MANITOBA — On August 12, the 2019 CLA Junior “B” National Championship began in Winnipeg with the Six Nations Rebels heading out as Ontario Junior ‘B’ Champions.
They started out on Tuesday morning with a win against the North Shore Kodiaks 15-4, and another win the following day against the Coquitlam Adanacs 11-5.
On Thursday they gave a closer showing against the Seneca Warchiefs with a win 7-12, but on Friday they dialled back with a win 19-4 against the Saskatchewan SWAT.
On Saturday they met with their hosts the Manitoba Blizzard and swept them away 15-3, and finally they came to the undefeated Calgary Shamrocks and waltzed away with another win 19-3.
It could only be expected that the Rebels, with their momentum, could not be scratched when it came time for championship Sunday — having bested al of their competition in the round robin.
They were to meet with the Shamrocks again in the championship.
As the game progressed, the Rebels gave up a two goal lead early on the first period and the score seemed to settle in favour of Calgary. The shamrocks also seemed immune to penalization throughout the game, as some calls that should have been made weren’t.
But playing catch up is something the Rebels haven’t had to do throughout their reign as the top contender for the Founders Cup, and it showed in the last few minutes of the game.
The score settled at 15-16 for the Shamrocks for the last period and the Rebels were unable to connect with the back of the net in the way that they had been in previous games. Rather than driving to the net and making cuts to get inside, the offence passed to the outside and made pauses where they should have took shots.
This ended the game 15-16 for the Shamrocks and gave way to the Rebels relinquishing the opportunity to bring the Founders Cup back to Six Nations for 2019.
It is the first time in 10 years that a team outside of Ontario captured the gold medal.
The gold medal capped off the season for the Shamrocks who won the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League South Division title with a 19-1-0 regular season. Calgary later would go on to win the Larry Bishop Memorial Trophy league championship as well as sweeping the best-of three Alberta Provincials.
The Rebels will graduate a handful of players this year, but are hoped to make use of the newer legs next year to try again.