SIX NATIONS – The Six Nations Arrows 2016 season is well under way but Six Nations fans have not seen the Arrows Express play at home since August 15th, 2015 when they paraded around the ILA with the Minto Cup hoisted high.
They have been playing on the road so far this new season, getting ready for their ILA debut with the annual Bread and Cheese Day (Victoria Day) game Monday afternoon.
The Arrows Express opened the season in Kitchener-Waterloo May 12th and defeated them 6-4. May 15th they were in Toronto and lost to the Beaches 10-9. Then, on Wednesday, May 18th, the Arrows lost 9-6 to the Burlington Chiefs.
The early season was a time of little pressure when the general manager and coaching staff got to try a number of prospects in a game setting, but after Monday, the season is officially on, as far as Arrows fans are concerned.
Monday afternoon they did not disappoint their fans, taking a well-deserved 14-4 win over the visiting Burlington Chiefs.
Austin Staats scored on a textbook flier across the Burlington crease at 1:10, unassisted. A minute later, it was 2-0 with Travis Longboat using his lightning speed to split the Burlington defense to clear a direct lane for himself to the net. Brayden Hill assisted.
Jake McNabb made it 3-0 on a Six Nations powerplay before Staats got his second of the period from Jamie Dilks at 10:21. Burlington’s Nolan Apers scored with a minute to go to end the period with the Arrows ahead 4-1.
The Arrows kept the pressure on in the second period scoring the first four goals of the second period thanks to Longboat, Danton Miller, McNabb, and Austin Staats. Apers scored his second of the afternoon for Burlington before Staats netted his fourth of the game on a powerplay to complete the second period with the Arrows Express still building up a head of steam.
Five more Arrows goals found their mark in the third period as McNabb, Cory Lucier, with two, Kessler Doolittle and Alex Henry putting up goals.
Doolittle’s goal was of the highlight real variety as he broke in alone on Kyle Hebert in the Burlington net, about 15 feet out, he spun and fired a rocket from behind his neck into the top corner of the net for the Arrows 13th goal.
Doug Jamieson had a solid outing in the Arrows net as well turning away 45 of 49 shots.
Although a tad disappointed with the start of the season on the road, going one win and two losses, Arrows coach Patrick Merrel, a star with the Toronto Rock of the NLL, was happy with what he saw.
“The guys wanted a real good show for the home opener and they did well,” said Merrill.
The Arrows Express is now with two wins and two losses in the early going of the Jr. A schedule.
Merrill and the Arrows brass have made a conscious effort to bring a little more size to the table this season, and one of the steps in that direction is the addition of #40, Tesi Oakes to the lineup. Oakes was brought in from the Akwesasne Jr. B Indians and was the biggest player on the floor and not afraid to use his size in front of the opponents net. Although he didn’t figure on the score sheet, he was effective in keeping the Burlington Chiefs heads up all afternoon.
Before the game, members of last season’s Minto Cup Champion Arrows were brought to centre floor to watch the unveiling of three new banners for the ILA. One for the 2015 Ontario Championship, one for the Eastern Canadian Championship and the third for last season’s Minto Cup Championship win.
The Arrows were in Peterborough Tuesday night in a game that missed our deadline, but will see action next at the ILA, Sunday, May 29th, at 7 p.m., when they meet the Whitby Warriors.