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Rockyview Silvertips triumph over Calgary Chill in RMLL central division championship

The 'Tips are Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League's Junior B Tier 1 central division champions.

The Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League's Junior B Tier 1 central division is officially bear territory.

The Rockyview Silvertips won the division championship over the Calgary Chill in Game 2 of the second round of playoffs at the Brentwood Sportsplex in Calgary July 23.

Now they're hoping to stake claim to the Larry Bishop Memorial Cup tournament in Okotoks July 29 to Aug. 1. 

"We're enjoying this accomplishment while it lasts but come today [July 25], we're back to work building for next weekend," said head coach Tyler Waycott.

The 'Tips are heading into the league championship coming off a 2-0 win in their best-of-three series against the Chill – a longtime divisional rival.

The two central teams clashed in playoffs in 2018, when the Calgary team beat Rockyview in the first round of playoffs, and again in 2019. The latter competition ended in Rockyview's favour after three games. 

League play was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

"To come back and see them in the playoffs again - three years in a row - and then to defeat them and get the divisional conference win is huge," said Waycott. "They've got a good team over there and some great young talent.

"Any game we win against them is worth celebrating."

Game 1 was a big scoring night for the 'Tips. It went down 24-8 at Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre on July 22.

Rockyview captain Nolan Oakey led in points with four goals and six assists, while teammates Owen MacCarthy and Josh Halcro both stood out with five goals and four assists apiece. 

Waycott said there was no question in his mind that everyone on the team came to play that night.

"Everybody on our offense was on the game sheet," he said. "We had a ton of guys contributing in all areas."

Including the back end, Waycott added. 

"Joel Nasse, our goalie, had four assists. We had a big night and we had a lot of guys contributing to our success."

Game 2 had a similar rhythm, according to the coach, though the scoreboard didn't weigh quite as heavily in Rockyview's favour by the end. 

The final score was 11-7. 

"I was very happy with the way our defense stepped up and allowed our offense to find the time and the rhythm they needed to start getting the ball in the net," said Waycott. "Our goaltending and our defense had some really big sets and great plays early on in the game and transitioned the ball well throughout."

It was another big night for Oakey and MacCarthy, who collected three goals apiece and three assists between them. 

Noah Simonelli, one of the team's newest additions also proved to be a force to be reckoned with by adding two goals and three assists to his name. 

Waycott said the game was a perfect finish to a great series. 

"The moment I remember most vividly [from Game 2] is standing on the floor when we were getting our pictures taken with the trophy and seeing the joy of the players celebrating with their families," he said.

"The message we keep telling the team as coaching and management staff is to enjoy every accomplishment that we set out to achieve this year."

The team had another goal of earning a first-round bye into playoffs. Earlier this month, they ended the regular season as the division's top seed for the first time ever.

"We as a team are very proud of ourselves - the players and all of the staff. This has been a huge season for our organization," said Waycott.

Joining the Silvertips at the Larry Bishop Memorial Cup to compete for the league championship will be the Calgary Shamrocks, Okotoks Marauders, Edmonton Warriors and Manitoba Blizzard.

The last team to win the Cup was the Shamrocks in 2019 against the runner-up Fort Saskatchewan Rebels.