Thursday, September 15, 2016

Chiefs win third Mann Cup in four years

Photo by Tim Prothero
The Mann Cup has returned to Six Nations.
On the strength of a six-goal second period, the Six Nations Pro-Fit Chiefs captured its third Man Cup championship in four years with a 14-6 win over the Maple Ridge Burrards Wednesday at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.
The Chiefs win the best-of-seven series 4-1 to claim the Canadian men's senior A lacrosse title.
"It's incredible," Randy Staats said. "It doesn't get better than this."
Staats led the way for the Chiefs,
scoring all three of his team's goals in the first period. The last, with 11 seconds remaining in the frame, gave the Chiefs a lead they would never give up. Staats, who is a favourite to win the National Lacrosse League Rookie of the Year, also handed out four assists.
Ryan Benesch also had a huge game, scoring four goals and two assists. Like Staats, this is his first Mann Cup championship.
"A lot of people say this is the hardest trophy in sports to win, and after this series I believe it," Benesch said. "We worked so hard to get here. We were down 3-0 in the Peterborough series (Major Series Lacrosse final) and we clawed our way back, so there was no way we were going to let that go to waste."
Cody Jamieson continued his legendary playoff run, adding another two goals and two assists, despite being hobbled up on one leg thanks to a knee injury.
Dan Dawson also added a pair of goals and five assists, which left him with a series-best 23 points. His efforts garnered him the Mann Cup Most Valuable Player award.
"You know what, this truly has been amazing," Dawson said. "It's an amazing playoff run led by some of the best players in the world. What more can you say about guys like Dillon Ward and Cody Jamieson?
"Dillon was incredible this entire series and was nearly perfect in the last four games against Peterborough," he said. "And then there's Cody. What he's done with the injury he has is nothing short of incredible. If this was baseball or hockey, someone would make a movie about him and what he's done to lead this team. This was also truly a team effort. Every single guy here contributed."
Adding one goal each was Brier Jonathan, Craig Point and Austin Staats.
For Austin Staats, this more than made up for not getting to the Minto Cup this year with the Six Nations Arrows. The junior A call up was one of many focal points on the Chiefs offence, and was a threat every time he had the ball.
The Mann Cup gives the 18-year-old four championships in as many years, winning the Founders Cup with the junior B Six Nations Rebels and two-straight Minto Cups with the Arrows. But what made this one more sweet, was being able to share it with his brother Randy.
"To be able to lift this is just awesome," Austin said. "But to do it with my brother is something you can't describe. To do it with him and have our family here is really special."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Chiefs defence bares down in Game 4 win

Photo by Darryl Smart
The fourth one is always the hardest, and the Six Nations Pro-Fit Chiefs don't need to look too far away to remember that.
On Tuesday night at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, the Chiefs inched one game away from the Canadian men's senior A lacrosse championship with a 9-7 win over the Maple Ridge Burrards.
"It's definitely a grind. That's what the Mann Cup is about," Chiefs' Billy-Dee Smith said. "Every shift means something and it shows after the game because both teams are exhausted."
Though exhausted, the two teams have begun to dislike each other.
"That's what makes a series what it is," said Smith, who was a backbone on defence and scored his first goal of the season, which was an empty-netter. "Right now I don't like them."
Smith's insurance marker with seven seconds left in the game capped a three-goal run that led to the Chiefs win.
After Dan Taylor and Ben McIntosh gave the Burrards the lead early in the third period, Randy Staats scored his second goal of the game to tie things up six minutes into the frame, with Dan Dawson scoring the winner two minutes later.
"Whenever a team makes a mistake, it seems like the other capitalizes," Smith said.
the Burrards came out flying in the first period, as Luke Gillespie continued his impressive Mann Cup, scoring the game's first goal a minute in.
Austin Staats tied things up, before McIntosh again gave the Western Lacrosse Association champions another lead. But Cody Jamieson and Ryan Benesch responded to give the Chiefs its first lead of the game.
McIntosh struck early in the second period, before Dhane Smith and Randy Staats replied midway through the frame. The Burrards also had an answer, with Connor Goodwin and Jarrett Davis scoring, before Benesch gave the Chiefs the lead back with four seconds to go in the period.
"A team that moves as well as them it comes down to communication," Smith said. "If you aren't talking you run into trouble. They have a great offence. I think it's the best one we've faced all season. they're showing why they are here."
Like the rest of the series, the goalies were again a huge factor.
Dillon Ward made 44 saves in the win, while Frankie Scigliano stopped 41.
"I'd much rather be up 3-1 than be tied 2-2," Chiefs coach Rich Kilgour said. "You have to give Maple Ridge a lot of credit. It's tough going on the road. We learned that in Victoria. They have no quit in them and they keep coming back. They even had a lead and we were forced to answer the bell."
McIntosh said they aren't done yet.
"There's a lot of heart in our room and you know what, if we had a bounce here or there go our way, we'd be the ones that are up," McIntosh said. "We have to keep moving forward. We're down 3-1 and now we're playing for our lives. We have to watch film and be ready for tomorrow. Hopefully we are the ones getting the one with the empty net."
The Chiefs can clinch the Mann Cup on Wednesday in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series. Kilgour said they aren't taking anything for granted.
"Look back at the last round. Things can go south in a hurry," Kilgour said, referring to being down 0-3 to the Peterborough Lakers in the Major Series Lacrosse final. "We haven't won anything yet. Three wins doesn't get you the Mann Cup. That's what we're focusing on. They're clichés but they are for a reason. They're tried and true. I'm going to do my best to get them ready for tomorrow. You don't get the fourth win easily. We have to be prepared to play 60 or 70 or 80 minutes. Whatever it takes."
Game time Wedensday is 8 p.m.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Jammer returns to lead Chiefs to OT win

Photo by Darryl Smart
Cody Jamieson has made a habit of, well, just being Cody Jamieson.
After sitting out the first two games of the Mann Cup nursing a knee injury, Jammer returned to the lineup and was one of the best players on the floor, scoring three goals and four assists to lead the Six Nations Pro-Fit Chiefs to a 9-7 overtime win over the Maple Ridge Burrards.
The Chiefs now lead the best-of-seven Canadian senior A men's lacrosse championship series 2-1.
"I always want to be in there," Jamieson said. "It's tough to watch. I wasn't able to be on the bench Saturday night, so I had to sit in the stands. I didn't like that at all. I wanted to play."
Jamieson gave the Chiefs some insurance in the extra frame, scoring midway through after Austin Staats continued to impress, netting the game-winner 26 seconds into overtime.
"This was a big win for us," Jamieson said. "We were disappointed in our effort Saturday. We wanted to bounce back. Everyone punched in and worked hard."
Jamieson made his presence felt early, scoring two minutes into the game, before Owen Barker and Craig Point exchanged goals.
In the second period, the Burrards and Chiefs kept exchanging goals. Ryan Benesch, Jamieson and Randy Staats scored for the Chiefs, while Luke Gillespie, Matt Symes and Jarrett David responded for the Western Lacrosse Association champions.
After Ben McIntosh and Vaughn Harris continued the see saw, the Burrards finally nabbed its first lead of the game when Gillespie and Connor Goodwin scored three minutes apart.
But with just over a minute to go in regulation, Point scored his second goal of the game to force overtime.
Dillon Ward was again sharp between the Chiefs pipes when called upon, making 22 saves.
"It was actually tougher playing in a game like this," Ward said. "With so few shots, you don't get into your regular  rhythm. I really had to stay focused."
Frankie Scigliano was again great in the Burrards net, almost stealing a win in a 46-save effort.
"It's a tough one to lose," Scigliano said. "The good thing is that it's a quick turnaround. We just have to forget about this one and come back to work tomorrow."
Game 4 of the Mann Cup series resumes Wednesday at 8 p.m.
To watch a replay of Game 3 CLICK HERE

Burrards carry chip after early-season sanctions

Photo by Darryl Smart
After the Maple Ridge Burrards took Game 2 of the Mann Cup with a convincing 13-9 win over the Six Nations Pro-Fit Chiefs Saturday, head coach Rob Williams couldn’t help but reflect about his team’s journey to the national senior men’s lacrosse championship. 
It’s certainly warranted, especially since nobody thought the Burrards would get this far.

At one point this season, they almost didn’t get the opportunity to play for the Western Lacrosse Association championship, let alone upending the defending Mann Cup champion Victoria Shamrocks.

It did definitely motivate us,” Williams said. “We had lots to prove to the people that had lots to say about us being the (Burrard Street) Bullies. But we’re a very skilled team too. There’s lots of talent on this team. So yeah, that motivated us for sure.”

On June 8, the WLA did more than slap the Burrards on the wrist for what it felt was inappropriate behavior on the floor. A written resolution, signed by six of the seven governors of the WLA, each representing a team in the league, forced the Burrards to post a $25,000 surety bond with the league.

The terms of the bond required the Burrards to comply with the 2016 WLA Operating Policy, and receive no further suspensions or fines arising from fighting-related incidents.

If they did, their season was done.

“Now that we’re here, maybe it was partially good for us,” Williams said. “But a lot of it, honestly, if you’ve been around lacrosse for a while, in my mind, it was pretty ridiculous.”

The WLA’s ruling came on the heels of a May 29, 2016 game between the Burrards and Burnaby Lakers. During that game, 16 penalties (one minor, eight majors, seven game misconducts) were assessed related to an incident with 15 seconds remaining in overtime.

According to the WLA, this wasn’t an isolated incident.

Starting from that game (May 29), the Governors reviewed videos and game sheets of six additional games since 2013 in which the commissioner suspended Burrards players for fighting or unsportsmanlike conduct,” the WLA release said. “All seven games included in the review occurred while the Burrards were at home, and five of the games’ incidents were within the last five minutes of play in the final period, after a point where any reasonable lacrosse fan would consider the game decided.”

Despite the off-floor battle with its league, the Burrards forged on. They won that May 29 game, the second of the season, 6-4. Before the decision was made by the WLA, they were 4-0, and won again the day after the ruling was released.

But the next month the Burrards went 2-4-1, before gaining a full head of steam en route to the WLA title.

“We were 4-0 before the bond,” Williams said. “It was a rallying point, but it took a while to learn what level we can play at. What was acceptable in our league. As it turns out, I feel that it’s a lot cleaner here than it is at home.”

As for a chip on their shoulders, Williams said it may be there, but the real motivation is in the dressing room.

“The other thing that motivates us is this group,” Williams said. “This group has come along together for a long time. It’s a great team. Like I said the other night, everyone backs each other and supports each other. We have plenty of depth, so guys are coming in and out of the lineup and they all have each other’s backs. There’s nobody complaining about playing time. They’re a great group of friends and a family.”
CLICK HERE to watch Game 3 of the Mann Cup series live, or on demand.
To follow the series online with the CLA, CLICK HERE

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Burrards even Mann Cup 1-1

Photo by Darryl Smart
When Maple Ridge Burrards head coach Rob Williams said his team wasn't going to back down from the Six Nations Pro-Fit Chiefs, he wasn't lying.
Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they came out a bit flat, leading to a 13-9 loss to the Western Lacrosse Association champions at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena Saturday.
 "We took our foot off the gas tonight and in the end it burned us," Chiefs' Ryan Benesch said. "We have to go back and get focused. I think we were a little lackadaisical. We have to be more focused."
The best-of-seven Canadian senior men's lacrosse championship series is now tied 1-1.
"They won some of those battles early and put us on our heals," Chiefs head coach Rich Kilgour said. "I think we came out flat tonight. They proved they're a good team and they're here for a reason. We didn't have the same work ethic. I think we learned a valuable lesson."
In a reversal of Game 1, the Chiefs scored the first goal of the game thanks to Ethan O'Connor. But it  was the Burrards who responded with four goals from Riley Loewen, Matt Symes, Ben McIntosh, and Luke Gillespie.
The two teams exchanged punches in the second period, with Benesch, Dhane Smith and Austin Staats scoring for the Chiefs, while Gillespie, Symes, McIntosh, Dan Taylor and Jarrett Davis responded for the Burrards.
The Chiefs showed life in the third period, when Dan Dawson and Staats scored twice each with a single going to Benesch. But for every Chiefs goal, there was an answer thanks to Loewen, Gillespie and McIntosh."We came out like we had to tonight," Williams said. "In the west we aren't used to playing a defence this big, so we've had to insert some bigger bodies."
Enter  Gillespie and  Symes, who led the way for the Burrards.
"Symes and Gillespie was a good combination for us tonight," Williams said. "They were able to use their size to wear them out a bit and create chances.
"We have a lot of depth," he said. We aren't afraid of putting guys in the lineup. The guys play together and know what the goal is. A lot of that is just being a good teammate."
With a day off Sunday, the two teams reconvene at the ILA Monday at 8 p.m. for Game 3.

1st period
17:17 Ethan O'Connor
15:10 Riley Loewen - Mike Mallory, Ben McIntosh
14:44 Matt Symes - Mike Mallory, Ben McIntosh
4:24 Ben McIntosh - Connor Goodwin, Dan Taylor
1:22 SH Luke Gillespie - Dan Taylor

2nd period
18:38 SH Luke Gillespie - Jarrett Davis, Ben McIntosh
17:01 Ryan Benesch - Dan Dawson, Randy Staats
16:30 Matt Symes - Jarrett Davis, Dan Taylor
15:45 Dhane Smith - Ryan Benesch, Ethan O'Connor
11:31 Ben McIntosh - Riley Loewen, Jarrett Davis
8:41 Dan Taylor, Kevin Reid, Connor Goodwin
6:01 PP Austin Staats - Randy Staats, Dan Dawson
5:55 Jarrett Davis

19:12 Riley Loewen - Connor Goodwin, Luke Gillespie
16:48 Luke Gillespie - Mike Mallory, Jarrett Davis
12:20 SH Dan Dawson - Dhane Smith, Roger Vyse
11:47 Ben McIntosh, Mike Mallory, Connor Goodwin
7:16 Ryan Benesch - Dan Dawson, Austin Staats
6:19 Austin Staats - Dan Dawson
4:54 Austin Staats - Dan Dawson, Stephen Keogh
4:41 Dan Dawson - Ryan Benesch, Sid Smith
1:34 PP Riley Loewen - Ben McIntosh, Dan Taylor

Friday, September 9, 2016

Chiefs strike first

Photo by Darryl Smart
When Six Nations Pro-Fit Chiefs general manager Steve Dietrich pulled off the deals to acquire Paul and Dawson from the Brampton Excelsiors, he knew the brothers would be a key cogs in the wheel.
In Game 1 of the Mann Cup final, that was especially so.
While Dan was his usual self up front scoring three goals and four assists, Paul was a defensive force, while adding one goal and two assists, as the Chiefs beat the Maple Ridge Burrards 15-8 in front of a very full Iroquois lacrosse Arena.
"I don't usually get up there, but when I saw we had numbers I decided to go up with them," Paul said of his goal. "I saw my brother with me and got the ball back. He parted the red sea there taking out three guys which forced me to shoot."
That goal gave the Chiefs a 6-5 they would not give up.
"That was a big goal for us," Chiefs coach Rich Kilgour said. "Up 5-1 after one period, I think we were patting ourselves on the back a little bit. They came out with a ton of pride. They're here for a reason and showed us by coming back to tie things up. We needed that goal to get the momentum back."
After Ben McIntosh opened the scoring for the Burrards, the Chiefs came roaring back, with junior A call up Austin Staats leading the way with a pair of goals, while Dan Dawson, Randy Staats and Ryan Benesch scored the forst of his three on the night.
Aaron Davis, Riley Loewen, McIntosh and Dan Taylor tied things up, before Paul Dawson stopped the bleeding. Benesch, Dan Dawson and Randy Staats added goals to extend the Chiefs lead after two periods.
in the third period, Benesch scored twice, while Brier Jonathan, Roger Vyse and Dan Dawson add to the goal count.
Loewen, Jarrett Davis and Connor Goodwin responded for the Western Lacrosse Association
"It wasn't one of our best games, but it's Game 1," Davis said. "We've already turned the page on this one. We have a quick turnaround with Game 2 tomorrow. That's our focus now."
Burrards coach Rob Williams liked the way his team battled back in the second period.
"Those 15 minutes we played Burrards lacrosse," Williams said. "And you can see what happened. We play like hat for 60 minutes, I think it would've been a different game. But the guys are going to regroup, and we'll be ready tomorrow."
Game 2 of the series is 8 p.m. Saturday at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. If you can't get to the game, watch it live online thanks to JVI Sports Network HERE.

Chiefs use pickles to power them into the Mann Cup

When Dave Sowden arrives at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena for his Mann Cup preparations, he’s had a little extra cargo than usual.

For the last couple of weeks, the Chiefs’ light-hearted trainer has carried around a covered blue pale.

Its contents are about as key to the Chiefs’ success, as the return of Cody Jamieson.

“We started to bring the pale of pickles to the series in Brooklin,” Sowden said. “Some of the guys like them, so I thought I’d bring some along on the trip. Every game I brought pickles, we won. Even if they weren’t ready, the pickles were in the house.”

At the time it seemed to be a bit of a coincidence, so nobody thought too much about it. Only thing is, the players enjoyed what Sowden and offensive player Craig Point created.

Because of demand from friends and family, Sowden, not thinking anything of it, didn’t bring the pale of salty goodness to the first three games of the Major Series Lacrosse final. Suddenly they were down 0-3 to the Peterborough Lakers in the best-of-seven series.

Enter the pale of pickles and the crucial Game 4 against the Lakers.

“I had made more and some of the guys asked if I had any, so I told them I’d bring a pale to Game 4,” Sowden said. “I make about a bushel of cucumbers at a time. That makes two pales. We picked up another bushel, which made pales three and four in line with the games. Seriously, every time I brought the pickles with me to the arena, we won. So I kept doing it.”

As much as it may be superstition, the players have become fond of the brine pickles.

“There’s quite a few that eat them post game,” Sowden said. “Dillon Ward, (Ryan) Benesch, Jeremy Thompson is right into them. It’s funny to watch them. The guys get their pizza and then I’ll break out the pale of pickles and they’re into that.”

Sowden can’t hold his laughter back when he talks about what his hobby has turned in to.

“It’s just funny. I’m not sure how many people brine pickles. But it almost seems like a thing done here more,” Sowden said. “I know people make dill pickles and sweet pickles. The brine pickles seem to be unique to here.

“It all got started, last year when Craig (Point) and I decided to do it,” he said. “I know people have made them before and I never really acquired a taste for them. Some people like them salty, and some people don’t. The guy that showed me how to make them is young Ronnie Thomas. His pickles are just nice. They aren’t overly salty and they have a nice taste to them.”

Sowden will tell you where they got the cucumbers from, but he won’t tell you the recipe.

“If I told you, well you know,” Sowden said with a laugh. “We get them from farmer’s markets. Most of the time we get them in Hagersville. But since the season is almost over, Craig found the last two bushels in St. George. We just have enough pickles brewing for the Mann Cup.”