Ladner Pioneers 2023 National Champions

by Frank Geyer

For only the second time in Presidents Cup history, a BC team has won the trophy in consecutive years. The 2023 WCSLA champion Ladner Pioneers defeated the Edmonton Miners 12-8 in the final game of the tournament Saturday in Oakville, ON to repeat as National Senior B Lacrosse Champions.

Ladner jumped out to a 4-1 lead heading into the first intermission, on the strength of pairs of goals from Phil Caputo and Austin Shanks. After Edmonton cut the lead to two 2:36 into the second period, tallies from Shanks, Alex Turner and Ryan Benesch made it 7-2 5:44 in. The Miners responded with a pair of goals, followed by Shanks and Caputo continuing their scoring spree, and the Alberta champs closing out the period with a late goal to make it 9-5 heading into the final frame. The Miners made it 9-7 early in the third period, but that was the closest they would get as Benesch, Turner, and Jeff Cornwall with an empty netter sealed the deal for the reigning champs.

Christion Del Bianco, who played every minute in goal for the Pioneers during the tournament, stopped 30 of 38 shots, with Shanks (4G, 4A) leading the scoring.

With Ladner hosting the Presidents Cup in 2023, they are hoping to match the 1976-1978 Vernon Tigers as being the only BC team to win three championships in a row.