The Orangeville Northmen tested the waters in Game 1 of their OLA Junior A finals series against Six Nations, needing an overtime period to get past the Arrows. In Saturday’s Game 2, the Northmen defense make sure extra time wasn’t needed, holding the Arrows attack to just 4 goals in an 8-4 victory for a 2-0 lead in the series. So now Six Nations is left wondering what it needs to do to get past Orangeville. The Arrows scored 11 goals in Game 1, and lost. They allowed just 8 in Game 2, and lost. “We’re getting there, we’re getting our looks in there,” Six Nations coach Marshall Abrams told ILIndoor after Game 2. “But it’s got to be sharp … We’ll go right back to the drawing board and be ready for Game 3.” That game is tonight at Six Nations and time is running out for it to right the ship.
The teams split their regular-season series, each winning on their home floor. And as disappointing as the Game 2 loss was, giving up 8 goals in the overtime of Game 1 was even more disheartening.
“The overtime we just didn’t execute. Simple as that,” Abrams told The Brantford Expositor. “Giving up 18 goals like we did is an indication of that. I don’t think we’ve given up this much all year. It’s not a good time to have a game like this. We’re better than this.”
That may be, but as the Northmen showed in Game 2, nothing on offense for Six Nations is going to come easily.
“If someone’s cutting through the middle he’s not cutting through without feeling a little pain on the way out,” Orangeville defender Ian MacKay told ILIndoor. “Once we see a guy beat a guy underneath or up high and get in the middle, he’s got to know that someone’s coming every time.”
That the series took such a defensive turn is a bit of a surprise given the wealth of offense coming from both benches. In Game 1, Orangeville’s Jeremy Noble (3-4), Mitchell Jones (2-3) and Rob Hellyer (3-4) combined for 19 points (8-11). In Game 2, the trio was a combined 3-3. For Six Nations, Randy Staats (3-1), Josh Johnson (1-2) and Vaughn Harris (1-3) were had 11 points (5-6) in Game 1, but combined for just 3 points (0-3) in Game 2.
Of course, Warren Hill’s 53 saves for Six Nations in Game 2 played a big part in holding the Hornheads to 8 goals in that game. And a Six Nations offense without Johnny Powless in the first 2 games (upper body) also is having an effect, but that’s where the question of just what Six Nations needs to do resurfaces. The 11 goals scored in Game 1 is good enough to win a lot of games, and holding a team to 8 is usually good enough to win, too.
It just seems that so far in this series, whatever Six Nations is doing, Orangeville is doing a bit better.
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It’s kind of strange in that even though the Whitby Warriors were eliminated from the OLA Junior A playoffs, they’ll be back in action as hosts of the Minto Cup when the tournament gets started on Aug. 18. “We’ve lost our last game in our league but we live on to play another day,” coach Derek Keenan told DurhamRegion.com. “It’s a strange feeling and we’ve honestly struggled with it all year.” The Warriors, who won last year’s Minto Cup in B.C., were eliminated by the Orangeville Northmen in 5 games and although they wanted to win their way into the tournament, they’ll have to settle for being there as an automatic qualifier that’s granted each year to the host team. And while some may say the urgency was missing from Whitby because of that automatic ticket, Keenan says the 2 weeks before the tournament will be spent working hard to restore the urgency, as well as the cohesiveness on offense. “They’ve forgotten how to play together and that’s a strength of ours, playing together as a unit and working together,” Keenan said. “Now it’s become an individual game and that’s not how we play the game.” … Individual Junior A awards winners for the OLA: Joey Nieuwendyk Award for Rookie of the Year: Zach Herreweyers (Peterborough); Bobby Allan Award for leading scorer: Dhane Smith (Kitchener-Waterloo); John ‘Gus’ McCauley Memorial Award for top defensive player: Jason Noble (Orangeville); Gaylord Powless Memorial Award for most sportsmanlike: Curtis Knight (Whitby); Dennis McIntosh Memorial Award for Most Valuable Player: Dhane Smith (K-W) and Jeremy Noble (Orangeville); Robert Melville Memorial Award for outstanding goalies: Alexis Buque (Whitby) and Lukas Coote (Whitby); Jim Veltman Award for most outstanding player: Jeremy Noble (Orangeville); Jim Bishop Memorial Award for outstanding coaching staff: Brian Beisel, Corey Hallman, Mark Tinning (Kitchener-Waterloo); Jack Bionda Memorial Award, all-star teams, first team: Dillon Ward, goalie (Orangeville), Jason Noble, defense (Orangeville), Ethan O’Connor, defense (Burlington), Dhane Smith, forward (K-W), Jeremy Noble, forward (Orangeville), Johnny Powless, forward (Six Nations); Second team: Warren Hill, goalie (Six Nations), Graeme Hossack, defense (Whitby), Kyle Isaacs, defense (Six Nations), Randy Staats, forward (Six Nations), Curtis Knight, forward (Whitby), Mark Cockerton, forward (Whitby) … The Junior B finals shift to Akwesasne and the Indians are going to need that home-floor advantage to overcome the 0-2 hole they’re in against Six Nations. The defending Founders Cup champion Rebels are ahead in the series after a dominant win in Game 1 (15-6) and a narrow victory in Game 2 (8-7) in which they were able to defend the fast break of Akwesasne. “They pushed the pace on us,” Tyson Bomberry of Six Nations told the Brantford Expositor. “The offensive guys had to react to those long passes to get us back out there. It’s about knowing where each other are and putting pressure on the ball. They move the ball quick so you have to be smart out there.” Game 3 of the finals is set for Friday and if Games 4 and 5 are needed, they’ll be played at Akwesasne on Saturday and Sunday … Minto Cup update: The tournament begins Aug. 18 in Whitby with the Warriors as 1 of 4 participants. The other OLA team will be either Orangeville or Six Nations and Orangeville has a 2-0 lead in that best-of-7 series. Out West, the Coquitlam Adanacs and Delta Islanders are tied 1-1 in the BCJALL finals, and in Alberta, the Calgary Jr. Raiders have a 2-0 lead in their best-of-5 series against the Jr. Mountaineers. Of interest in that series is the reinstatement of James Delaney and Jordan Daradick to the Raiders’ roster. Those players are part of an ongoing CLA inquiry as to how many out-of-province players Alberta teams are allowed to dress and the Raiders have a total of 4 players in question. Delaney and Daradick, 2 of the team’s top scorers, were benched early in the semifinal series against St. Albert, so their return in recent games means Kyle Dexter and Ethan Trotter were not dressed.Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at email@example.com or go to RochesterSports.com.
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