Portage's own Garon Blanchard is heading to the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League's playoffs. The defender helped guide the Manitoba Blizzard to the top spot in their division this regular season, finishing with an 11-9 record and a +2 goal differential.
The Blizzard will now be taking on the Regina Queen City Kings in a best-of-three series to open their postseason. Blanchard says they started the year off with a few hiccups but he believes they are hitting their stride at the perfect time.
"The regular season started off a little bit rough. We had a couple of guys, like myself, that were still playing with their college teams. Once we were back, we kind of found our rhythm with a very new team," Blanchard continues. "After our two-year break from COVID, we had to rebuild quite a bit. We found a rhythm though, played some good teams, picked up some big wins, and definitely won some games that we maybe shouldn't have."
The local started his season at Adrian College in Michigan, and he says doing so put him in a great position when he returned to the Blizzard's roster.
"I think it definitely helped me defensively as I'm a defenceman down at school as well," Blanchard explains. "The biggest thing was probably the cardio. My cardio was pretty decent coming back from school after playing a full season down there. So, I'd say cardio and all-around knowledge were two major benefits."
Blanchard notes they may have a huge opportunity ahead if they can come out on top against Regina.
"We're in the East Division, so we play against Regina and Saskatoon. Regina came in second this year, so we play them for the Division Championship," says Blanchard. "If we win the division, we'll head to the Final Five in Calgary. Five teams from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, or Alberta come together, and we play basically a round-robin series. It's one game elimination, and it's just a big tournament to end the season."
The Portager adds they're a fast and young team and are ready for whatever is thrown their way. Blanchard says he's very hopeful that they'll be able to win it all this year but notes he has a personal goal he'd like to achieve along the way as well.
"I'm still looking for my first goal of the season. I haven't had one yet. I've had multiple opportunities but just haven't been able to bury one. So, I'd love to get a goal and win our division as a team."
The Blizzard will have home field against Regina, with the first game going down on Saturday, July 23 at Maples Arena in Winnipeg. For the full schedule and more details on the squad click here.