Jacob Danyluk of Canora, Toby Olynyk of Buchanan, and Shae Peterson of Sturgis were members of a team that attended a lacrosse tournament in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 12 and 13. The Saskatoon Spartans Elite 16U team competed in the junior varsity division of the Great Pumpkin Shootout and came away with an exciting first-place finish.
The trip did not exactly start out ideally as the team had to travel through horrible weather conditions to get to the site of the tournament, reported team representatives. Once across the border, the bus slid into the ditch and when the group was finally towed, members found out the main highway was closed. They had to take an alternate route and finally reached their destination almost ten hours later than expected. Even though the trip was difficult, this only seemed to motivate the team members and they seemed to decide, “We can’t just go through a trip like that and come home empty handed.”
The boys had been working hard during the summer with kids from all over the province travelling to Saskatoon almost every weekend since the middle of August to practice or play exhibition games in preparation for the tournament. The weekend started against a strong team from Manitoba. Everyone wanted to score the first goal on American soil and Olynyk had the privilege. It was an accomplishment he said he will remember forever, and the game ended with a 6 to 3 win. Next the boys earned a hard fought 3 to 1 victory against the ‘Nightmare on Elm Creek’ team to close out day one of the tournament.
The next morning, all the pieces of the puzzle started to come together, and the team cruised to a 13 to 0 victory against Shakopee, Minn. Even though team members had played their best game of the tournament that morning, they faced a very tough team in the next game against Delano, another Minnesota squad. The Spartans were down by one until Peterson scored a goal to tie the game with roughly two seconds left. This secured the top spot for the Spartans in their pool and a position in the finals. The boys had a quick break, and then the real test began. The Spartans started off the final against Apple Valley, Minn. with two quick goals but soon found the lead diminished to one goal for the rest of the game. Peterson said they faced the best goalie he has ever played against and regulation time ended at 3 to 3. The two teams would need overtime to decide the winner. Danyluk, who had been hurt in the previous game and was unable to play in the final, said “I was ready to rip my hair out during the entire game and especially overtime, but deep down I knew my team was going to win.”
Luckily for him and the rest of the Spartans, he was right. Peterson had two goals in the final and assisted on the gold medal-winning goal in overtime. The team members were “grateful to the coaches, organizers and their parents for making it possible for them to play in this tournament.”
They said it was a weekend they won’t soon forget.