OHSWEKEN – There couldn’t have been a tighter game that meant so much to both teams when the Six Nations Atom Reps skated onto the ice at the Gaylord Powless Arena (GPA) in Ohsweken, Saturday night. At the other end of the ice was a team that needed nothing short of a win to continue league play. Three
OHSWEKEN – There couldn’t have been a tighter game that meant so much to both teams when the Six Nations Atom Reps skated onto the ice at the Gaylord Powless Arena (GPA) in Ohsweken, Saturday night.
At the other end of the ice was a team that needed nothing short of a win to continue league play.
Three periods later, after a tooth and nail performance and the magic two hot goalies, no one put a goal on the board. The game ended in a 0-0 tie, not good enough for the Ayr Flames, but it was good enough to assure a playoff birth for Six Nations.
“It was the second last game of our Southern Counties, a real tight division,” said Atom Reps Coach Anderson. “If we had have lost today, we would have probably been out [of the playoffs]. The season is about to end with a lot of teams tied so the statistics start playing a role and Anderson is confident that things will go his team’s way and the playoff birth is theirs.”
Sunday, the Atom Blackhawks were defeated in theist game of the regular season by the Paris
Playoffs will begin after the lil NHL series which the Atom Reps will be attending again this year.
It wasn’t until very late in the game with the score 0-0 that the players were told all they need to do is hang on, that a tie game was as good as a win for them. Six Nations scored at one point but the goal was taken back on an off-sideband the score remained 0-0.
With seconds remaining, Ayr pulled their goalie, needing a win.
“That’s when I told the kids, just get the puck out and don’t worry about scoring,” says Anderson.
He and his coaching staff have worked all season with two lines and 11 players with a 12th on standby. That gave all his players a lot of ice time and jelling time as a team. By the time they hang up the skates for the season, they will have played, including the lil NHL, 70 games.
Anderson believes that if a team looks good they play good, and showing up to the arena in team hoodies with their name and number emblazoned on them were presented to the players just in tin for the lil NHL.
Andersons two sons, winger, Crosby is 10 and centre Cooper is nine, are both seasoned veterans of the lil NHL already having played in it since Tyke.
They heap praise on their teammates for the success they have had this season so far. When asked who they felt were the top players on their team this year, Cooper was quick to offer Mase Anthony and Crosby pointed to Nohlo Squires.
While other entrees load up with ringers for the tournament, Six Nations Atom Reps only have recruited one add-on player to augment their already powerful team, that being Cain Styres, who played in Brantford this year.
“This year at the Silver Stick tournament, we only ended up with eight players,” says Anderson. “Two of our guys got sick and couldn’t play. This year we are bringing an extra man to rotate in.”
Dennis and Craig MacDonald along with Dwayne Doxtator complete the Atom’s coaching staff who have worked hard with the team.
Anderson believes he and his staff have this year’s team ready to challenge for a medal at the lil NHL, and that the team is ready for anything they might face this year.
Cooper fills the role as a checking forward which shows down the opponents’ offence, while winger Crosby is becoming the go-to-guy when a goal is needed, scoring the OT winner against Delhi to eliminate them, and did the same against Aylmer.
Brandon Montour’s NHL success is constantly on the minds of the Anderson boys who happen to be the Montour’s cousin.
“A lot of the time, the dressing room talk will be about Brandon,” says Anderson. “We brought him out to one of our practices and the kids loved it.”
It doesn’t hurt to have Montour as a cousin either, and the Anderson boys are very proud of that.