OHSWEKEN – They didn’t earn the win, but the Six Nations Jr. C Warriors earned a lot of respect Sunday afternoon after falling just short of a miraculous comeback after the visiting Halton Hills Bulldogs held a 6-1 first period lead.
Coach Kelly Henhawk, watched the game from the stands to see his young players battle for a roster position with this year’s squad.
“It was a little hard for us at the start there,” admits coach Henhawk after watching the game from the stands to get a better evaluation of his young talent. “We’ve got a lot of young guys on our team and I think nerves may have gotten them, but they found out pretty quick. By the end of the season we will be right up there near the top.”
The coaching staff is still looking over 35 potential players at this point and only some will stay, but Henhawk is pleased with what he saw Sunday.
Penalties are what got the Warriors into trouble early, but it was Halton Hill penalties that opened the door to the Warriors comeback attempt as the game wore on.
Wes Whitlow chalked up four goals and four assists to spearhead the Warriors charge, beginning with his first of the game scored at 2:59 of the second period. He would net two more by the end of the frame, with additional goals scored by Jesse Longboat and Spencer Martin.
The young defence made a few errors, but did a lot more right than wrong as the new Jr. C season opened. Mitch Henhawk seemed to get stronger as the afternoon went on and was at times spectacular.
The clock began to play a heavy role in the third. Down 8-6 with 20 minutes left to play, the Warriors continued to chip away but the Bulldog picked up two more goals as well.
A defensive give away put the Dogs three goals ahead at 4:20 of the final period, making it 9-6.
The Warriors showed their true mettle in the last two minutes of play with Hunter Randall, Owen Martin and Leer Henhawk scoring at 17:49, 18:55 and 19:47 respectively. But it was Halton’s Justin Turner that picked up what would stand as the game winner as the Warriors from one goal short. A last second play very nearly tied the game but Bulldog’s goalie Greg Brown made his save of the game to preserve the Halton Hill’s win.
Coach Henhawk was understanding of his young team’s home opener jitters but more than pleased with the character the warriors displayed to very nearly steal the game.
Six Nations Warrior’s next outing will be against the brand new Brantford Warriors team at the Brantford and District Civic Centre, Friday May 6, at 8 p.m. before hosting the Shelburne Vets Sunday afternoon, May 8, at 1 p.m., at the Gaylord Powless Arena.