SIX NATIONS – Six Nations lacrosse fans were treated to a great Iroquois Nations Cup tournament series played at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Six Nations this past weekend involving eight teams from throughout Iroquoia.
In the end, the Ohsweken Aces won the 2013 Iroquois Nations Cup gold again this year in an exciting and tightly battled 11-10 win over the Silver Medalists, the Kahnawake Rapids on Sunday afternoon.
The bronze medal game played earlier in the afternoon was also a nail bitter between the Native Sons (a team of friends and family from throughout Haudenosaunee territory) and the host Frog Pond Maulers, which saw the Maulers squeak out a 12-11 win from a game that could easily have gone either way.
It was the climax of a weekend that brought Haudenosaunee teams together, all vying to dethrone the incumbent Cup holders, the Aces.
Both medal games were excitement packed, one-goal affairs with narrow leads flip-flopping back and forth.
The Aces and the Rapids were both fast on the transition and carried a roster of highly talented players.
They seesawed their way through the first period, trading goals until the Aces took the last marker of the period to lead, 5-4.
The Aces turned it up a notch in the second and the game appeared to be all but over after the Aces exploded for 8 goals while Jake Henhawk, in the Aces goal, kept all but two Kahnawakke shots out of his net.
It was 11-6 with 20 minutes left and the Rapids looked defeated. But in the third, the Aces seemed to think it was in the bag already and stopped pressing Kahnawake. Methodically, the Rapids began chipping away at the Ohsweken lead to draw to within one goal of sending the game into OT, with 1:51 remaining in regulation time. Kahnnawake had the Aces on their heals but the clock became their biggest opponent.
A missed pass in the offensive zone resulted in a turn over with seconds remaining, which the Aces ran down to ride the narrow lead to the end.
Craig Point led the Aces with 5 goals and 3 assists for an 8-point game and the nod as the Championship game’s team MVP. Donovan Fleischer won the honours for Kahnawake. Rapids’ Jeff Shatler was the tournaments’ top point getter with 6 goals and 9 assists.
Also scoring for the Aces was: Tom Montour (2G, 2A), Roger Vyse, Cody Jamieson and Randy Staats (1G, 2A each), Stu Hill (1G), Chris Attwood (3A), Mike Attwood (2A), Jake Henhawk (1A), and Wayne VanEvery (2A).
“That was good,” said Aces veteran Tim Bomberry. “We had a good lead but … they (Kahnawake) gave a good team.”
Bomberry has been a part of every one of the seven Six Nations Iroquois Cup wins they have played in except for last season.
“Little Bob (Henry) and I thought we were going to retire that year,” he laughs. “That might be it though. Maybe this year, we’ll see.”
Cory Bomberry was also one of the founding members of the Aces, and recognizes the Iroquois Nations Cup as a celebration of lacrosse, friends, and family.
“For the Aces, it’s our boys getting together. We’ve won it for the last five years now. It’s always a good time to get together,” he said.
“We started this team as family,” said Bomberry. “We’re all related somewhere. We’ve had some pretty good times, so we’ll keep it going. In fact everyone here is here because of our friendships, so it’s a good thing.”
And it never gets old for him either.
“This year wasn’t as easy as perhaps other years,” he said. “ But we had to battle, and lacrosse is about the battle. You can’t just go out and expect to win. All the teams put on a good show for everybody and we came through with another championship.”
For Kahnawake, Karah Two-Axe scored three times and Seth Oaks scored twice. Nick Angus scored one and assisted on one, Jeff Shatler registered one goal and added three assists. Marky Kirby and Adam Bomberry score once each.
Kedoh Hill set up three Rapids goals while Dean Hull and Tye Tarbell earned two assists each.
Goalie Donovan Fliesher and Brandon Francis chipped in with single assists in their disappointing loss.
The Bronze Medal Game between the Six Nations Native Sons and the Frog Pond Maulers turned out to be every bit as exciting as the Gold and Silver Medal Game.
After spotting the Maulers five unanswered goals, early in the first period, the Sons began to shine scoring three times to cut the Maulers lead to 5-3 after the first period.
In the second period the Native Sons brought their A game. Angus LaBogrne threaded the needle with an outside shot through traffic and followed that up with another scored 25 seconds later. Peter Rivera and Tyler Seneca assisted to even the game at 5-5.
Each team traded two more goals before the period ended tied 7-7. Cam Seneca and Rivera scored for the Native Sons while Haodais Maracle and Quinn Powless accounted for the Maulers second period goals.
The third period had fans on the edge of their seats as the teams continued to trade goal for goal.
Kim Squire used a screen in front of the Son’s goal and found a spot just inside the far post, but seconds later Brandon Brooks recreated just about the same goal at the other end to even things again.
Johnny Powless unleashed a rocket at 4:57 to put the Maulers in front again. And with Seneca in the box for slashing at 8:02, Squire sent a hard one at Tyler Seneca in the Son’s net which he got almost all of, but not enough, and the ball slowly rolled over the line and stopped an inch or two inside the net to put a two goal edge between them.
The turning point of the game came shortly thereafter when Seneca made a similar save but this time quickly turned and swept the ball away before it could enter the net. That would have made it 11-8 and may have demoralized his team somewhat.
But knowing they had just dodged a bullet, the Native Sons began to pour it on. Johnny Jimerson and Joe Montour scored two quick ones for the Sons and they were all even again at 10-10.
With 6:43 remaining, Ian Martin picked up a rebound and once again put the Maulers on top, 11-10.
Cody Johnson scored what would be the game winner at 14:31 from Ian Martin and Josh Johnson to make it 12-10, but there was still a lot of lacrosse yet to play.
The Rapids made it even more interesting when they scored with 27 seconds remaining to come within one shot of sending the game into OT where they would have a new life.
But it didn’t happen as the clock ran out on Kahnawake’s hopes to remove the trophy from the Six Nations’ mantle and take it home with them.The Maulers took on the Native Sons in the Bronze medal matchup at the ILA. The Maulers came out one goal ahead of the hard working and talented Sons. (Photo by Jim Windle)