Sr. C: Lakefield Rage capture Nobile Cup

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The Lakefield Rage won the Ontario Sr. C lacrosse championship on home turf this year, victorious with an 11-0 season record to capture the Nobile Cup back in August.

The SSL (Senior Series Lacrosse) has seven teams based in cities from North Bay to Fort Erie and in between. The league started play in 2019, was shuttered by Covid in 2020, and so this was only the league’s second championship. The Six Nations Tomahawks were champions in 2019.

Lakefield, just 10 minutes outside the lacrosse hotbed of Peterborough, fielded a strong roster with players from the surrounding area, complemented by some out-of-towners with a multitude of Ontario lacrosse experience. The village of Lakefield was able to host the championship at the Lakefield-Smith Community Centre, home in the winter to the Chiefs of the Central Ontario Jr. C Hockey League.

The SSL’s 2021 season took place tournament-style over four weekends in July and August in St. Catharines, Ingersoll and Lakefield. Not every team was able to play every weekend, and even the Rage, who went 8-0 in the regular season, did not play in the first weekend in St. Catharines, though the schedule allowed every team played eight regular season games.

Much of the Rage’s success goes to their goaltenders, Ryan Masters and Marko Celic, who combined to allow just 26 goals against compared to the 80 goals the team scored.

Aaron Woods, a newcomer to the Rage, was named the league’s MVP. He scored twice and added two assists in the final game.

“I brought in Aaron Woods and Marko Celic to address issues that we had in 2019,” head coach and GM Derrick Crough said. “Scoring and goaltending were high on my priority list and they both filled their roles perfectly.”

Woods and Celic also play for Crough, and assistant coach Ray Dance, with the ALL’s Peterborough Timbermen.

“I was excited to get the opportunity due to the many COVID lockdowns, and the long awaited return to lacrosse. It was an interesting experience to say the least! There were a lot of players I grew up playing against, so it was great to get on the floor with them again,” praised Woods. “It turned out to be one of the best groups of players and staff that I have played with.”

Playoff weekend consisted of a double-elimination tournament. The Huntsville Hawks came through the loser’s bracket to challenge the Rage in the final game, which the Rage won 8-4.

“We were a little surprised to meet Hunstville,” said Crough. “It was a long battle for them to get back to the final.”

“We really came together quickly with limited practice time, and a tournament-like format with multiple games per day on the weekends,” Woods said. “We came up against some great opponents on the road to the championship, but with the team we had, I always had a good feeling we would be able to get the job done,” Woods said.

Both Crough and Woods agreed that it was great to be a part of the first live lacrosse in the area.

“Everyone worked hard around the league to pull the season together,” said Crough. “The atmosphere around the team and in Lakefield was amazing! The players knew we had something special and the community bought in as well.”