|(Photo Credit: Dave Fryer)
After the OJALL and RMLL Championships this week the 2018 Minto Cup has been set. The 2018 Minto Cup will be held in Alberta for the first time since 2011. Because it is being played in Alberts the ALA gets two teams and the BCJALL and OJALL champions make it as well. The field is as followed; Brampton Excelsiors (OJALL), Coquitlam Adanacs (BCJALL), Mountaineers (RMLL), and Okotoks Raiders (RMLL).
The Excelsiors are coming off their first OJALL title since 1994 and their first OJALL finals run since 2009. The Excelsiors came into the playoffs as the number two seed. They would beat the Mimico Mountaineers in the first round and the Toronto Beaches in the semifinals. In the OJALL finals they defeated the Orangeville Northmen in five games as they won the best of seven series 4-1.
Brampton has no shortage of talent as the top three point scorers in the OJALL play for the Excelsiors. Clarke Peterson leads the league with 58 points (18G, 40A) while Jeff Teat has 48 points (22G, 26A) and Brenden Welsh has 42 points (12G, 30A). The Excelsiors Austin Hasen is the fifth leading point scorer and he has 38 points (12G, 26A). In cage for Brampton is Steve Orleman who is fifth in the OJALL in saves with 153 and a .627 save percentage.
The Adanacs seem to be a main stay in the Minto Cup as they will be making their tenth straight appearance in 2018. The BCJALL champions beat the Victoria Shamrocks in the semifinals to set a date in the finals against the New Westminster Salmonbellies. The Adanacs defeated the New Westminster Salmonbellies in six games as they won the best of seven series 4-2.
The Adnacs have a ton of talent as they have the second point scorer and the assist leader in the BCJALL. Dylan Foulds lead the BCJALL in assist and was second in points as he had 96 points (64A, 32G). Some of the other top players for Coquitlam are Dennon Armstrong and Gabe Procyk. Armstrong has 65 points (30G, 35A) on the season and Procyk has 51 points (24G, 27A). In cage they have none other than Christian Del Bianco who has been a stud for them and in the NLL for Calgary. Del Bianco lead the BCJALL in save percentage with .856 and 456 saves.
Jr. A Mountaineers
The Mounties were the RMLL runners up as they lost to the Jr. A Raiders in the finals. Since the tournament is being held in Calgary they get two teams in this year as both RMLL finalist will make the cut. To get to the RMLL finals the Mounties had to beat a tough Saskatchewan S.W.A.T team in the semifinals. They lost in the finals in game six as the Jr. A Raiders won the series 4-3.
Some of the players to be on the look out for on this Mounties team are Jake Foster, Jake Gillis, and Laszlo Henning. Foster and Foster each had 68 points in the regular season as Henning had 46 with 23 goals and 23 assist. That made Foster and Gillis tied for in points in the RMLL. In cage for the Mounties is Zachary Yobek Stabel. He has been good for them this season as Stabel has 124 saves with a 80% save percentage.
Jr. A Raiders
The Raiders come into the 2018 Minto Cup as the RMLL Junior A champions. They are the second Alberta team since Alberta gets two bids. The Raiders had a tough road to the Minto Cup as they had to beat the Jr. A Blues in a semifinal series that went to four games. They then defeated the Jr. A Mounties in seven games to win the Finals and capture a RMLL championship.
The Raiders have a lot of skilled and talented players on both sides of the ball just like every team here does. Their leaders on offense are Brett McIntyre, Zac Maneti, and Levi Anderson. McIntyre is second in points in the league with 72 (41G, 31A). Menit and Anderson are sixth and seventh in the league in points with 60 and 57 points respectably. In cage they have one of the best goalies in RMLL Jr.A with Joey Janvier who has an 80.8% save percentage and 168 saves. Jack Bruzzell-Friesz has also played in cage for the raiders as he has put up 41 saves with a 93.2% save percentage.