SIX NATIONS — Austin Staats and Owen S Hill led the Six Nations Arrows to an 11-5 win over the first place Toronto Beaches at the ILA Sunday evening, handing TO its first loss of the new season. It was also a welcome win for the Arrows who are not starting the season with the usual early season success, settling for a 2-2-0 record after four games.
“I think we lost 12 guys from last season,” says assistant captain, Austin Staats. “We are very young this year and our younger guys are going to have to fill the spots we lost and step up to the plate when we need it.”
While recognizing this year’s team might be a little less experienced, Staats is impressed with some of the new sticks on the bench. Sunday’s win was important that way too. There are still players to come, but giving some rookies a shot will only pay dividends later.
So early and with so many unproven Jr. A players rotating through the lineup, Staats recognized that finding that bonding chemistry may still be a few weeks off.
But the Toronto Beaches are no slugs. They are still first place with six teams backed up behind them all with six points. The Arrows are only four games into the season and are two wins and two losses for four points, but with games in hand.
Staats is not concerned at this point and realizes the season is long enough to overcome the bad start, by Arrows standards.
“We’re a playoff team,” says Staats. “We normally have all that figured out by the time we get to the playoffs.”
Owen S. Hill has started his third season in an Arrows jersey and has stepped up to take more of a leadership role on this young team.
Hill scored first, 3:11 into the game, but Tristan Hanna answered at 4:09. Former Six Nations Rebels star Layne Smith chose to play off-reserve this season and was in the Beaches lineup wearing no. 17, and scored Toronto’s go-ahead goal to make it 2-1.
Smith’s goal seemed to stimulate the Arrows who fired back with goals by AP player Kobe Whitcomb, Hill’s second of the period, and Lelanmd Powless, also a call-up. Travis Longboat and Jamie Dilks closed the period with the Arrows ahead 6-3.
Owen S Hill accounted for the only two goals of the second period with his third and fourth of the game.
Toronto is in first place for a reason and they came out hungry in the third scoring at 1:08 to pull up closer behind the Arrows, 6-4. Austin Staats closed down any thoughts of a Beaches comeback on a powerplay. The Beaches were not finished quite yet and scored at 9:51. Staats and Longboat demoralized Toronto with late-game goals, both shorthanded for the 11-5 Six Nations win. Drayden Patey earned the win in the Arrows net.
Thursday night, May 31st, the Arrows will host the Whitby Warriors at the ILA, at 8 pm. From there, they will be on the road against the Beaches in what could be a very important early season matchup that could give the Arrows in a familiar vantage point from atop the Jr. A. Sunday June 3rd, the Arrows are back home for a date with the Burlington Chiefs.