By Cole Parkinson
For Taber Times
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
It’s been a season to remember for the Southern Alberta Chaos lacrosse team and that success hasn’t ended in the playoffs. After gaining a playoff seat in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League, the Chaos saw themselves in the dance with a first-round matchup against the Rockyview Rage.
In a best-of-three series, the teams played all games at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre in Cochrane this past weekend. Game 1 went on Saturday morning and both teams were fired up. In the first period, both teams were able to generate tons of offence, but it was the Chaos who were able to carve out an early lead as they took a 6-3 edge into the second. The middle frame saw more scoring and the Chaos once again were able to put more past the Rage goalie. When the buzzer rang, the Chaos had scored another four goals against two from Rockyview and the teams headed into the third period. Both teams were able to score three goals in the third, but thanks to that lead built over the first and second periods, the Chaos took the first game 13-8. Austin Sheen and Connor Materi led the way offensively with four goals and six assists and five goals and five assists, respectively. Other offence came from Jacob Schukat (five assists), and Wyatt Vars (three goals), while Hael Maxwell-Lyster, Xander Boyd, Ryder Fomradas, and Daine Mattson all chipped in with an assist.
With a chance to wrap up the series in two, the Chaos resumed the series against the Rage later that day. Looking to stave off elimination, the Rage saw a slow start to the first period as the Chaos were able to jump out to a sizeable 4-1 lead in the first period. The Rage were able to get back into the game in the second as they closed the gap to two goals as the teams went into the third period at 6-4 in favour of the Chaos. The Rage offence came fully alive with five goals in the third period and they were able to take Game 2 with a 9-8 final. Materi added another two goals and two assists in the game while Schukat had a hat trick and an assist. Sheen tallied another goal and two assists while Vars had a two goals and one assist performance. Boyd also found the scoresheet with a single assist.
The series came down to a third and deciding game and the teams regrouped on Sunday afternoon to see who would advance to the next round. The opening period was a defensive battle between the two and the Chaos were able to score the only goal. The floodgates would open in the second though as the Chaos added another six goals while the Rage would add four of their own. With a 7-5 lead heading into the final frame, the Chaos were looking to drive the final nail home and advance to the second round for their first time. In another great period, the Chaos would double up on the Rage 4-2 and take the third game 11-6. Materi continued to be the offence’s engine with two goals and four assists while Vars added three goals and three assists. Sheen would score four goals in the game and add an assist, Jett Matisho had four assists, Boyd potted a pair of goals, and Luke Sheridan and Davis Pinksen had an assist each in the win.
With their ticket booked for the second round, the Chaos now prepare for the Cranbook Blackwolves. And the Chaos will be in tough as the Blackwolves finished first in the South Division with a 16-0 record. Game 1 goes on Saturday night at 5 p.m. while Game 2 is on Sunday at 11 a.m. If Game 3 is needed, it will start on Sunday at 5 p.m.