SIX NATIONS – The Sr. B Six Nations Rivermen and the Brooklin Merchants went to the wire Sunday with the Rivermen one win away from tying first place Brooklin to close out the regular season schedule. An unfortunate last season slump and a one game forfeit prevented that from happening.
The forfeit involved the use of what the league deems an ineligible player a game played June 18th whipping out a 20-6. Coach Stew Monture has another opinion on the matter.
When asked about the incident in question, Sr. B Commissioner Sharon McKeachnie said, “This information is between the Sr. B teams and myself. If someone from the Rivermen would like to comment on this, by all means. I will not give out information on my teams except to the OLA.”
As of press time the Rivermen have not made a statement about the ruling other than to say, they do not think they did anything wrong. An official media release explaining the situation from a Rivermen perspective is expected next week.
Sunday afternoon at the Gaylord Powless Arena, by the admission of coach Stew Monture, his team was not in the right mental state to win either game. Although Saturday’s 9-8 loss was much closer than Sundays 14-10 showing, the results were the same and Monture didn’t like watching that happen heading into the playoffs.
“It’s normal for a team to go on the skids at some point in the season,” he said after Sunday’s game. “But we know we are a better team than what we showed the last two games. We are hoping Six Nations’ little mini-skid would give the playoff opposition a false sense of security.”
Although a bit disappointed about how they ended the regular season, Monture is not concerned about the defending Presidents Cup champion Rivermen moving forward.
“We’re still confident,” he said. “We know what we got in the dressing room.”
Even so, Monture knows what needs to change. He admits that the Merchants beat the Rivermen by using an old tried and true method from the “How to Beat a Six Nations Team” playbook — get ‘em mad and they will forget about lacrosse — and that is exactly what Brooklin did. There were 45 minutes in penalties assessed in the first period alone, which in one way or another contributed to a 4-1 Brooklin lead and caused the Rivermen to lose focus.
The Rivermen found their scoring range in the second period with two goals scored by Tom Montour plus additional scoring from Roger Vyse, Jacob Bomberry, Rodd Squire Jr., and Stu Hill. Unfortunately, starting goalie, Grant Crawley was not having his best day. At least three of the Merchant goals were scored due to bad bounces and mishandled rebounds. He was replaced by Quinton Martin after the 6-2 goal. The Merchants kept going and built a substantial 11-7 lead heading into the third period.
There was a delay in the game after a multi-player pushing match broke out in front of the Merchants’ bench. When the smoke cleared, Rodd Squire was without a stick, accusing the Merchants of taking it during the melee. Squire went so far as to leave the floor and go into the Merchant’s dressing room to find it, followed by several members of the Brooklin team. The stick turned up under the Rivermen’s bench and the game continued.
The night before, the Rivermen barely missed the opportunity to draw even with the Merchants losing a heartbreaker with two seconds remaining.
They were two seconds from going into overtime when the Brooklin Merchants’ Chris Attwood scored on Grant Crawley to take the two-point win, Saturday night at the Luther Vipond Arena.
Saturday night, the Rivermen had a slow start while the Merchants were on track and ready to go from the opening faceoff. As a result, Brooklin took an early 4-0 lead including two powerplay goals and a shorthander.
Cory Bomberry stopped the bleeding with a Six Nations powerplay goal at 6:58, and after Brandon Staal added another for Brooklin, Oakley Thomas, Roger Vyse and Bomberry — with his second of the period — closed the gap, but they were still down 6-4 following a late period Brooklin goal.
Bomberry scored again at 45 seconds of the second period, but Brooklin kept the pressure on and by the end of the second period the Rivermen were down 11-8. That became 12-8 at 3:45 of the third, thanks to Matt Spanger’s unassisted marker.
The Rivermen dug deep and came up with goals by Todd Blaxom playing in his first game as a Riverman. Stu Hill, Vyse, and Dwayne Porter followed and it was a new game, with 12 seconds remaining in regulation time, and overtime looming big on the horizon. The Chiefs could not control the ball after the ensuing faceoff and Chris Attwood put the knife in the back of the Rivermen with two seconds remaining, for the Brooklin win.
Newcomer Todd Blaxom scored two and assisted on three in his inaugural game with the Rivermen. Cory Bomberry ended the night with three goals and a pair of assists.
The Rivermen will now sit out the first round of playoffs while an opponent is determined in the first round.