Bad habits prove costly for Xtreme

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June 7, 2016 12:00 AM

The Lloydminster Xtreme were handed only their second loss of the season on Saturday against the Lakeland Heat, losing 10-7 after allowing seven second period goals.

All the bad habits the Lloydminster Xtreme formed over the first nine games of the season caught up to them on Saturday, as the lacrosse team dropped a 10-7 decision to the Lakeland Heat for only their second loss of the season.
The Xtreme came into the game as the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League junior B Tier 2 North Central Conference leader, but fell the Heat, who have won their last three games, by allowing seven goals in the second period, while only answering back with one.
Countless turnovers and penalties put the Xtreme on the defensive for most of the game, however, Lloydminster defence wasn’t up to its usual shut down calibre and allowed Lakeland to come away with the victory.
“Just a lot of bad habits really came to the forefront,” said Xtreme head coach Graham Murray.
“In the previous nine games we were getting away with turning the ball over a lot. We were playing some pretty good defence, but there would be times where we would just turn the ball over and finally a team caught all those turnovers and started making us pay for them.”
During the first half of the season, Lloydminster took on some of the conferences weaker teams, which allowed for the Xtreme to make mistakes and not pay for them on the scoreboard. But against high calibre teams who are fighting for a playoff spot and home game, play that often resulted in a Lloydminster goal earlier in the season is now going the other way.
And more often than not, into the back of the Xtreme net.
“Times where individuals went one-on-two, it worked against those worse teams, but teams that actually know how to play some defence, it just doesn’t work,” said Murray. “We just turned the ball over too much. Every bad habit that we have got going really hurt us.”
Lloydminster still holds the top spot in the conference, but with a challenging four days of lacrosse coming, starting on Wednesday night against the Vermilion Roar, the Xtreme could start falling down the standings and out of a home playoff game if the bad habits continue.
A rematch with the Heat will be played on Friday night in Cold Lake before the Xtreme head to Westlock to take on the Rock on Saturday.
“Hopefully the guys start to realize it takes more of an effort and a little more focus,” said Murray.
“Right now we are in a prime position to be hosting playoff games and if we don’t play well in the next three games, it is really going to hurt our chances. Our goal is still to host a playoff game and that is still obtainable right now. We just need to focus in again and forget about what happened on Saturday and keep moving forward.”
After this weekend, Lloydminster has two games left on the schedule, taking on the Edmonton Wizards who they defeated 12-1 earlier in the season, and Vermilion in the regular season finale.
The top six teams in the eight team conference make the playoffs and Lloydminster has already locked up a playoff spot, but the top two each get a bye week, so there is still plenty to play for heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Murray said it may be the best time for the wake up call to happen right before they take on three talented teams, rather than it happening in the playoffs and Lloydminster finding their season coming to an abrupt end.
“It’s not the worst for us to lose like we did,” said Murray.
“It was a real eye opener for the guys and hopefully they learned some lessons and we can continue on.”

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