MISSISSAUGA – On one hand, winning silver ain’t bad, but when you have to lose the gold the way the Six Nations Atoms did, it’s a little hard to take for the young players and their coaches.
The Atoms made it all the way to the “A” Championship game against a very talented Batchewana Attack, and until about three minutes remaining in the game, they thought they had the Gold in the bag. But the Attack had other plans, as they evened the score late in regulation time and sent the game into OT, where they eventually won 4-3.
“It was a tough one to lose,” said coach Ron General after the game. “It never should have gone into overtime. Our boys just stopped skating and after they (Attack) got those two late goals, and that was it. They were done. Our big line got shut down.”
Needless to say, the Batchewana Attack and their entourage were on cloud nine when they received the li’l NHL Cup for their division from Stan Jonathan.
“Batchewana have a great goalie (AJ Borrelli), I’ll give them that,” said General. “We were all over him but just couldn’t put one in that net.”
That was true. The Six Nations team were buzzing around the Batchewana crease for most of the OT period and got several chances, even hitting a post, which caused the large crowd at the Hershey Centre’s main arena to ooh and ahh, but they could not beat Borrelli in the 3-on-3 OT period.
Kaleyn Racette scored the first goal of the game with 1:29 remaining in the first period, assisted by Tristan Garlow and Ryerson Montour.
Dayton Montour made it a 2-0 game with 6:17 remaining in the second, unassisted. But that was erased a minute later by the Attack’s Trenton Thibault, with assists going to Ethan Desmoulin and Ethan Agawa, as the Attack began to gain their confidence.
Asher Martin restored the two-goal lead at 3-1 with 3:35 remaining in the third period from Dayton Martin, and it looked like Six Nations was on its way to Gold. A combination of Batchewana digging deep in the final minutes of regulation time, and the Six Nations Atoms perhaps looking past the game at hand conspired to change everything.
To their great credit, with 3:48 remaining in the third period, the Attack came on and brought themselves to within striking distance of Six Nations with Noah Michano-Drover’s unassisted goal.
That seemed to energize the Attack and scare Six Nations, who became disorganized and sloppy in their own end. Then with 1:42 remaining, the Attack completed the come-back and sent the game into overtime.
Although most of the chances in the OT period belonged to Six Nations, a breakaway pass sent Kaylob Thibodeau in alone, and he wrestled the Gold Medal away from Six Nations.
Although disappointed, Coach General did see the silver lining.
“Silver ain’t bad,” he said of his team’s efforts. “It’s better than Bronze.”