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Pioneers clinch semifinal berth

Ladner goes 5-1 in round-robin play at President’s Cup
The Ladner Pioneers will play in the semi-final of the President’s Cup on Friday afternoon looking to secure a spot in Saturday’s final. Optimist file

The Ladner Pioneers are off to the semifinals of the 2023 President’s Cup senior “B” national lacrosse championship.

Ladner completed round robin play on Thursday with a tight 9-8 win over the Snake Island Muskies to finish with a record of 5-1 and a second place finish in the standings behind host Oakville Rock.

Ladner will play the Muskies in one semi-final Friday afternoon, while the Rock will take on the Edmonton Miners in the other semi-final Friday night.

The winners will meet in Saturday’s final, while the losers will play for the bronze medal.

Ladner is trying to repeat as national champs.

The last B.C. team to repeat as champions was the Vernon Tigers back in 1976.

Ladner began round robin play on Sunday (Aug. 27) with a 10-9 win over the Miners.

Tyler Pace led the scoring with three goals and two assists, Austin Shanks had four points (2-2) while Ryan Benesch also had a four-point game (1-3).

Christian Del Bianco stopped 28 of the 37 shots fired his way.

On Monday, Ladner filled the net early and often in a 17-9 win over the Kahnawake Mohawks.

Benesch had an 11-point game with three goals and eight assists, Shanks had seven points (3-4), Pace had seven points (2-5) and James Rahe had a six-point effort with four goals and a pair of helpers.

Del Bianco stopped 28 of 37 shots.

Ladner scored nine in the middle stanza to blow the game open.

Tuesday saw the Pioneers topple the Six Nations Rivermen 8-3 with Pace leading the scoring with a goal and three assists.

Del Bianco was rock solid in net again stopping 45 of 48 shots.

Wednesday was a two-game day for the Pioneers.

They rested several players for their opening game of the day and it almost cost them as they pulled out a 5-4 win over the Tuscarora Tomahawks.

Phillip Caputo and Shanks each had a goal and two assists for Ladner.

Del Bianco stopped 43 of 47 shots in the win.

The evening game saw Ladner drop a 10-7 decision to the Rock.

Pace had three goals for the Pioneers, while Zachary Herreweyers added a pair. Benesch had five assists.

Del Bianco stopped 43 of 52 shots in his only loss in net in the tournament thus far.

In the Thursday win against the Muskies, Pace scored twice and added four helpers, Shanks scored a pair and Herreweyers scored once and added three assists.

Del Bianco stopped 42 of 50 shots for the win.

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