SIX NATIONS – It all came down to two talent-laden Six Nations teams for this year’s Dreamcatcher Lacrosse Tournament hosted at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.
Up for grabs was a cheque for $3,000 to be disbursed between the players, but most of all, it was a friendship tournament where players from all participating teams got a chance to get reacquainted with former teammates and opponents.
There were times when players would line up for a face-off and fire a joke at the same guy he pasted along the boards on the next play. Add to that, a three-day display of incredible talent from junior age stars to recently retired NLL’ers and everything between. The Dreamcatcher Tournament is like that.
That’s not to say there was no intensity on the floor because there certainly was, and it lasted all weekend.
But when it came down to the final two, it was the Heat, versus the Grizzlies, both adorned with some of the best junior, senior and NLL players in the game.
At the opening face-off for the Championship final, it didn’t look good for the Grizzlies. The Heat had an overflowing bench of players pumped and ready to go. On the Grizzly’s side they had eight runners and a goalie. It didn’t stay that way for very long as more and more Grizzlies started drifting in from the dressing room to compliment their number.
The Griz were the ones to come out hot and shocked the Heat with a 4-0 first period lead. The Heat got things going with a powerplay goal scored by Austin Staats, from Randy Staats and Wizz VanEvery.
Austin Staats blew a gasket on the referee five minutes into the second period and was ejected from the game, but on the ensuing powerplay Roger Vyse scored a shorthanded goal to make it 5-1 for the Griz.
Dhane Smith scored the Heat’s second goal with an outside rocket past Doug Jamieson from Kedoh Hill and Jeremy Thompson.
Lyle Thompson put a 6-2 cushion under the Grizzly lead but the Heat was not nearly done yet. Kedoh Hill’s flying goal started an avalanche with Brier Jonathan and “Wizz” VanEvery cutting the Grizzly lead to one goal at 6-5.
Cory Bomberry rifled in the 7-5 marker for the Grizzlies with six minutes left but Drake Smith got that one back bringing the Heat one goal away from an even game.
Jamieson found Alex Kedoh Hill with no one around him at centre floor and lobbed a perfect pass into his stick, which he buried to tie the game at 7-7.
Delby Powless Sr. and Jr. helped co-ordinate the tournament and were both pleased with the way things went.
“That last game was great,” said Delby Jr. following the tournament. “I think the fans really liked it. It was a really good game, I though it was going to overtime until Lyle scored.”
There was no tournament last year making this the third annual.
Delby Sr. emceed the event and thanked the players and fans for making the tournament a success.
The Grizzlies called their final time-out with 29.1 seconds left to set up a last play and the play worked perfectly as Lyle Thompson scored the game winner with 17 seconds left.
He got another chance when the Heat pulled the goalie for a last seconds push. Thompson snagged a pass and ran the floor towards an empty net with no one anywhere near him. But instead of shooting to score an easy goal, in a show of sportsmanship and out of respect for his opponents, Thompson chose not to shoot and held the ball until the final buzzer sounded for the 8-7 win.
Warren Hill won Player of the Championship Game honours. The Heat received a cheque for $1000 and the Grizzly’s shared $3000.