St. Catharines Shockwave power forward Layne Smith felt confident that his team was on the cusp of hitting their stride.
The defending ALL (Arena Lacrosse League) Cup winners got off too a tough start and found themselves in early March occupying fifth spot overall with a 5-7 record, when the season was put on hold due to the VOVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m not too disappointed actually,” Smith said. “It’s a safety concern and I understand it had to be done.”
Smith, who sits second in team scoring with 52 points (38 goals, 14 assists) also stated, “I think we didn’t hit our full potential until late. We had new players coming in such as Kedoh Hill, Wayne Hill and Chris Attwood. We were really stacking up.” Reflecting on the playoffs which were only a few weeks away Smith stated, “I was pretty confident. I felt we just got the ball rolling.”
Determined to not cancel, a decision was made by the Arena Lacrosse League to possibly pick up and resume the season in late September which of course would be followed in October by playoffs. “They want to finish with a champion before they start the 2021 season,” Six Nations Snipers coach Darcy Powless said. That being said, they are just talking about resuming the season at that time, as nothing is official.
Reflecting on the season, Smith not surprisingly brought up as a highlight two particular games against the Peterborough Timbermen and Snipers where offensively he could do no wrong. “I think in the game against the (Peterborough) Timbermen and the Snipers, I ended up with 15 goals between two games,” he said. “I always enjoy playing against the Snipers as I have a lot of friends on that team. It’s different being on the opposing team facing off against the hometown. It’s more competitive but it’s fun as well.”
A big reason why Smith believed in his team’s abilities came on March 8th when at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, he scored four points (2 goals, 2 assists) as the Shockwave treated their fans to an offensive explosion by pulling out a 21-13 victory against the Toronto Monarchs. Now all the Shockwave players can do is wait and see if next September/October, they will get that chance to defend as ALL Cup champions.
Meanwhile a big subplot to the season has been the Six Nations Snipers who were riding a five- game winning streak when the season was put on hold.
“We as a team were disappointed that everything got put on hold, especially with the little streak we had going,” Powless said. “We had felt we found our identity as a team and we’re getting better every week.”
The Snipers, who when the season was suspended found themselves in fourth spot with a 5-6 record, actually got off to a rough start this season. Six Nations started the campaign with six straight losses before turning things around. The first step coming on Sunday, February 9th when the Snipers entertained the I.L.A. faithful by pulling out a 17-13 win over the Peterborough Timbermen for what was their first win of the season.
“We were most proud of how everyone kept good spirits at the beginning,” Powless said. “Going through a slow start like we did would put a big crack in a lot of teams. But we battled through and stuck to the game plan.”
From that point Six Nations could do no wrong as they caught fire and gave their fans reason to get excited as they outscored their opponent 61-40. They pulled off five straight victories against the Monarchs (16-13), Paris RiverWolves (17-8) and Shockwave (12-9) before seeing the season get suspended.
When asked about the winning streak, Powless was full of high praise as he said, “The veteran players like Vern Hill, and Brent Longboat lead by example and the rookies really took notice and just kept playing and eventually found their groove and their own ways to contribute.”
Lacrosse fans and players alike will be keeping their fingers crossed hoping to get that green light to continue next September/October where they left off.