So very close, but Rivermen fall short in Coquitlam

COQUITLAM BC – There will not be a Quad National Title season for Six Nations this year. The Onondaga Redhawks popped that bubble Sunday night by defeating the Six Nations Rivermen 9-7 with a late game come-from-behind rally.

The Thompson boys carried the Redhawks. In the Onondaga lineup were Lyle, Luke, Jeremy, Miles and Lyle Thompson, along with the Bucktooth boys, Ross, Grant, Wade, Kevin and Brett.

Lyle Thompson, fresh off his seven-goal performance over St. Albert in Saturday’s Crossover game, still had the hot stick against the Rivermen, Sunday.

He opened the Gold Medal Game at 7:32 of the First Period with a deadly accurate shot high to the far side. Late in the period Jacob Crans tied the game at 1-1 when he broke through a seam in the Redhawks defense and danced in all alone on Ross Bucktooth, a surprise starter in the Onondaga goal. Edmund Cathers carried most of the weight in the Redhawks goal to that point.

Early in the second period, Logan Kane reached in behind Bucktooth to prevent a sure goal. Wayne VanEvery put the Rivermen in front 2-1 but Jerome Thompson evened it a 2-2. That is the way the entire game went, with the lead changing hands a number of times. The game was tied at 3-3 when VanEvery scored the highlight real goal of the game picking up a rebound and scored with one hand on the stick. The Rivermen were leading 4-3 after 40 minutes of play.

With their backs tightly pinned against the wall, Lyle Thompson evened the score early in the third period. The Rivermen responded with two quick goals to move ahead of Onondaga 6-4.

Onondaga closed the gap to 6-5, then tied it at 6-6, and took the lead with a 7-6 powerplay goal with VanEvery serving time in the box. The Redhawks kept the pressure on the Rivermen and turned the tide scoring two more to build a 9-6 lead.

The Rivermen got one back to make it 9-7 but could not get any closer as the Onondaga Redhawks exploded onto the floor at the final buzzer to congratulate Bucktooth who played exceptionally well. Warren Hill was also outstanding in the game.

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Wayne VanEvery was selected Player of the Game for the Rivermen while Miles Thompson won that honour for the Redhawks. Lyle Thompson earned MVP of the Tournament.

Although the Presidents Cup slipped through their fingertips, the second year Rivermen won a lot of respect across the country, the Provincial title to get their ticket to Coquitlam, and came home with a silver medal, and a lot of incentive for next season.

The long journey did not start well for the Rivermen. After dropping the first two games in the CLA Presidents Cup tournament the Six Nations Rivermen put themselves in a must-win situation for the last six games of the event. It didn’t look great for Six Nations, but Holden Vyse held out strong hope that they not only could, but would return to Six Nations with third National trophy of the 2014 super-season.

The turnaround was dramatic. Once Alternate Captain Murray Porter and Captain Cory Bomberry returned to the team after coaching the Jr. B Rebels to the Founders Cup in Halifax, everything turned, just as Vyse said it would.

Game #3 was against Kahnawake when a third period rally turned an empty handed trip home into a new life for the Rivermen.

The Rivermen were down 7-5 heading into the final 20 minutes when Justin Gibson and Bomberry scored back-to-back goals, seconds apart to make it a new game at 7-7. Kahnawake’s Caleb Wiles, restored their lead, but Miles Miller came back with an unassisted goal to even the score yet again, at 8-8 with 5:05 remaining and Kahnawake on its heals.

Delby Powless scored what could be the biggest goal of the tournament with 2:14 remaining to win the game, and stay alive. Dean Hill and Bomberry assisted.

That character win put a lot of wind in the sails of the Rivermen for Thursday afternoon’s game against Nanaimo.

The newly charged Rivermen went out in front 2-0 in the first period with goals scored by Wayne VanEvery and Dean Hill.

Nanaimo fought back in the second, out scoring Six Nations 4-3 to draw closer at 5-4 heading into the third period. Bomberry, Clay Hill and Chancey Johnson scored for Six Nations.

Delby Powless scored his second of the game at 7:35 from VanEvery and Clay Hill, which was followed by Dean Hill’s second of the game from Kicknosway and Porter to extend the Rivermen lead to 7-4. Nanaimo netted their last goal of the game at 6:14, but Warren Hill delivered a down floor pass from his goal crease to the stick of Tory Gardner who netted the last goal of the game.

The Rivermen now had a full head of steam behind them and they would need it. Friday, with no margin of error left, they had to beat both Akwesasne at 1 pm, and Try City at 8 pm.

Akwesasne ran neck and neck with the Rivermen in the first period, which ended 4-4. Delby Powless, Dan Vyse, Wayne VanEvery and Dean Hill provided Six Nations goals.

Shane Francis scored three for Akwesasne and Tyler Barnhart added another.

It was a strong seven-goal second period that won it for the Rivermen. Dan Vyse, Wayne Hill, Dean Hill, Delby Powless, Mike Miller, and two goals by Chancy Johnson all contributed with goals while Jeff Powless was taking care of business at the other end, allowing only two Akwesasne goals.

The Rivermen were up 11-6 as the teams returned to the floor for the third period. Matt Thompson made it 11-7 halfway through the period before Holden Vyse and Jacob Crans popped in two for Six Nations 25 seconds apart to make it 13-7. Akwesasne did not give up and scored two of their own to get closer, but Chancy Hill closed the door and locked the 14-9 win with his third of the game with 1:01 remaining.

A quick rest and lots of protein and Gatorade filled the five hours before they were back at it at 8 pm against the host Try City team.

Try City took a 3-2 first period lead with VanEvery and Bomberry doing the honours for Six Nations.

VanEvery, Powless, Bomberry and Holden Vyse came through for the Rivermen in the third period to stay ahead of Akwesasne for the 9-7 Six Nations win.

They didn’t have much time to celebrate making it into the cross-over game against the strong Kahnawake team who finished the round robin in first place with a 5-1 record.

Ty Thompson and Mark Vrandenburg scored for Kahnawake in the first period while Holden Vyse and Wayne VanEvery countered for Six Nations. Then with 1 second remaining on the clock, Cory Bomberry gave the Rivermen a 3-2 lead.

Six Nations came on strong in the second while Warren Hill was flawless in the Rivermen goal. Dean Hill scored two while Chancy Johnson and Mile Miller added two more to give Six Nations a commanding 7-2 lead to bring into the third. Bomberry scored for Six Nations while Kahnawake put two in, but not enough to wrestle the win away from the Rivermen.

That set up Sunday’s Gold Medal Game for the Presidents Cup where they faced Onondaga representing the best of the Can/Am, featuring Luke, Jeremy, Jerome, Miles and Lyle Thompson.



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