Minto Cup Preview: Edmonton Miners

Alberta Champion: Edmonton Miners

Regular Season: 10-5 (1st)

Playoffs: 7-2 (RMLL champions)


It's been somewhat of a strange season in Alberta's capital as the Miners have been belted with injuries for much of it. Studs Royer and Gautier missed different stretches while others shuffled in and out of the lineup around them. As a result there were a number of affiliates coming in and out of the Miner room and some inconsistent play followed at times. Despite that, the team stayed true to its character and fought through all of that to a first-place finish and league title as they came back on the Mountaineers in a deciding fifth game with a powerful third period to ride into the Minto Cup the way they wanted. Make no mistake about it, even though their spot was secured winning mattered. Objective number one was achieved and now last year's Minto Cup finalist will set their sights on objective number two, lifting lacrosse's most coveted trophy above their heads at home in one of the nations most historic arenas with family and friends looking on. Seriously, what is it better than that? If that doesn't give you chills check your pulse.

The Miners enter the tournament with plenty of dangerous offensive weapons, on the left side you obviously have Mathieu Gautier who broke onto the national seen last year with a standout showing in Brampton during the 2022 Minto Cup. His strength and ability to get to the tough areas of the floor as well as finish at a high clip should be on display. Then perhaps one of the smoothest players in the country Callin Harris who flys under the radar but is skilled, distributes the ball well and makes things look effortless. And don't forget about Briley Maxwell who burst onto the scene this year and has an absolute cannon from the outside. Move over to the right side you've got the dangerous and cerebral Jack Royer who has a way of slowing the game down and quarterbacking the offense. He's joined by athletic monster Luke Bowen who creates matchup problems with almost any defender with a great first step and can absolutely rip the pill. Kid is still somehow only turning 19. Now add Lukas Nielsen who came over at the deadline from New Westminster and does a great job of getting to the middle of the floor and oh yeah Raider star Kean Moon now joins the team as well. All this to say, offensive depth shouldn't be an issue.

With all the talent up front the Miners will need to get back to what makes any team at this level successful, quick ball movement with plenty of swings and off ball action. Something that at times they got away from this season. Keeping in rhythm will be vital for a team that will need it's offense to be strong and when the Miners are off its because the ball is staying in sticks too long. No better example of that was in the final game of the Mountaineers series where it looked as though a switch was hit and they returned to skipping the ball around the floor, spacing better and cutting off ball to the net. All leading to a dominant third period and a second consecutive RMLL title.

A slightly younger defensive unit will appear this time around than the one that hit the floor at last year's national championship. Head Coach John Lintz and staff have continued to emphasize a compact type of defense that takes away the middle of the floor and forces teams to have to shoot from the outside. The Miners fundamentals are usually strong, and they support each other well passing guys down to one another. A key for the Miners will be how they transition the floor and they will need to rely heavily on the likes of Ronin Pusch, Alex Lemieux and Jackson Ganton in that regard. Those three will be key for the Miners in this tournament. As will the play of netminder Jace Lesanko who has been solid all season and should help be a calming presence.

As I've said many times in the past, one of the strongest attributes of this team is their intense belief in themselves. A credit to not only the players but the coaching staff who have helped instill that. This is a gritty team with a ton of heart that won't be phased by adversity which is so important in a short tournament like this. Just look at least year when they fell to 0-2 in the round robin and bounced back in the final game to beat Victoria to advance. Those characteristics will make them very difficult to put away and teams are going to have to try and match the sheer will the hosts are going to bring. The safest bet of this Minto Cup is that John Lintz, Richard Lachlan and Ben Snider will have this team ready to go. No moment has been too big these kids whole lacrosse careers, I don't think this one will be either.

The Miners open the 2023 Minto Cup Sunday night at 8:00pm against the Ontario champion Burlington Blaze. For more information check out and @TheMintoCup on social media.

By: Muhammad Jomha


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