The Six Nations Arrows and Whitby Warriors get the OLA Junior A finals started this week with Game 1 on Thursday night at Six Nations. It’s the second straight season these squads will play for a berth in the Minto Cup finals in Langley, B.C. As the No. 1 seed, the Arrows have the home-floor advantage for this season, but will that really matter? The teams split their 2-game regular-season series with the visiting team winning each game. And in the playoffs this summer, Six Nations is 4-0 on the road and Whitby is 4-1. But there is one other X-factor heading into this series, and that’s the presence of forward Johnny Powless for Six Nations. In his final year of Junior A, Powless missed the entire regular season with a hand injury but returned for the playoffs and is the team’s leading scorer this postseason with 42 points (15-27) in 9 games. For the complete Junior A finals schedule, make the jump. READ MORE »
Archive for the ‘Ontario Junior A’ Category
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite losing big graduating classes of excellent players the last couple of years, the Whitby Warriors are right back in the OLA Jr A championship series after beating the Brampton Excelsiors 12-11 to win their semifinal four games to two. Whitby will face the Six Nations Arrows, whom they beat in last year’s finals en route to winning the Minto Cup. Last year, the Warriors lost the first two games of the finals to Six Nations but came back to win in seven games. This year, after losing the first two games to Brampton, Whitby didn’t even need to go to a seventh game. They won four straight to take the series. Nick Karam scored with 35 seconds to play to complete the latest in a series of comebacks in last night’s game that ultimately led to the victory. Brampton scored the first three goals of the game, but Whitby got the next three to tie things up after one period. READ MORE »
It looked a little shaky there for a moment. But in the end, the Six Nations Arrows were just too strong. A game Peterborough squad built a 2-1 lead in this Ontario Junior A semifinal series, only to see the Arrows respond with 3 straight victories, including last night’s 9-7 victory that eliminated the Lakers and clinched a berth in the OLA finals for Six Nations. Goals from Johnny Powless and Ian Martin midway through the third period helped the Arrows pull away from a 7-7 tie and lock up a spot in the OLA finals for the third straight season. READ MORE »
The Brampton Excelsiors have done this before, just last week as a matter of fact. But today, there’s a bit more urgency. Staring a 3-2 deficit in the face against the Whitby Warriors, the Excelsiors understand that in order to play more lacrosse past this week, they need 2 consecutive wins against the defending Minto Cup champions. That, or the gear is packed for the offseason and no one in Brampton is ready for that just yet. “They are the defending champions for a reason. They get better as the playoffs go on,” coach Dan Teat told the Brampton Guardian in regard to Whitby. The Excelsiors opened a 2-0 series lead on the Warriors before the Warriors did exactly what just about everyone knew they could do. But Teat and the Excelsiors believe they can do the same, it’s just a matter of polishing an aspect here and finding some focus there as the series resumes with Game 6 Tuesday at Whitby. “In the first two games we were a lot smarter in a lot of ways,” said Teat.
We’ve seen some interesting developments in the Junior A playoff scene over the last few days. Whitby has won 3 straight to take a 3-2 series lead over Brampton in 1 Ontario semifinal. In the other, Six Nations has rallied for a 3-2 lead in its series with Peterborough, even though the Arrows are an astoundingly ineffective 1-for-34 on the power play against the Lakers. Out West, Coquitlam isn’t ready to let go of its hold in B.C. as the Adanacs have won 2 straight against New Westminster to take a 2-1 lead in the B.C. finals, while the Junior Mounties are off to a 2-0 start against the Junior Raiders in the Alberta finals. For a closer look at each series and updated schedules and stats, read on after the jump. READ MORE »
The Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks are in, so now it’s a matter of pride. Sunday’s 8-7 win over Brooklin strengthened the positioning for the Kodiaks, who sit in third place by themselves in the Major Series standings as the final week of the regular season kicks in. The Kodiaks can finish no higher than third, but their final game of the season is Wednesday against Six Nations, which sits just behind K-W in fourth with 16 points. K-W has a 2-1 series lead for the season on Six Nations, so Wednesday’s game could mean a lot between the No. 3 and No. 4 seed, especially if the Chiefs win their game tonight against Oakville. How this all shakes down obviously remains to be seen, but this is the kind of fun that brings us back to the game again and again and again. READ MORE »
It’s a start, say the St. Catharines Athletics. Yes, they were swept in the first round of the playoffs this year, but at least they were in the playoffs. And that was a long way away from last summer’s 3-17 nightmare that wasn’t even close to the postseason. General manager Sean Allen said plenty of work remains, but finishing this summer with an 8-12 mark in the regular season wasn’t so much about changing schemes as it was mindset. “Just looking at rebuilding our brand, our culture, that winning mentality where it just becomes expected and we are able to deliver on it because the boys in the room firmly believe in will happen every night we step on the floor,” Allen told the St. Catharines Standard. “Last year it had to have been void because it was a lackluster effort but we were thoroughly impressed with many aspects of this year.” And so, it’s a start. And since the A’s graduate just 4 players, there’s a sense that they can hardly wait for the 2015 season.
Who were those guys? Just like the posse in the iconic Western movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, it took a while to figure out who was who for the Six Nations Arrows Friday night, but they sure were effective. Wearing yellow Peterborough Petes’ Ontario Hockey League practice sweaters and old senior Lakers’ shorts because they didn’t have their regular uniforms available at the game, the Six Nations Arrows dominated the junior Peterborough Lakers 15-7 to even their best-of-seven OLA Jr A semifinals at two games each. Johnny Powless, wearing number 9 instead of his usual 93, made himself known with a goal and 6 assists to lead the Arrows, who took absolute control of the game with a 7-0 second period that game them a 12-3 lead heading into the final 20 minutes. READ MORE »
As the final week of the regular season of the Major Series kicks in, here’s what we know: Brooklin can’t be caught, and Brampton can’t catch anyone. As for everyone else in between, there’s a lot to be decided and there’s a game this week that will have a lot to say about that. The Redmen have a league-best 26 points and although second-place Peterborough (20) can’t overtake the top spot, they’ve got some pursuit from Kitchener-Waterloo (16) and Six Nations (14). Those are the top 4 teams and would be the playoff field if the season ended today, but the season does not end, so let’s see what all the fuss is about the weekend matchup. READ MORE »
The Junior A playoffs are in beast mode with each semifinal series through 3 games. Brampton’s got a 2-1 lead on Whitby, the defending Minto Cup champion, and Peterborough’s overtime win last night gave the Lakers a 2-1 series lead on No. 1 seed Six Nations. Out West, the top-seeded New Westminster Salmonbellies opened with a Game 1 win over Coquitlam and with 2 games scheduled for this weekend, the ‘Bellies will find out if they can take complete control or if they’ll have a fight on their hands with the Adanacs. And in Alberta, the finals kick off with Game 1 tonight. The Junior Mounties, who are playing for the first time since July 6, take on the Junior Raiders for Alberta supremacy. READ MORE »