Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Field lacrosse players look inside the box

Stuebing, McKay adjust to Rocky Mountain league

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It looks like a big adjustment, but don't tell that to Jordan McKay and Brandon Stuebing.

The pair of field lacrosse players -- who are accustomed to a 110 x 60-yard pitch -- seemed quite at home Saturday in the close confines of box lacrosse, which is played in a hockey rink.

Stuebing of Dugald and Winnipeg's McKay each scored three goals as their Manitoba Gryphons split a pair of Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League games with the Calgary Chill in Oakbank.

The Gryphons, in their first year in the Junior B league, won the opening game 8-7 for their first victory at home, but lost the nightcap 13-7, bringing their record to two wins and six losses.

McKay and Stuebing both play the field game for the Lindenwood University Lions of St. Charles, Mo. McKay had a pair of goals and an assist in the Gryphons victory, and Stuebing had a goal. In the loss, Stuebing scored twice and assisted on two more while McKay had a goal and an assist.

Also scoring for Manitoba in the first game were Matt Garvey with two, Paul Nicholson, Dax Burtniak and Kyle Saunders. In the second game, Lug Sanders, Nicholson, Garvey and Cole Selin added Gryphon goals.

McKay said he primarily played box lacrosse before going to Lindenwood University, but added he had seen some action in field lacrosse before playing in the U.S. "I actually had a lot of experience in field lacrosse," said the third-year Lion, adding that he had been to a few tournaments in Colorado, where he had been scouted.

"The coach who was there had some contacts who watched me. Then they evaluated me at the school, and put me where they thought I would fit. It's just fundamental lacrosse. It's all passing, catching and running. As long as you can do those things you are pretty set."

For Stuebing, whose father Ken is the Gryphons head coach, it was a little more difficult. "Actually going from box to field was a lot harder. It took a long time for me to get hold of it, but coming back to box I've actually improved a lot so, it (field) helped me. Down there it's pretty intense. It's high tempo, fast-paced, we practice every day and condition like crazy. It's way different."

Calgary didn't take well to losing the first game on Saturday.

"The Chill are a solid team and I knew they would come out hard in second game," said head coach Ken Stuebing. "You don't get better by playing weaker teams, we knew this was the level of play we were going to be exposed to."

Both Brandon Stuebing and McKay welcome the opportunity to play in this, the Gryphons' inaugural season in the RMLL. "I came from Kitchener where the game is a lot faster," said Stuebing. "It's kind of slow here, so it's nice to get the fast tempo again and play against some good kids."

"I've been with the (Gryphons') program for a lot of years," said McKay, "and it's really good to see the growth. It's a huge change. The competition level is great, and it is actually good to have a team that can compete."

The Gryphons next home games will be against the Saskatchewan SWAT on July 2 and 3. Game times at the Oakbank Arena are 8 p.m., and noon.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 13, 2011 C8

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