TILLSONBURG — Featuring players from the Six Nations of the Grand River, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Akwesasne First Nation, the Tillsonburg Thunder met up with the Elora Rocks for the starts of the Western Ontario Senior Hockey League (WOSHL) final series last weekend.
The Thunder won their first round, semi-final series versus the Strathroy Jets, 4 games to 0 in the best of seven on Saturday, March 19, qualifying them to step up against the Rocks.
The Thunder feature Mitch Green, Tim Porter, Riley Monture of Six Nations, Oakley Thomas of Akwesasne and Cameron Sault of Mississaguas of the Credit, who are looking to finish strong.
“It’s always a good feeling to play in any league finals. We have a good mixture of skill and experience up front, on the back end, and between the pipes. We’ve been getting better and better each game of the post season. If we keep playing the right way on both sides of the puck, we’ll be fine,” assured Sault, who is a play-off goal and assist leader.
The rivals are now tied one-to-one: Game 1 went to Elora on Elora soil with a score of 7-5, Game 2 was won by Tillsonburg on their territory with a tight score of 7-6.
“We knew this was going to be a tough series with Elora finishing first in the league during the regular season. With things all tied up early here, it’s a best of five games now. For Game 3, there is going to be a battle. They get a great crowd so the boys are looking forward to stealing one on the road,” said Sault.
The WOSHL is looking to provide the first title to the Sleeman’s Cup at the end of the series, but the title isn’t the only pull. Sault explained that the opportunity to play with other Indigenous players is a part of what brought him to the rink.
“There’s nothing better than seeing and playing with other Indigenous players at any level of hockey, competing and being successful. There’s so much pride in representing your nation and your family while playing the game you love and we need to continue to support our players. I mean, one of the reasons I decided to join Tillsonburg late in the season was because of the other guys from Six and Akwesasne. Now we’re in the league finals hoping to win a championship together,” he said.
Game 3 will take place on Friday, April 8 at 8:30 p.m., at the Fergus CW Community Sportsplex, and Game 4 will take place on Saturday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m., at the Tillsonburg Community Centre.