The Edmonton Miners (4-4) fresh off their stunning upset victory over the Oakville Rock faced the defending champion Ladner Pioneers (7-1) in the Gold medal match-up Saturday evening at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre.
Both teams fought hard in their semi-final matches to get to this point. Ladner, led by Ryan Benesch, Tyler Pace and Austin Shanks were firing on all cylinders. Edmonton got the majority of their offense from Levi Anderson, Matt Kristiansen and Mike Triolo.
The goaltending match-up had Cam McLeod in net for Edmonton facing Christian Del Bianco in net for the Pioneers.
A game that looked like it might become a runaway quickly for Ladner, with a 4-1 lead after one, and a 9-4 lead nearing the end of the second. Credit to the Edmonton Miners who battled back in the third period getting as close as 10-8, with still 10:00 to go. Christian Del Bianco was sensational down the stretch not letting Edmonton get any closer, while the Pioneers were able to get a little breathing room scoring twice more (one into an empty net). Ladner wins 12-8 to become back to back champions.
Big games from Phil Caputo, Ryan Benesch and Austin Shanks led the way for the Pioneers. Levi Anderson, Mike Triolo and Matt Kristiansen led the way for the Miners.
To The Game:
Ladner got on the board first when Phil Caputo converted an Austin Shanks pass at 2:35, but was answered by the Miners on the power-play when Levi Anderson fired a laser off a Mike Triolo feed at 4:47.
The Pioneers regained the lead when Austin Shanks finished a Tyler Pace feed from in front of the net at 14:02, followed by a howitzer from Phil Caputo just inside the restraining line off an Austin Shanks pass at 14:55.
Ladner increased their lead with a laser from Austin Shanks that banked off the crossbar off a Ryan Benesch pass at 18:43.
After one period, Ladner 4 Edmonton 1.
Shots on goal were 16-11 in favor of the Pioneers.
Edmonton got on the board first when Levi Anderson fired a howitzer off a Spencer Milne feed at 2:36, but Ladner answered right back with Austin Shanks covrrting a Mike Mallory pass at 3:26, followed by Alex Turner finishing off a James Rahe feed at 3:49.
Cam McLeod was replaced by Matt Hiebert in net.
Ryan Benesch welcomed Hiebert to the game scoring off his own rebound at 5:44.
Cam McLeod came back in the Miners net.
The Miners pulled a little closer scoring on the power-play when Matt Kristiansen converted a Tristan Rai pass at 12:14, followed by Rai finishing off a Matt Kristiansen feed at 13:29
Phil Caputo scored his third of the game from in close off an Austin Shanks pass at 14:14, followed by Shanks himself converting a pass from Mike Mallory in close at 16:33.
Spencer Milne kept the Miners in the game beating Christian Del Bianco high to the stick side off an Adam Yao feed at 17:14.
After two periods, Ladner 9 Edmonton 5.
Shots on goal were 19-14 in favor of the Pioneers.
Mike Triolo got the Miners on the board with a great individual effort fighting his way to the net at 1:01, followed by Tyler Burton converting a Jason Williamson feed at 5:59.
The Pioneers finally got on the board with a blast from Ryan Benesch off a Zach Herreweyers pass at 8:43, but Mike Triolo answered converting a Tyler Burton pass at 9:20.
Alex Turner gave Ladner a three goal lead again converting a Ryan Benesch feed at 11:48, followed by Jeff Cornwall scoring into the empty net to seal the deal with just 1:42 remaining.
Final score, Ladner 12 Edmonton 8.
Shots on goal were 13-10 for the Miners, for a game total of 45-38 in favor of Ladner.
Players of the Game
Edmonton Miners – Levi Anderson
Ladner Pioneers – Austin Shanks
Tournament MVP Mike Triolo
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Gary Groob has been involved with Lacrosse for the majority of his life, whether playing, coaching, or covering the sport for the media.
An avid fan, with a real drive about helping to “grow the game”, Gary became part of podcasts about the game in 2010. Through the podcasts, Mr. Groob was given an opportunity to write about lacrosse, and the rest as they say, is history.
Through many miles (flying and driving) Gary has made inroads with the National Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse League, the Ontario Lacrosse Association, as well as the Arena Lacrosse League, covering the leagues, their teams, and players, working for, and in concert with all of them.
In the year 2020, Mr. Groob was made the media person for the Arena Lacrosse League, voted onto the board of directors of the Brampton Excelsiors Lacrosse Club, as well as being made administrator of the Lacrosse page “Global Lacrosse” with a membership of 9000 members in over 90 Countries. Gary was also made an administrator of Lacrosse History Past Present and Future in 2022.
Mr. Groob co-hosts a weekly Lacrosse show on Spanglish Sports World, and ZingoTV channel 250, as well as writes a weekly lacrosse column for La Portada Canada News (both in print, and online).
Gary also hosts a Lacrosse talk show and podcast for The Edge of Philly Sports Network, seen live Sunday nights at 9pm (ET), and archived on the Edge of Philly YouTube page, as well as Spotify.
Mr. Groob’s other sports interests include Hockey, Football, Boxing, Wrestling, and Baseball, competing competitively in Boxing and Wrestling for many years.