SIX NATIONS — It came down to both the U-19 and U-17 championships were decided Saturday at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena to climax four days of the World Junior Lacrosse Championships, formerly known as the U19 World Lacrosse Challenge. International Indoor Junior Lacrosse sanctioned the tournament.
“We are very excited about the name change”, said Gewas Schindler who is the tournament director.
Being the inaugural event under its new name, there were not as many teams enrolled as had been hoped, but the quality and excitement of international Jr. lacrosse was on display all weekend at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena with a full card of games.
Schindler is determined to grow the International ingredient for 2017. This year, a team from the Czech Republic and another from the USA were the only true international teams. Ireland comprised of area Canadian players with Irish decent who would qualify to play under Ireland’s Flag in other international events.
This year’s event also included a few exhibition games mixed into the schedule.
In the U-19’s, Canada East was represented by the Jr. C-Lax All-Stars with Jeff Dowling coaching, Canada West coached by Kyle Goundrey, Iroquois East coached by Derek Stacey, Iroquois West Grand River coached by Curt Styres, USA coached by Randy Fraser, Czech Republic coached by Roman Porkony, and Ireland, also coached by Jeff Dowling.
The U-17’s were represented by Team Canada, and Team Iroquois, with exhibition games against Team Czech Republic, Team USA and the Hamilton Bengals of the OLA Jr. B.
The Grand River Iroquois finished the regular tournament schedule in first place at 4-0. In the Junior Division followed by Canada West with a 3-1 record and Grand River West with the same record. Canada East was next with 2-2, as was Ireland. The Czeche Republic finished with one win and three losses. Iroquois East were three losses and an overtime loss, while the USA left without a win.
Meanwhile, in the U-17 grouping, Iroquois U-17’s finished first and Canada U-17’s finished second.
Canada East — also known as the C-Lax Jr. All Stars — faced Iroquois West Grand River U-19’s for all the marbles and Grand River outlasted C-Lax 9-8, in the 7 pm tournament finally game.
C-Lax took an early 2-0 lead on goals scored by Tanner Brennecke and Jeff Wittig, but Jeremy Bomberry and Justin Parker made that up.
Davin Pipher gave C-Lax a 3-2 lead, but with 2:33 left in the first period, I-West’s Doug Jamieson, usually a goalie, delivered a perfect pass to Justin Parker to even the score again, at 3-3. Owen Hill closed the period to send I-West into the second frame ahead, 4-3.
That narrow lead did not stand past the first minute of the new period as Sam Solotorow made it a new game at 4-4.
Clayton King and Owen Hill strung two goals together and take a two-goal edge. C-Lax dug deep and evened the score yet again with Brennecke and Pipher doing the honours, and the score was even again at 6-6.
Wittig put the last goal of the period up for C-Lax restoring a one-goal edge as the third period began. Parker scored from Josh Miller to pull parallel with C-Lax at 7-7. I-West took advantage of a C-Lax penalty to score a power play marker for the lead.
Ryan Barnable kept the teeter-totter game going with C-Lax’s eighth goal with 4:41 remaining.
The game winner was scored by Iroquois West’s, Gates Abrams from Travis Longboat with 1:03 left. Goalie Briley Miller held on and this time the lead held for the World Junior Lacrosse U-19 Championship.
Earlier that same evening, the 5:30, U-17 division Championship Game, a similar battle had taken place between Canada West and Team Iroquois Grand River. Grand River easily handled the West 10-5.
Grand River took a 3-2 first period lead after overcoming a 2-0 deficit, with Vern Hill, Kalin General and Tanner Jonathan accounted for the GR goals.
Tyler Brown made it 4-2 from Hill and General before Canada West netted two quick goals to tie the game at 4-4. General closed the period with back to back goals scored a little more than a minute apart to give Grand River a 6-4 second period lead. Grand River caught fire in the third period as Vern Hill, Todd Thomas, and two by Emmett Smith made it 10-4. A late goal by Canada West’s Braden Boyenko produced the 10-5 final score.