They didn’t get the result they wanted, but the Manitoba Gryphons walked out of the Founders Cup with their heads held high.
The Gryphons hosted the Canadian Lacrosse Association Junior B National Championship, otherwise known as the Founders Cup, at the St. Norbert Community Centre from Aug. 19 to 25.
The Gryphons broke their own tournament record, remaining undefeated throughout the round robin, which pit them against teams from Quebec, Saskatchewan, and New York.
"We finished first in the round robin," said Ken Steubing, head coach of the Gryphons.
"Unfortunately we lost the next game. That took us out of medal contention."
The first game of the playoffs, which saw them face Nova Scotia on Aug. 23, was a must-win for the Gryphons, but try as they might Steubing said it just didn’t work out for the team. Nova Scotia beat the Gryphons 11-9.
"They didn’t play terrible… I know they worked hard," said Steubing. "We just hit seven or eight posts and seven or eight cross bars, and the other team had the game of their lives.
"The way the tournament was structured, we couldn’t lose that game (and continue)."
After the loss, the Gryphons moved on to the tier two championships, where they won every game.
"I’m proud of their composure," said Steubing. "They came back with the desire to go through the rest of the tournament undefeated."
Unfortunately, that still meant they only came in fifth in the whole tournament. Despite that, the Gryphons left the arena with their heads held high with a 4-1-1 record.
"We brought home some hardware," said Steubing. "Just not the hardware we wanted.
"We were really in the top three teams," he added. "I think everyone in the tournament felt the same way."
The Ontario Lacrosse Association defeated the Calgary Mounties in the championship round 17-12.
The Gryphons have faced a hard road competing in the Founders Cup. Steubing recalled five years ago was the first time the Gryphons made it to the tournament after years of failing to. In 2009, the Gryphons only won one game in the tournament, but they improved from there.
They won two games in 2010’s competition, three in 2011 and four in 2012.
"We are now a legit contender," said Steubing. "Our team was strong enough to medal."
Regardless of this year’s placing, Steubing is excited for next year.
"We have a lot of good talent," said Steubing. "We’re losing 10 this year, but we have a very talented young group."