The Estevan Tarpon Energy Juvenile Big Dogs lacrosse team concluded the regular season with a 22-7 loss to the Regina Riot.
Rhett Handley led the scoring with six goals, and Tanner Froese contributed the other.
Coach Evan Handley said that they had a short bench with only nine players, which resulted in some of the forwards playing defence.
“Those guys haven’t played a lot of defence this year, but as the game went on, they got a lot better,” said coach Handley. “It’s tough on the kids when they don’t play something, and they get thrown into a game against a team that does have skill.”
The score was 11-1 after the first period. The Big Dogs made some adjustments, and in the third, they allowed just three goals.
The Big Dogs had multiple players called up, and the coach was impressed with the play of Austin Ludwig and Brady Long.
Going into the playoffs, coach Handley said it is crucial that they have a full bench.
“We need everybody there for us to be successful,” he said. “When we don’t have everybody it's too hard to play in this league without a full bench.”
He believes the Big Dogs are better than their 1-10-1 record indicates. They should have picked up two wins earlier in the season against the Yorkton Bulldogs. Yorkton's only victories of the season came against Estevan.
“Both of those games I thought we should have won, but when you don’t have bodies, it’s tough to compete in this league, as there is too much talent and there are too many skilled kids," coach Handley said.
The Big Dogs will be the seventh and final seed in the playoffs, and they’ll be matched up against the second place Saskatoon Smash. The game will take place in Saskatoon.
“Everybody needs to play one of their best games ever, for us to have a chance to beat the Smash,” said coach Handley.