The Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League is Alberta’s amateur league for post-midget players, both male and female. There are seven male divisions, from Junior B to Senior B and two female divisions—Junior and Senior.
I have a cousin playing for the Red Deer Riot in the Junior Female Division. Checking the schedule, I saw that the closest her team would be to my hometown of Lethbridge this year was their June 18 game against the Okotoks Ladies Raiders and, as luck would have it, I had that Sunday open to make the trip up to take in the game.
Two things happened on the day: the weather driving north from my home to Okotoks developed into a terrifying rain/hail storm which was an adventure unto itself, and my cousin wound up not making the trip at all. Bummer, but there you go.
Having said all that, the game itself was entertaining. I hadn’t seen lacrosse at this level before so I was genuinely interested to check it out.
Going into the game, Okotoks was middle-of-the-pack in the league, while Red Deer was struggling, having not yet won a game. Things went about as one might expect—Okotoks got on the scoreboard first, with Kaylee Eyckelhoff scoring her first of two on the day, then they added three more before Red Deer’s Kirsten Krzywy broke the shutout with nine seconds left on the clock.
The second period was more of the same—the Ladies Raiders scored six times in the frame before the Riot’s Karlee Feragen scored with less than a minute left to get them back on the board.
The third period was more closely matched with Okotoks scoring just twice and Feragen getting her second goal of the game as the sole Red Deer marker. This was an easy win for the Raiders, taking the 12-3 victory.
Cameron De Paiva led the way for Okotoks with seven points (four goals, three assists), while Eyckelhoff added two goals and two assists.
It wasn’t all bad news for Red Deer. Carlie Strange was solid in net, making all the routine saves—the Raiders had only one power play in the game but Strange shut them down while under constant pressure. Jade Epp also stood out for playing an aggressive, up-tempo game, initiating contact, attacking the ball, and pressing forward offensively on transition. Feragen clearly has some touch around the net.
There is potential here, and a lot of younger players with several years of eligibility to mature, so things could improve in the next year or two.
The two teams faced each other again on June 25, with Okotoks once again winning comfortably, this time 12-4.
When all was said and done on the season, Red Deer wrapped up still without that elusive first victory. Okotoks finished the season at 8-8, in fourth place. Elsewhere in the league, the Top 3 from 2022 also finished Top 3 in 2023: the defending champion Sherwood Park Titans finished at third in the standings, with a 12-3-1, last year’s second-place finishers won the regular season at 13-2-1, and the 2023 bronze medalist Rockyview Silvertips finished with a 13-3 record in second place.
Riley Smith of the Titans won the scoring title with 48 points, while Okotoks’ De Paiva finished second, with 43 including a league-best 30 goals.
The playoffs took place last weekend. The top three teams, along with the host team, the St. Albert Drillers, played a round robin tournament, followed by third versus fourth for the bronze medal and second versus first for the championship. The Cardinals took the bronze medal game 12-5 over the Drillers. The Silvertips went undefeated through he round robin, but lost the gold medal game to the Titans by a 9-7 score, giving Sherwood Park two championships in a row. Ella Royer dominated the final game, scoring four times and adding two assists for the Titans.