Akwesasne Indians face familiar deficit in Jr. B playoffs against Halton Hills

The Akwesasne Indians have been here before, so can they do it again? Down 2-0 in their Junior B semifinal series to Halton Hills, the Indians need 3 big wins, and they need them consecutively to keep their season alive, along with their pursuit of a Founders Cup. Akwesasne faced a similar situation in the quarterfinals against Oakville, and they pulled it off to get to where they are now. But heading into Friday’s Game 3, the Indians are proceeding with a cautious confidence. “It wasn’t a good weekend for us,” GM Roy Ledoux told the Standard-Freeholder. “But all we can do is take it one game at a time.” The Indians lost their only regular-season matchup to Halton Hills, and the big question heading into Friday’s game is the status of goalie Sam Verville, who left Game 2 injured in the third period. Donovan Fleischer finished that game and may hear his number called again this weekend if Verville is unable to go.

Fan poll: Who is best American to play in the NLL? It’s Regy Thorpe vs. John Tucker

On Tuesday, we had old-school vs. new school, and offense vs. defense in an installment of our summer-long poll to find the best American-born player to suit up in the National Lacrosse League. Today, we have offense and defense again, but you’re going to have to settle for old-school all the way. Regy Thorpe was as nasty as it gets from the back end, dealing punishment and solid defense any way he could. And his solid work is going up against a crafty offensive player in John Tucker, who was part of the American movement in Philadelphia long before the shift in recent seasons. It’s awful fun to think of what these matchups would produce in real life, but we’ll just be thankful for at least the opportunity to enjoy them virtually (and so will John Tucker’s arms, who won’t be dealt any stick checks by Thorpe today). (Read More…)

Video: Sweet short-handed goal by Laidlaw helps Halton Hills take control

The Halton Hills Bulldogs have a 2-0 series lead on the Akwesasne Indians thanks to Sunday’s 13-7 win in Game 2. Seth Laidlaw scored 2 of the 13 goals for Halton Hills and while this short-handed goal in the second period didn’t exactly win the game, it certainly didn’t hurt. Check it out as Laidlaw goes airborn after an unmarked cut and cashes in to give the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead in the game. Halton Hills can clinch the series with a win in Friday’s Game 3. (Read More…)

Last night: Kodiaks edge Chiefs 5-4, finish third in MSL

KW downed Six Nations 5-4 Wednesday, giving the Kodiaks third place in MSL. (Photo: Darryl Smart)
KW downed Six Nations 5-4 Wednesday, giving the Kodiaks third place in MSL. (Photo: Darryl Smart)

In a game in which neither offence generated a lot of quality scoring chances, the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks beat the Six Nations Chiefs 5-4 on a goal by Chris Cloutier with 15 seconds to play. As a result, the Kodiaks finish third in the Major Series Lacrosse standings and the Chiefs finish fourth. The final game of the regular season–Peterborough at Brampton tonight–won’t have an impact on the standings. Joey Cupido scored the only goal of a sluggish first period, finishing off a two-on-one break with Glen Bryan to beat goalie Brennor Jacobs 2:34 into the game. KW outscored the Chiefs 3-1 in the second frame, including a pair of goals from Luke Laszkiewicz, to take a three-goal advantage into the final 20 minutes. Six Nations replied with the first three goals of  the third spread over about 10 minutes to tie things up. Neither team generated much offence as the game wound down. With a four-on-four situation late in the game, the Kodiaks pulled goalie Steve Fryer for an extra attacker. A Chiefs player came off the bench at the same time; the resulting too man men on the floor penalty resulted in a penalty shot because it was in the final two minutes of play. Cody McMahon missed the net on the shot. That set the stage for Cloutier’s deciding goal as the clock ticked towards overtime. (Read More…)

O’Neill: Thrilling Jr. A playoffs feature rallies in Ontario, clashing rivals in B.C.

Goalie Jason Weber has stepped in to anchor a Whitby team that lost its No. 1 goalie. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Goalie Jason Weber has stepped in to anchor a Whitby team that lost its No. 1 goalie. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

The 2014 Canadian Junior A playoffs have been full of excitement and full scale action thus far. In the East, we have seen our Canadian defending champs Whitby Warriors pulling up their boot straps after dropping the first two games of the semifinal matchup with the upstart Brampton Excelsiors. Whitby has done a total 180, overtaking the series with 4 straight wins to finish out the semifinals in style. The Warriors are playing their best lacrosse when it matters the most. Six Nations awaits Whitby, but the road to Minto Cup glory has been bumpy so far after the first round, being pushed hard and surviving some close calls in the 6-game battle with Peterborough. A healthy Johnny Powless should emerge more and more as the playoffs roll along which means no one can take this team for granted. (Read More…)

OLA Jr A Power Rankings: Arrows and Warriors are off to the finals

Doug Jamieson and the Arrows held off the Lakers to head back to the finals. (Photo: Ward Laforme Jr.)
Doug Jamieson and the Arrows held off the Lakers to head back to the finals. (Photo: Ward Laforme Jr.)

After a pair of tough six-game semifinal series, the OLA Jr A playoffs return to where they were last year: a best of seven finals between the Six Nations Arrows and the Whitby Warriors. Last year, Six Nations won the first two games but Whitby fought back to win the series in seven games. Both teams have lost significant players from last year’s team. Gone from Six Nations are Randy Staats, Vaughn Harris and Warren Hill. The Warriors are without graduates like Curtis Knight, Dan Lintner, Mitch DeSnoo, Chad Tutton, Graeme Hossack and Alexis Buque. But both teams are reloaded and refocused and desperately want to earn a trip to the west for the Minto Cup. There’s not much time for rest. After completing their six-game semis in just eight days, the teams will get right back at it Thursday night at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Six Nations Thursday night then return to Iroquois Park in Whitby Saturday for game two. (Read More…)

Suspensions and fines handed out to Adanacs and Salmonbellies following game four of the BCJALL Finals

The Salmonacs were a team back in the 50's, safe to say New West and Coqtuilam don't get along anymore
The Salmonacs were a team back in the 50's, safe to say New West and Coqtuilam don't get along anymore

Two nights ago the Coquitlam Adanacs and New Westminster Salmonbellies squared off in a very pivotal game four in their best of seven series to crown a BC Junior A champion. Leading two games to one, Coquitlam was hoping to put a strangle hold on the series heading into tonight’s game five but New Westminster wasn’t going to go quietly as they went on to a 13-8 win to even things up and give us a now best two of three finals.

However the bigger story was antics between the two clubs that saw a combined 228 penalty minutes in a fight filled final period that has left both squads depleted of many of their top players. As a result the BCJALL handed out 11 game suspensions between the two clubs and a $1500 fine to the Coquitlam Adanacs. The biggest hits were to the Adanacs who will be without their head coach Neil Doddridge for the remainder of the series after he was given three games as well as goalie Riley Camazzola who was given two games. James Rahe, Robin Lowenberger and Ray Banister were each handed one game bans by the league. Eric Penney, goalie for the Salmonbellies was give a one game suspension for his very high hit on Connor Stroup which really seemed to set things off. Johnny Pearson and Alex Bohl were give one game each for receiving their third game misconducts of the season.

Both teams will feel the effect of these suspensions heading into tonight’s game five but if we have learned anything from previous incidents like this, they’ll get back down to the business at hand and be ready to go for a crucial game five. These clubs were one one, but now they don’t get along and will have to refocus as two wins are all that’s needed to advance to the next round of the Road to the Minto Cup.

WLA Power Rankings: All seven teams set to dance in the final week of the regular season

Corey Small is a man on a mission trying to get his Victoria Shamrocks back to the Mann Cup. (Photo: Bruce Sototesbury)
Corey Small is a man on a mission trying to get his Victoria Shamrocks back to the Mann Cup. (Photo: Bruce Sototesbury)

So here we are, a week away from the second season starting out west and we have our combatants set. The league leading Victoria Shamrocks are looking to defend their WLA title as they’ll take on the New Westminster Salmonbellies in the opening round best of seven. In the other series, the Burnaby Lakers will host the Maple Ridge Burrards is what should be an incredible series between two young and hungry teams.

Even with the Shamrocks running away with the regular season title, it’s been one of the best season out west as all the teams had some sort of hope heading into the final few weeks of the season. However, only four make it and if the BC Junior A final is any indication, we could be in for some dandy lacrosse. Victoria won the season series with New West with three straight victories while Maple Ridge took two from Burnaby in three very tightly contested games. From here on out, it’s going to take 12 wins to capture the Mann Cup and for the four play-off bound teams they just have to get through one more game each before things get underway in a week. Let the fun begin as the Road to the Mann Cup hits another gear. (Read More…)

Video: Intensity boils over in B.C. finals for New Westminster, Coquitlam

It’s tied 2-2, this isn’t just any B.C. playoff series. It’s the finals, and it’s New Westminster against Coquitlam. The Salmonbellies knotted the series with Sunday’s win in Game 4, but the rivalry added some color with some PIMs. Actually, lots of PIMs in the third period. Check it out as the rage boils over and the result is fists of fury — lots of them — flying. Game 4 is tonight at New Westminster. (Read More…)

Young Langley Thunder hope trials, tests of 2014 pay off for future seasons

Langley coach Rod Jensen said youth and lack of experience kept the Thunder from the playoffs. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
Langley coach Rod Jensen said youth and lack of experience kept the Thunder from the playoffs. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

When the Langley Thunder were 6-5 back on June 25, life was good. Considering the Thunder broke from the gate with a 0-3 start, it meant they were 6-2 since that point. But those good feelings evaporated over the course of a 6-game losing streak and the capper was last Thursday’s loss to New Westminster, which officially booted the Thunder from the Western Lacrosse Association playoffs for the first time since 2011. Coach Rod Jensen is discouraged, but not flattened. “Its been really tough,” Jensen told the Langley Advance. “When you have a young team with players who haven’t played too much at this level you have to keep yourself thick-skinned, and we were vulnerable. It wasn’t for a lack of effort: it’s just that the guys didn’t execute well and didn’t do the basics.” And so the Thunder will close their season tonight at home against Nanaimo and head into the offseason knowing they’ll come back next summer a year old and, hopefully, a year wiser. “This was an enjoyable team to coach, even though we didn’t get results,” said Jensen.