OHSWEKEN— Slowing down the dynamic Six Nations Atom Rep offence is a monumental challenge for any team.
Riding a six- game winning streak which has seen them average nearly nine goals per game, the Midget Reps offence remained red hot as they were led on Sunday, January 19th by a dynamic four goal performance from Crosby Johns in a thrilling 7-2 OMHA second round series opening win at the Gaylord Powless Arena against the Waterford Wildcats.
“We wanted to get the jump on them right off the bat,” Six Nations coach Travis Anderson said. “I wanted them (Six Nations) to understand that it’s now OMHA, and if you get beat then you go home.”
Six Nations, who got an OMHA first round bye, made a bold statement when they certainly got that early jump as Johns got the G.P.A. faithful cheering when he scored his first goal 12 seconds into regulation. In terms of what his team did well in this series opener Johns paused before replying, “Passing and skating.” When asked what he likes best about hockey Johns, quickly smiled before stating, “It’s fun.”
As every hockey fan knows, a team must have clutch goaltending to win championships and that’s certainly what the Atom Reps have in Hi:io Squire who continues each year to get better and better.
Minutes after Squire made some ten bell saves Six Nations generated some quality chances and right after Konnor Hill split the Waterford defence and nearly scored, it was Johns coming through on a rising wrist shot with his second goal.
“Growing up, I’ve just really liked it,” Johns said about playing hockey. In terms of his favourite hockey player he was quick to answer, “Eichel,” in reference to Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Eichel.
Six Nations would generate some more first period quality chances but it was Waterford who were rewarded as they scored with just under five minutes remaining to split the deficit at 2-1 heading to the second period.
Shortly after Squire came up big with a series of acrobatic saves Six Nations offence struck again with consecutive markers starting with forward Calder Anderson poking in a lose puck by the goalmouth followed by Johns going top shelf on a breakaway goal.
“The breakaway one,” Johns said about the favorite goal he scored. “That was fun.”
Waterford would respond with a late period goal before Six Nations answered back with Anderson’s second goal to increase the lead to 7-2 after two periods of play.
“That goalie really played well,” Anderson said in reference to Waterford’s netminder. “Every player on our team played a complete game. We for-checked and backchecked really well.”
Not slowing down, Six Nations struck for two third period goals from Johns with his fourth and Konnor Hill as they went on to take that pivotal OMHA second round series opener against Waterford.