AKWEASNE — On Wednesday evening, stands of the A’nowarako:wa Arena were filled with friends, family and fans of the two top Ontario Junior ‘B’ teams; the Six Nations Rebels and the Akwesasne Indians.
Playing as two Haudenosaunee teams for the final to advance to play for the Founders Cup Championship to be held in Winnipeg, left an ache for both teams to be allowed to advance.
The Rebels had a bit more to play for this season though, as the seven-time franchise champions dedicated this years season to former Team President Wray Maracle who passed earlier this year.
The Rebels entered the floor and set themselves up as two players, one from each side, joined in the pre-game smoke dance held at centre floor. Gutch Salinas of the Rebels and Brett Logan of the Indians danced in front of their respective teams to whistles and applause from those in the stands as the anticipation for the verdict of the series piqued.
After winning the first draw however, the Indians set the pace as they took advantage of the spacing of the Rebels line and scored the first goal in 18 seconds.
The Indians then went on to score twice more in the period, but the Rebels came back with consecutive goals from Marshall Powless, Gutch Salinas, Wesley Whitlow and Sidney Powless, putting themselves in the lead. To close the period, Marshall Powless buried off of a backhand pass from Sidney Powless on a power play.
The second period opened with another quick goal made by the Indians 35 seconds in, as they pulled their goalie and sent out an extra offenceman to score from the outside. But the Rebels refused to give up the lead with Chayton King, who put forth an extreme effort with a hat-trick throughout the rest of the period to make the game 8-4 for the Rebels.
The third period offered the opportunity for the Indians to catch up, but the first goal went to the Rebels by Marshall Powless three minutes in. The Indians and Rebels then went back and forth with scoring, but the Rebels maintained the lead.
Marshall Powless went for another two minutes after his third, while Wesley Whitlow separated the accumulated goals by the Indians with a double himself. The final goal of the game hit the back of the Indians net with 55 seconds, and the game closed at a close 12-9 for the Rebels.
The Akwesasne Indians took to Facebook to post “On Wednesday night we played the final game of the OLA final series and fell short losing 12-9. Both teams came out flying in what was some of the best lacrosse played here in a while. Each team had their share of chances and in the end the Six Nations Rebels executed on more of them. There was no shortness of effort and both teams left it all on the floor. We wish the Six Nations Rebels the best of luck at Founders. We would like to thank our fans who packed the turtle dome, the energy in the arena was something spectacular that both teams could feel. We have the most amazing community, fans, and sponsors.”
On August 9th, Maracle Mans hosted a fundraising turkey dinner to help support the Rebels in their trip to Winnipeg, as they will venture out to vie to return the Founders Cup to Six Nations from August 12 – 18.
They are set to compete against the Calgary Shamrocks, Coquitam Adanacs, Seneca Warchiefs, Saskatchewan SWAT, North Shore Kodiaks and Manitoba Blizzard — all games are to be streamed live by Amateur Sports TV on YouTube for home viewing.
Talks of a fan bus to Winnipeg this coming Saturday for $150.00 has also circulated on social media.