SIX NATIONS — Two items are true; the Six Nations Junior ‘B’ Rebels defeated the St. Catharines Athletics in over-time last Friday, 11-10, and two Haudenosaunee teams will play head to head to get to the Founder’s Cup.
Playoffs for the Rebels began on June 23, with their series against the Owen Sound North Stars. They advanced 3-0, to the Guelph Regals and advanced again, 3-1. Their next series was the most gruelling yet, as the Athletics put up a full fight, racking scores up out of sheer effort and stamina. Despite this, the Rebels endured.
To move forward, the Athletics had defeated the Bengals 3-2 in their first series, then 3-0 in their series with the Elora Mohawks.
On Friday, July 21, the Rebels took Game 1 with a close score of 13-12. The next evening, they took Game 2, 9-8. On the following Monday, July 24, they were delivered their first loss 6-7 in Game 3 at their home arena.
This brought the Rebels to a 2-1 series set for Game 4, at the Athletics home arena, the Canada Games Park.
In the first period alone, St. Catharines delivered five consecutive goals throughout the full 20 minutes. In the second, a similar feat began as the Athletics delivered three more goals in the first 10 minutes. Rebels Winter Rivera responded with a power play goal from Hodo Martin to close the period. This made the score a rough 8-1.
In the third, two more St. Catharines goals were earned. Macay Jimerson scored from Anahilis Doxtador, and Shako Swamp scored from Anahilis Doxtador within 30 seconds of each other, picking at the deficit. But St. Catharines delivered three more goals to close the game out at 3-13.
Throughout the course of the game, the Rebels sustained 15 penalty minutes, and the Athletics earned 16 minutes.
With a now even series 2-2, the Rebels entered their highest stake game of the season later on Friday, July 28 at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.
Playing Game 5 before a full arena of fans, friends and family, the Rebels gave the first goal to St. Catharines. Minutes later, Rebels Shako Swamo put one away from Hodo Martin. The Athletics responded, and Damonie Thomas scored to bring the tie back from Anahilis Doxtador. Fifteen seconds later, Cole Powless scored unassisted, followed by Damonie Thomas with his second goal and Aanahilis Doxtador with his first from Hodo Martin. This gave the Rebels an early and comfortable lead, 5-2.
In the second period, Kaylem Whales Racette opened scoring from Dayton Skye. The Athletics put up a single goal, before Damon Doxtatar scored from Winter Rivera, and Anahilis Doxtador buried twice within two minutes. An even more comfortable lead was fitted for the Rebels, 9-2 going into the third.
But rather than focusing on continuing to score or beef up defences, the mentality and stamina components of the game seemed to go to the Athletics in this period. In the last twenty minutes, the Athletics earned a tie after six consecutive goals and no responses from the Rebels, who earned their chances but couldn’t connect.
This brought them into another over-time period. The full 10 minutes was played with no penalties on either side. The Athletics earned the first goal, But Winter Rivera put one up unassisted, then another from Rakawineh Elijah with four minutes left. Putting the score at 11-10 allowed the Rebels to maintain the lead and close the game with a nail-biting over-time Western Conference Final victory.
Following their Western Conference win, it was announced that Winter Rivera was awarded Rookie of the Year, and Imani Mitten and Kayden Hearn were awarded Leading Goaltender awards.
On the other side of playoffs, the Akwesasne Thunder defeated the Green Gaels 3-0, then moved to defeat the Neoean Knights 3-1. Then held the Orangeville Northmen away from advancing with a series score of 3-1.
The Rebels will be looking to start their final series against the Akwesasne Thunder in Game 1 in a best-of-three on Thursday, August 3, at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. Two games will be held at the ILA, and two will be held at the A’nowarako:wa Arena in Akwesasne. The winner will move on to represent at the Founders Cup National Championship from August 14 – 20 in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia