News

Warriors hoping to make history

By Brian Smiley, Brantford Expositor

Brantford could be about to witness lacrosse history.
Beginning this week, the Brantford Warriors will be taking on the Clarington Shamrox in the Ontario Lacrosse Association’s best-of-seven Meredith Cup provincial junior C championship series.
While the schedule was yet to be finalized at press time, it was expected that Game 1 would be on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at the Gretzky Centre. However, readers are encouraged to visit the team’s website – www.brantfordwarriors.com – for confirmation of all game details including dates, times and locations.
Many years ago, Brantford witnessed some success at the national senior men’s level but at the junior level it has been a
different story for the city’s lacrosse teams.
People of a certain generation will remember the 1971 Mann Cup champion Brantford Warriors taking the senior men’s Canadian championship but other than a midget title in 1977, online records indicate that Brantford has not won an OLA junior A, B or C championship after the 1970s.
The Warriors will look to change that after successfully completing a huge comeback in the Meredith Cup semifinals.
Following a terrible 13-2 beating on July 24 in Game 3 of their best-of-five west division final against Fergus, Brantford clawed its way back and evened things up by handing the Thistles an 11-2 defeat in Game 4.
Playing on the road in the deciding game of the series on July 28, Brantford came out flying and never looked back on its way to a 14-5 win that gave the second-year team its first west division championship.
Beating the Shamrox will not be easy.
Since the junior C league came back from an almost 30-year hiatus, in 2008, Clarington has won four provincial championships, including last year’s.
The Shamrox have showed no signs of slowing down this season, going 12-4 during the regular season before sweeping both of its best-of-five playoff series.
Brantford, which was 9-7 during the regular season, will be the underdog after finishing fourth in the west division at the end of the regular season. It then upset first-place Six Nations and third-place Fergus in the playoffs.
Both teams have similar stats – Brantford scored 176 goals and allowed 138 during the regular season while Clarington notched 185 and allowed 121 – so on paper, the matchup looks good.
Where the Warriors will have to work hardest is in Clarington – the Shamrox are a perfect 12-0 at home in 2017 – and while guarding Brayden McGregor. McGregor finished second in league scoring with 41 goals and 44 assists in just 15 regular-season games.
Brantford may have an advantage in the fact it brings to the table a balanced scoring attack that includes Jayden Drage, Caleb Wells, Cole Robillard, Austin Giles, Connor Merritt and Michael Comeau. As well, since joining the team from the junior B Hamilton Bengals, Ty Argent has been an offensive spark, tying Robillard for the team lead in playoff scoring with 17 goals and 13 assists.
The Warriors may have a slight advantage in goalie Lucas Nagy, who has had a tremendous season.
OLA Major Series Lacrosse
Six Nations Chiefs
The Six Nations Chiefs don’t have the first-round playoff opponent most people would have expected.
As the second-place team in the regular season, the Chiefs should be facing the third-place Brooklin Redmen. However, the four playoff teams have decided to switch opponents.
As it stands now, first-place Peterborough is playing Brooklin while the Chiefs get the fourth-place Oakville Rock.
Regardless, the Chiefs were good against both teams, scoring three wins and a tie against Brooklin and four wins against Oakville.
Despite sweeping Oakville during its regular-season series, Six Nations was by no means dominant. In the four victories, the Chiefs outscored the Rock 45-34.
Also, Six Nations comes into the playoffs a bit cold, losing two straight, while Oakville won its final regular-season contest.
As the defending Mann Cup Canadian senior men’s champions, the Chiefs should still
be heavily favoured to get past
the Rock.
OLA Junior A
Six Nations Arrows
The Six Nations Arrows are awaiting word on their next stop but they know where their final destination will be.
Following a pair of playoff sweeps versus Toronto Beaches and Whitby Warriors, the Arrows have moved into the provincial championship. Six Nations will take on the winner of the other semifinal between Brampton and Mimico.
That best-of-five series was tied 2-2 with the deciding game being played late Monday night.
Although they have one more series to go, the Arrows have already qualified for the Minto Cup Canadian junior A championship.
With the national tournament taking place in Brampton, the two finalists from the OLA championship series get automatic berths into the Minto Cup. What’s left to be decided is whether Six Nations will be Ontario I or Ontario II.
The Arrows have won four Minto Cups in their history, including titles in 2014 and ‘15. Email excelsiors@bell.net for Minto Cup tickets.
OLA Junior B
Six Nations Rebels
The Six Nations Rebels bowed out of the playoffs by losing in the west division final.
Facing the Orangeville Northmen, Six Nations was defeated 3-1 in the best-of-five final.
Down 2-0 in the series, the Rebels battled back with an 11-8 Game 3 victory but it was heartbreak in Game 4 as Six Nations came up a goal short, losing 7-6.
Leading Orangeville 3-1 after a period in the decisive game, Six Nations went up 4-1 early in the second before things began to fall apart.
Following a pair of Orangeville markers that got them to within a goal, Six Nations regrouped and went ahead 5-3. However, three straight Northmen goals to end the period put the eventual winners ahead for good.
Layne Smith (one goal, two assists), Josh Miller (2A), Riley Miller (1G, 1A), Kevin Owen Hill (1G, 1A) and Gates Abrams (1G, 1A) each got two points for Six Nations.
Ontario Senior B Lacrosse League
Six Nations Rivermen
Defeating the Ennismore James Gang 3-0 in a best-of-five semifinal series, the Six Nations Rivermen will have their hands full in the league final.
Six Nations will open up the best-of-five Ontario final at Gaylord Powless Arena on Friday at 8 p.m. against the Owen Sound North Stars.
In the only games between the two teams during the regular season, Six Nations beat Owen Sound twice – by a goal each time.
The Rivermen defeated the North Stars 9-8 on the road on May 13 and then they scored an 11-10 victory versus Owen Sound at home on June 4.
Owen Sound swept Oakville 3-0 in its opening-round playoff series.
bsmiley@postmedia.com twitter.com/expbsmiley