OLA finals kick off Thursday at Six Nations

The Whitby Warriors rallied from a semifinal deficit to lock up another berth in the finals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Whitby Warriors rallied from a semifinal deficit to lock up another berth in the finals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

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…)

Last night: Warriors come back to eliminate Excelsiors in Game 6

The Whitby Warriors are heading back to the OLA Jr A finals after downing Brampton in six games. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Whitby Warriors are heading back to the OLA Jr A finals after downing Brampton in six games. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

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…)

Week 9 MSL Players of the Week

Scoring the game winner with three seconds left in the game: Matisz named Transition Player of the Week, Redmen secure first overall. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Scoring the game winner with three seconds left in the game: Matisz named Transition Player of the Week, Redmen secure first overall. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

What a week for one goal decisions; including two game winners for first place Brooklin Redmen in the final seconds of Monday’s and Wednesday’s games. In the only game that wasn’t decided by one goal, the Peterborough Lakers – playing their lone game of the week – breezed past the Brampton Excelsiors. In a quest to finish in the middle of the playoff pack, the KW Kodiaks were victorious in both of their one goal decisions last week. Rounding out current postseason quartet, the Six Nations Chiefs lost early in the week to the Redmen before adding two points to their standings with a win against the Oakville Rock on Saturday. Despite close finishes in three of four games, the Rock and Excelsiors lost all week 9 games they played. (Read More…)

WLA 3 Stars: Jackson, McBride and Stevens outshine field under pressure

Casey Jackson's big week helped Burnaby score 2 big WLA victories. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
Casey Jackson's big week helped Burnaby score 2 big WLA victories. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

When you’re hot, you’re hot. That’s right where Casey Jackson finds himself these days and the Burnaby Lakers couldn’t be happier with the timing. Jackson was a third star last week for the Western Lacrosse Association, and his work this past week to help the Lakers lock up the No. 2 seed in the WLA playoffs earns him the top spot as ILIndoor’s No. 1 star. He’s joined by veteran teammates Dane Stevens, who is this week’s third star and in between them is New Westminster’s Jordan McBride, who came through big time in the clutch to help the Salmonbellies clinch their first playoff berth since the 2011 season. (Read More…)

Fan poll: Best American to play in the NLL? It’s Tim Soudan vs. Chris O’Dougherty

Old school vs. new school. Offense vs. defense. Tim Soudan vs. Chris O’Dougherty. This is a juicy matchup that’d be worth the price of a ticket, no matter which era we’re talking about. Soudan is the former Rochester Knighthawks forward to didn’t just rely on his hometown connections to win over fans in Rochester. His hard work and feisty approach put him over the top in the hearts of Knighthawks faithful. O’Dougherty doesn’t have the lengthy NLL resume of Soudan, but he can’t help the chronological order of events, like birth. But given the way this young defenseman works himself so he can work over opponents, it’s no stretch to include him in the discussion of best Americans to ever play in the NLL. And that’s why he’s here today in this poll, leaving it up to you to help decide as ILIndoor continues its pursuit of the best American-born NLL player. (Read More…)

MSL 3 Stars: Steenhuis, Jamieson and Vitarelli stand out

Cody Jamieson had a 6-point night against Oakville in Six Nations 7-6 win. (Photo: Darryl Smart)
Cody Jamieson had a 6-point night against Oakville in Six Nations 7-6 win. (Photo: Darryl Smart)

Teams are battling for playoff positioning as the Major Series Lacrosse season gets into its final week, the tenth of the summer season. The IL Indoor MSL 3 Stars for Week 9 are led by a very familiar face, a player who isn’t battling for the scoring title because he has it salted away. Mark Steenhuis just keeps doing it for the Peterborough Lakers. He is leading the scoring race by 30 points. Steenhuis leads the league in goals, assists, points, power play goals, shorthanded goals and game winning goals. He’s done just about everything the Lakers could ask for and more for the team this season, and he’s done it consistently. Steenhuis is one of four Lakers to play every game this season, with just one contest to go in Brampton this Thursday. He also played in every game last summer. He’s a fan favourite for his flashy play, but there’s plenty of substance to go with the style. (Read More…)

Nanaimo Timbermen heading into another offseason without a WLA playoff berth

Cayle Ratcliff, left, scored his 100th career WLA goal this season, but he'd much rather be a playoff participant with the Nanaimo Timbermen. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
Cayle Ratcliff, left, scored his 100th career WLA goal this season, but he'd much rather be a playoff participant with the Nanaimo Timbermen. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

The Nanaimo Timbermen lost 11 games this summer and 5 of those losses were by 2 goals. That’s how close they were, but it’s also a sign of how far they have to go to become a winning team again. The Timbermen will miss the Western Lacrosse Association playoffs for the seventh straight season, the official cut coming in Saturday’s 12-5 loss to Burnaby. “The work ethic is there. Guys want to win; it’s not like they’re not trying,” coach Kaleb Toth told the Nanaimo Bulletin. “It’s just we’re not playing a full 60 minutes. We’re making too many small mistakes.” With a 4-11-1 record heading into their final 2 games of the season, Nanaimo’s youth will get good look because Toth believes that it’s the young legs that will turn this franchise around. But for at least 1 more season, the T-men are heading into the offseason with a familiar gnawing in their gut. “We gave it everything we can but fell short,” captain Graham Palmer said. “It seems like I’m here talking to you about the same thing after every season. It’s getting frustrating. It’s tough.”

NLL Hall of Fame ceremony for Coyle, Hall set for Sept. 3 at Langley Events Centre

The National Lacrosse League has announced the NLL Hall of Fame Ceremony for Class of 2014 inductees Pat Coyle and Chris Hall is set for Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Langley Events Centre at 7:30 p.m. PT. The event, which includes video montages, guest speakers/presenters, induction speeches and plaque unveilings, will take place in the LEC Banquet Hall. Admission is free of charge and open to the public. Coyle will become the first Hall of Fame member inducted exclusively as a defenseman while Hall was elected in his first year of eligibility following his retirement from coaching after the 2014 NLL season. (Read More…)

Last Night: Six Nations Arrows top Peterborough to advance to Ontario finals

Goalie Doug Jamieson and the Arrows celebrate their series-clinching victory over Peterborough. (Photo: Ward Laforme Jr.)
Goalie Doug Jamieson and the Arrows celebrate their series-clinching victory over Peterborough. (Photo: Ward Laforme Jr.)

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…)

Junior A Excelsiors determined to snap out of funk against Whitby and extend season

Goalie Martin Quintan and Brampton are looking to right the ship heading into Game 6. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Goalie Martin Quintan and Brampton are looking to right the ship heading into Game 6. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

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.