Ohsweken Aces win 2018 Nations Cup

SIX NATIONS — It was a weekend of tough competition between friends and retaliations, all with a mutual love for lacrosse, that brought several Haudenosaunee mens teams together from both sides of the border last weekend at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena at Six Nation for the Nations’ Cup championships.

Warren Hill, a serious lacrosse talent in his own right, organized this year’s Nations Cup in the Grand River Territory, which featured eight teams including the host Ohsweken Aces, The North Shore Indians, Young Guns, Rez Dogz, in pool A, and the Frog Pond Maulers, Cattaragus Woodsmen, Tyendinaga Spearmen and the House team, they called The Sting.

Although they had fewer teams participate than previous years, Hill was pleased with the showcase of lacrosse talent even with eight teams competing.

Last years Nations Cup winners, the Frog Pond Maulers, were defeated by the Tyendenaga Spearmen who earned this year’s Silver Medal. Photo by Jim Windle

“It’s not all just about lacrosse,” says Hill. “It’s a time we can get together with friends and just have some fun playing the game we love.”

But there is also a bit of cash involved with prizes totalling $10,000. The champions taking home $5000. Second place $3500 and third place $1500.

It’s also about family. For example, there were three generations represented on Cattaragus Woodsmen, and all three generations played. Huck John, 59, Joey Maracle 39, Destin Montour 19, and Joe Montour Jr. at 17.

“It’s almost like coming home when I come to Six Nations for this tournament,” said Huck.

Sunday’s semi-finals and the medal round gave lacrosse fans a treat with some great lacrosse culminating in the Gold Medal matchup between the veteran Ohsweken Aces, consisting of mainly NLL and Major Series players, and the up-and-coming stars in the Young Guns, made up primarily of Jr. A and Jr. B stars.

While the host Ohsweken Aces and the Young Guns did battle in the Gold Medal game the Frogpond Maulers and the Tyendinaga Spearmen fought for the Bronze in the early afternoon game.

Riley Johnson got things going for the Aces in the opening seconds of the gold medal game which was erased by Young Guns’ Blaze White less than minute later with a headlong dive into Angus Goodleaf’s to tie it 1-1.

Cody Jamies set up Vaughn Harris who slung a sidearm shot past Cecil Jacobs, the tournaments selection for All-Star goaltender in the Young Guns’ net, for the Aces second goal.

Harris and Jamieson connected again for the Aces’ third goal and it was a 3-1 game. Young Guns’ Dawit Martin put a perfect pick on Brock Farmer before heading to the crease where he took a perfect behind the back pass from Wes Whitlow for the 3-2 goal.

Early in the second period Harris returned the favour by setting up Jamieson for a 4-2 Aces lead. Jamieson then assisted on Quinn Powless’ second of the game to put more space between the Aces and the Young Guns at 5-2. Jake Bomberry drilled one from the slot that found twine, for the Aces’ sixth goal.

Daris Anderson scored for the Guns and it was 7-3, but not for long as Vaughn Harris scored, again from Jamieson.

Vern Hill went coast to coast unchallenged to score for the Guns and keep within range of the Aces with a 7-4 shorthanded goal, but Brier Jonathan went coast to coast the other way soon after to double up on the Guns, 8-4 with 1:45 left. The Aces ended the second period with Brock Farmers’ late second period goal with 33 seconds left.

Riley Johnson netted his second of the game and it was 10-4, Aces. Not to be kept off the scoresheet, Roger Vyse scored from Wayne VanEvery for the 11-4 goal.

Wes Whitlow kept the game alive for the Young Guns scoring three minutes into the third period making it 11-5. Quinn Powless re-established the well cushioned seven-goal lead, which Alex Martin added to from Rayce Vyse and it was 14-5 from Tom Montour.

Vern Hill slipped behind the Aces defence which Goodleaf saw and sent a floor-length pass which turned into the Young Guns’ sixth goal. Tyler Brown recorded the Young Guns last goal of the game with a rocket from the outside slot to beat Goodleaf for the Aces 14-7 win for the 2018 Nations Cup Championship.

Organizer Warren Hill was exhausted by the final buzzer from the long week of preparations and games, but very pleased with a quality of the lacrosse this year’s Championship produced.

““The Game of Lacrosse is part of who we are, and this tournament is very unique in the fact that it is the only All-Native Lacrosse Tournament. We acknowledge and appreciate the tradition of this tournament, and what it represents to our people,” says Hill.

It’s almost like a Haudenosaunee homecoming when some of the best lacrosse players in the world engage in what can only be described as a tournament of all-star Haudenosaunee teams celebrating the game Creator gave to their ancestor’s generations ago as a substitute for war and effective in conflict resolution.

In the Bronze Medal game, Chris Attwood scored first for the Tyendinaga Spearmen with a low shot just inside the post to the stick side of Doug Jamieson in the Maulers’ net. Jeff Shatler made it 2-0 for the Spearmen.

Wenster Green set up Austin Staats who was alone in front to get the Maulers on the board, 2-1 with a shorthanded marker. Seconds later Jordan Thurston evened the score at 2-2, also a shorthander.

Johnny Powless put the Spearmen up 3-2 by the end of the first period. Jeff Shatler added another early in the second for a 4-2 Tyendinaga lead. Powless put his second of the game in with a fancy little flick of the stick that fooled Jamieson to make it 5-2.

Shatler added another Tyendinaga goal for his third of the game to make it 6-2 for the Spearmen.

Greg Riley was allowed to almost walk to the Maulers net with no-one to oppose him and put the Spearmen ahead 7-2.

The Maulers didn’t give up and began to chip away at the Tyendinaga lead. Brandon Bomberry filled some of that gap late in the game to 7-3, but Layne Smith went in alone and beat Jamieson make it 8-3 which stood as the final goal, earning the Tyendinaga Spearmen the Bronze Medal.

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