Across North America playoff season has arrived for summer box lacrosse. It’s no different in Minnesota – yes, Minnesota – as the Regional Box Lacrosse League-Minnesota begins its championship series on Thursday night. The finals are a best-of three series with a berth to the IBLA National Tournament on the line.
Expansion club Eastside Freeze (2-4) will host Game 1 against the regular season titleist Minneapolis Wheat Kings (6-0). Game time is scheduled for 7:00 PM at Hastings Civic Center.
RBLL Minnesota Finals (best-of three) this week!
Minneapolis WheatKings 🆚 Eastside Freeze
Thursday – Game 1 at Hastings Civic Arena
Sunday – Game 2 at Northeast Ice Arena#RBLLmn 🥍 pic.twitter.com/iIkzDv8AgJ
— RBLL Minnesota (@RBLLmn) August 20, 2019
Mike Mawdsley is the player to watch as he led RBLL Minnesota in scoring with 44 points in five games played. The Ontario-born forward was a four-year starter at NCAA Division I Sacred Heart (2011-14). A fourth round pick by the New England Black Wolves in the 2014 NLL Draft, Mawdsley will be a player the Freeze will have to defend closely.
Minneapolis GM/player Nick Midboe believes the team is peaking at the right time. “I think we’ve done a good job staying focused throughout the season,” said Midboe. “The old adage of it being hard to beat teams multiple times definitely rings true and I’m proud of us sitting at 6-0, but none of that matters if we don’t take care of business this week.”
A Farmington High School alum, Midboe played collegiate lacrosse at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The majority of the Wheat Kings roster includes players with MCLA college experience.
Other players to watch for the Wheat Kings include Ben Banse (St. Mary’s) and Kyle Mork (UM-Duluth) who each posted 14 points; 11-year NLL veteran Ryan Ward played just three games Nathan Brunelle and Seth Scott each played significant minutes in net.
Burnsville grad Will McKinney was a NAIA standout at Indiana Tech with 245 points in his 60-game college career. He led all Freeze scorers this summer with 11 goals, six assists in four games played. Giussepe Palermo (St. Thomas), Grant Glazier (Lindenwood), Seth Noble (UM-Duluth) and Emmitt MacFarlane (Adams State) all had double-digit point totals in 2019.
Minneapolis defeated Eastside in all three matchups this summer, but Freeze coach Luke Nelson believes in his team. “It will definitely be a challenge against the Wheat Kings, but we believe it is an achievable goal,” said Nelson. “We’ve held our own against them through pretty much two thirds of the last two games. As long as we can stick to our game plan and play a full three periods, I think we can make our way to the national tournament.”