SIX NATIONS — The Elora Mohawks are not a bad lacrosse team. They have earned every stet they have made to get this deep into the post-season. They finished first in the Mid-West division with a 17-3-0 record and they blew through their previous matchups to date. But none of that mattered as the Rebels gave the Mohawks an 11-6 slap in the face at the ILA Friday night in Game 1 of the best-of-five Western Finals.
Gates Abrams scored the first goal of the series from Garret Vyse-Squire and Khan General at 2:15. Elora quickly shot back less than a minute later to draw even. Tanner Baldwin and Chayton King put the Rebels up by two, but Cole Spear scored late in the period to end the first frame 3-2.
The teams evenly traded six goals in the second period, four of them powerplay goals, to make it a 6-5 game in the Rebels favour and one period left.
But then, like the coyote after the roadrunner disappears on the horizon, the Mohawks were left slack-jawed as the Rebels pulled away in the third period. Wes Whitlow score a powerplay goal at 3:13, Kahn General was next at 10:52, then came Gates Abrams at 14:22 and Tanner Baldwin’s shorthander at 16:15 made it a 10-5 route.
Spear who had a great outing in a loosing effort with four goals and two assists, broke the Rebels string for Elora at 17:35, but Chayton King closed the game at 19:46. Keegan Thomas was at time sensational in the Rebels net.
The Mohawks will have to regroup and take the Rebels a little more seriously than they did in Game 1.
The Rebels appear to be focused on the team in front of them in this years playoffs and have that extra gear in the transmission that Elora does not have when it comes to bench depth. But as stated earlier, the Mohawks are a good team and are capable of surprising the Rebels if they let up now.
Like all good teams the Mohawks regrouped and looked like a different club back home at the Elora Community Centre, Sunday.
The Rebels opened the scoring with Mason Hill finding twine at 1:42 from Riley Miller and Wes Whitlow. But Ryan Mueller cashed in on an Elora powerplay with Gavin Skye serving time for high sticking. He then gave the Mohawks the lead seconds later, even strength.
More penalty issues as Riley Miller took an unsportsmanlike conduct minor which opened the door to the Elora’s powerplay, striking again at 10:25. Tanner Baldwin showed his worth as a penalty killer scoring back-to-back shorthanders to close the first period tied at 3-3.
Neither team would let the other get too comfortable with a lead as they played to a 6-6 tie after two periods. Scoring for the Rebels were Gates Abrams, with two, and Riley Miller.
Suddenly, both teams tightened upon their own zones while Daniel Hill and Landon Kells got very stingy until 19:33 when Elora’ s Mason Noble ended the suspense with the unassisted game winner, to evening the best-of-five Western Final series at a game apiece.
This Friday, July 27th, the Rebels and Mohawks meet again at the ILA for an 8 pm start. The series moves to Elora for Game 4 at the Earl Armstrong Arena and a 7 pm start.
If a Game 5 is necessary, it will be played at the ILA Monday, July 30.
The winner of this series will play the winners of the Eastern Conference’s Colby Hancock Memorial Trophy at the best in the east. That series sits at a game each as well between the Clarington Green Gaels and Akwesasne Indians.