ontario a scare before losing 12-10.

"What we're looking to do is we're trying to expose our kids to both (box and field) games. We're looking for a hybrid player," Saskatchewan head coach Alan Luciuk.

"But it still comes down to the numbers we have and geographical barriers."

The closest rivalry between cities in Saskatchewan is anywhere from three to five hours apart, Luciuk said.