Chilliwack’s Tyson Kirkness is a national lacrosse champion.
The Chilliwack Mustangs alum and his Coquitlam Adanac teammates captured the Minto Cup last Sunday with a win over the Brampton Excelsiors.
A 10-8 overtime victory in the fourth game of the best-of-five final sealed the deal.
The Adanacs scored two goals in 57 seconds in the extra session, the second one with Kirkness on the floor.
“Ethan Ticehurst picked up the ball on the breakaway and he scored top shelf,” Kirkness recalled. “I jumped into the boards with him and gave him a big hug because that was a huge goal.”
Just under two minutes remained at that point.
Even though goals can come fast and furious in lacrosse, Kirkness felt confident his Adanacs could close it out.
“Two goal lead with 1:50 left, it was time to bear down and we knew they (Brampton) were feeling added pressure,” Kirkness said. “We knew we were going to do absolutely everything we could to not let any goals get scored.”
Kirkness will long remember the closing seconds of the game and the mayhem that erupted afterwards as his team celebrated the win.
“I was called for a stick holding penalty and spent the last minute in the box,” Kirkness laughed. “I didn’t look up at all until I heard a scream with about 20 seconds left.
“Reid Bowering, our captain, intercepted a pass and he was ragging the ball and then the clock was counting down.
“With two seconds left, I told the guy who opens the penalty box door to step aside because I wanted to get out of that box really fast.”
The Minto Cup is awarded annually to Canada’s top junior A team.
This year’s four-team tournament was played in Calgary and included Coquitlam and Brampton, the host Calgary Mountaineers and the Okotoks Raiders.
The tournament was held Aug. 16-25.
Kirkness and company played three round robin games and one semi-final match en-route to the final.
The round-robin included wins over the Mountaineers (16-1) and Raiders (12-7) and a 12-9 loss to Brampton. After beating Okotoks in the semi-final (12-5), the Adanacs got another crack at the Excelsiors, and turned the tables in a big way.
Kirkness, a fifth year player, couldn’t have picked a better way to end his junior career.
Before each game at the Minto Cup, he went up into the stands and spent time reflecting on his lacrosse journey.
Kirkness started the season with the Langley Thunder, but was sent to Coquitlam at the trade deadline as the Adanacs loaded up for the playoffs.
He helped his new team steamroll their way through the B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League playoffs, sweeping the Victoria Shamrocks and taking down the New Westminster Salmonbellies in the best-of-seven championship series.
Some time soon he’ll get to keep the Minto Cup for a week, which means it’s probably coming to Chilliwack. After that, Kirkness will have the memories of the moment to last a lifetime.
“Lots of guys dream of winning the Minto Cup but never get the opportunity, and I’m thankful that I had my family there to support me in that moment,” he said. “It flew by really fast, but the memory that’s going to stick with me most is seeing their smiles. That and the friendships made with people I went through a war with.
“It will always be in my mind.”