Late addition fits in with Bs
Two-thirds of the way through the Ontario Lacrosse Association regular season, Avery Steinbach-Parker caught the eye of the St. Catharines WMKL junior B Athletics.
Playing for the Welland Generals, the 20-year-old Fort Erie native had four goals and one assist in a 21-11 loss to St. Catharines on May 30 and followed that up with a goal and a helper in a 17-6 loss to the Athletics on June 1.
“We didn’t know too much about him until the back-to-back with Welland just before the trade deadline,” St. Catharines head coach Alec Tamas said. “He picked us apart in the first game and as soon as we saw him play in the first game all the coaches agreed that he was someone we had an eye on to pick up at the deadline.”
The Athletics did just that and the 5-foot-11, 185 pounder has come as advertised.
“He has been a great addition for us. He had added a ton of depth and has a super high IQ. It has been awesome having him,” Tamas said.
In the moment, Steinbach-Parker wasn’t viewing the regular season games as an audition.
“I try to keep my game the same all the time, try my hardest, go from there and have fun.”
Steinbach-Parker had 21 goals and 40 points in 20 games to sit third in points with Welland but he has morphed into a defensive role with the Athletics. He had a goal and two assists in three regular season games for St. Catharines and heading into Tuesday’s Game 3 of the Athletics’ quarterfinal series versus the Hamilton Bengals, he had recorded an assist.
“He has been a O guy for most of his time but we kind of threw him out the back door for one game to try him out and he has been great,” Tamas said. “You can put him in anywhere on the floor and he is always going to make the right reads and plays. He is a really good threat in transition, he runs out on offence a little bit here and there and we use him on the power play.”
The graduate of Greater Fort Erie has enjoyed coming to the Athletics.
“It has been awesome. The guys and the coaches have been really great and they were very accommodating. They have made the transition feel easy.”
He has tried to fit in quickly with the A’s.
“Coming from Welland, we didn’t have as much success and coming to this team, they win a lot more games and it is a lot more competitive which is what I have been looking for for a while.”
He is more than happy to play defence for the junior Bs.
“We are in the playoffs and it is really competitive and whatever it takes to get the win. I do like offence more but they have allowed me to go up on offence, play transition and bring the ball up the floor.”
He appreciates Tamas acknowledging his lacrosse IQ.
“It is being in the right spaces and different decision making in the moment. They are split decisions and it is just trying to make the right decision.”
He feels his game has improved in the past season.
“My overall game has gotten a lot better and knowing both sides of the floor has been beneficial for being a lacrosse player. When you are taught from a young age to play with sides of the floor, it is important as you move up to higher levels.”
He is excited about the playoff potential of his new team.
“I think we can go far. If we put in the hard work, I don’t see anyone stopping us.”
Steinbach-Parker just completed two years at Genesee Community College where he played field lacrosse for the school. He had five goals and five assists in 11 games for the team this season. This fall he is heading to Brock and hopes to make that school’s field lacrosse squad.
The Athletics grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series Tuesday night with a 10-9 victory over the visiting Bengals.
Scoring goals or multiple points for the Athletics were: Colton Armitage with four goals and an assist; Jaden Patterson with a goal and three helpers; Sutter Pilon with three assists; Cody MacNeil with a goal and an assist; Trent Mooradian and Ian Kohut with two assists; Landon Jaeckle, Steinbach-Parker, Adam Ponting and Jack Parker with goals.
Scoring goals for Hamilton were Liam Luzza (3), Blake Booth (2), Ted Rawson, Nathan Jones, Shaun Glover-Noah and Cody Inness.
Game 4 of the series goes Thursday in Hamilton. If a Game 5 is necessary, it will be played Friday at 8 p.m. at Canada Games Park.