After eight weeks of games, the 2011-12 Central Iowa Lacrosse Association Box Lacrosse League has neared its end. Tonight’s games will determine who will square off for the inaugural Jim Burk Trophy.*
Game 1 – # 4 Dragons vs #1 Cyclones
These teams have met twice this season, with the Cyclones emerging as 12 point victors on both occasions. Undefeated this season (as well as the past two seasons), the Cyclones are definitely the favorites. With two wins (both against the Tigers), the Dragons’ prospects look grim. But playoffs are known for creating magic, which means that things could fall into the Dragons’ favor tonight…
As usual, the Dragons will be short on numbers and their legs will simply give out early. Relying on their experience, the Cyclones will toy with the Dragons and wear them down before turning up the pressure. Once they flip the switch, the Cyclones will be relentless. Expect a surge of goals in the second and third to send a strong statement to their next opponent.
Game 2 – #3 Bulldogs vs #2 Aces
In a rematch of last week’s second game, expect some ferocity on the floor. Rarely in this league do we see back-to-back games between opposing teams, so it will be interesting to see how much animosity carries over. The Bulldogs were on the receiving end of heavy pressure in last week’s game. Will they respond in kind?
Goalkeeping has been strong for the Aces with Sundermann excelling in his first season in net. Over 6 games, he has only allowed 21 goals. The Bulldogs have only managed to find the back of hit net seven times in two meetings. The constant defensive pressure surely helped, but so did the team’s strong transition game. Shooting accuracy and shot selection seem to be the Ace’s Achilles heel with the younger guys forcing ill advised shots. Getting over that issue should be a goal if and when the Aces establish a lead tonight.
Do not discount the Bulldogs’ potential to win this game though. Only ten goals separate the teams in their head-to-head match-ups and the Aces have yet to face a full bench. If the Bulldogs can manage a few more substitutes than their lone guy a week ago, then the dynamics of this meeting will radically change. The team’s biggest issue has been defense. There have been far too many times this season where the goalie has been left to fend for himself or with only one support man. Most opposing goals have come during these moments of weakness.** Recovering defensively should lead to more transitions and offense opportunities, as well as fewer goals scored.
The Tigers finished the regular season without a single win and failed to qualify for the post season. The play off seeding and unbalanced schedule will be reviewed for next year’s league. The odd number of teams made things difficult given our time constraints.
*The Cyclones won the league in its first two years, but there was no trophy to award.
**Well, duh. -Captain Obvious