Red Devils set for home opener

Coaches want to be tougher this sea­son af­ter miss­ing play­offs

The Chatham Daily News - - SPORTS -

MARK MALONE THE DAILY NEWS

The Wal­lace­burg Red Devils shouldn’t be easy to play against this year.

Co-coach Jamie Knight ex­pects them to be not only bet­ter but also tougher than the team that missed the On­tario Jr. ‘B’ Lacrosse League play­offs last year with an 8-12 record.

“There were times we got bul­lied last year be­cause we were young and in­ex­pe­ri­enced,” he said. “I don’t like hav­ing those teams. We want to be tougher. That doesn’t mean we’re go­ing to fight, but we def­i­nitely want to add tough­ness to our team.”

They vis­ited London on Thurs­day for the sea­son opener. Their home opener is at 4 p.m. Saturday against the Elora Mo­hawks at Wal­lace­burg Me­mo­rial Arena.

The lineup is still com­ing to­gether. Some play­ers have school com­mit­ments, newly ac­quired Tyler Brown is likely side­lined un­til at least next week with a knee in­jury and Kyle Daw­son is still play­ing hockey with the London Na­tion­als.

“It seems every time we take a step forward, we take a step back,” Knight said about the roster, “but it’s the start of the year. I’m more con­cerned with how we fin­ish than how we start.”

Af­ter adding four play­ers (Brown, Vern Hill, Madisen General and Cole Dezainde) from Six Na­tions last week, Knight ex­pects to add two Amer­i­cans in May.

Man­hat­tan Col­lege fresh­man Nick Med­ley is from Louisville, Ky., and High Point Univer­sity com­mit Is­sac New­land is from Sleepy Hol­low, N.Y.

Knight and fel­low coaches Justin Durston and Jor­dan Durston were busy re­cruit­ing play­ers in the off­sea­son.

“We were look­ing from Nova Sco­tia all the way to B.C.,” Knight said.

The Red Devils’ of­fence is in good shape. The re­turn­ing play­ers in­clude Evan Mathany (87 points), Cory Lucier (84 points), Daw­son (56 points), Parker Gil­huly (53 points) and Carter Hast­ings (30 points in nine games).

Their vet­eran de­fen­sive corps in­cludes Bron­son Bea, Bren­dan Johnston, Brock Daugh­erty and Justin Sche­une­man.

The Red Devil’ de­fend­ers are too tal­ented to not play of­fence as well, Knight said. He wants them jump­ing into the rush more this sea­son and cre­at­ing scor­ing chances, just as he wants the for­wards to help on de­fence more, too.

“We want lacrosse play­ers,” he said. “That’s our big­gest thing. We want to get away from that of­fence-de­fence (men­tal­ity) and get back to hav­ing hy­brid play­ers.”

To do that, they’ve been work­ing on their con­di­tion­ing. Play­ers can’t go both ways when they’re gassed.

“We will be a run­ning team, no doubt,” Knight said.

No­ble Ja­cobs will be their No. 1 goalie, with Emily VanDamme as his backup.

“I re­ally hope this is his big, mas­sive break­out year,” Knight said.

The Red Devils’ coaches also have high hopes for midget play­ers Ri­ley Roe, Tyler Davis and Tan­ner Cole.

“I’m ex­pect­ing re­ally big things from our midgets this year, and so is Justin,” Knight said.

Bron­son Bea and the Wal­lace­burg Red Devils will play their home opener Saturday against the Elora Mo­hawks.

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