The Junior ‘A’ Arrows showcase some growing pains as they welcome new legs to the team and deal with a deficit of veteran talent in their first seasonal home game.
SIX NATIONS — Successful previous years for the Junior ‘A’ Arrows have held a lot of triumph and hosted a lot of lacrosse talent which left this years team standing as Minto Cup Championship defenders.
Their success also made games versus the Arrows known as “the hardest place to get a Junior ‘A’ win in the league.”
This is because of the work of players such as Douglas Jamieson, Kessler Doolittle and many others that were mentioned in the series versus the Coquitlam Adanacs last season — which led them to bringing the cup home with a final win of 8-3.
Now new names have come to try to carry on the same success with the same reputation.
But the ‘A’ Division can be a rude awakening for many players that are taking their first steps.
The Iroquois Lacrosse Arena hosted a large crowd of family and fans in the afternoon of Monday, May 21, to see the Bread and Cheese Opener for the Arrows versus the St. Catharines Athletics.
Low scoring led to a game full of fighting for possession of the ball and quick transition, but the goals that were buried were well done on both sides. The first period seemed to frustrate offences on both sides as shots on net led to a lot of back and forth rather than scoring.
With 6 minutes left in the period, Travis Longboat was fed from Brayden Mayea from Captain Jerry Staats and scored with a sharp outside shot from the shooter spot. But instead of allowing the small lead to remain, the Athletics then returned two goals with only minutes left.
As the second period began, Staats made two interceptions and earned himself two break aways. But it was the second break away that he scored bottom left on Nick Damude completely unassisted. However, that would close the scoring for the Arrows for the rest of the game.
Still, the Arrows showed the right kind of aggression on defence, as Athletics cutters were tossed or shoved out left and right. But it was their offence that seemed unable to read one another and work to get shots on the inside. Athletics defenders simply played a hard and rough man-on-man and worked communication well to force shots from the outside — shots that most ‘A’ goalies can shut down.
This left the second period to finalize with the Athletics holding a two point lead and finally a three point lead in the third — leaving the game 5-2 for the Athletics.
And although the Brampton Excelsiors defeated the Athletics 9-7 on Friday, May 18; the Arrows gave the Athletics their first win of the season and a smug victory.
In retrospect, what will make or break the Arrows success is the organization of the bench staff as the team has all of the parts needed to be a winning machine — they just need the coaching to get everything working together and exercised as the season progresses.
The newer legs will definitely make for an interesting season to watch, but they do have some big shoes to fill.