CATHARINES — The Six Nations Rivermen have won their first Presidents Cup after three years of operation. In the first year, they won the Ontario Championship, and followed that with Silver at the 2014 Presidents Cup playoff, winning the Cup in 2015.
“You couldn’t draw it up any better,” said head coach Stew Monture. “When you start up a franchise that is how you want to do it. It’s really rewarding to myself, Cap (Bomberry), Marty Staats, Claude Sault and Trent Hill — those who started this franchise three seasons ago.”
He had high praise for the entire team, but singled out the consistent leadership and play of Roger Vyse and Wayne VanEvery. Vyse recorded 15 goals and 11 assists through the tournament while VanEvery scored 16 and assisted on 15 to power the Rivermen to their first Presidents Cup.
“Roger came from the Chiefs and brought a lot of experience and leadership to the team,” said Monture. “With him and Wayne, that gives us a very strong left side.”
The Six Nations Arrows won the Minto Cup but the defending Founders Cup Jr. B Rebels and the Major Series Chiefs were eliminated leaving the Rivermen as the last Six Nations team standing in men’s box lacrosse.
The Rivermen were not just sitting around waiting for the Presidents Cup Tournament to open Monday in St. Catharines. They have been practicing hard and working out since they eliminated the Brooklin Merchants August 15th at the Gaylord Powless Arena.
After all the divisional play it all came down to the Six Nations Rivermen and the Capital Region Axemen out of Quebec. It was a very exciting game where the tide turned several times along the way.
Roger Vyse scored the first two goals of the game, but the Axemen, with Six Nations’ Kedoh Hill in their lineup, fought back to finish the first period with the Axemen leading 4-3 after a last minute goal broke the tie.
Travis Bland scored his second of the game at 11:21 followed closely by Roger Vyse to tie and then take the lead.
Tim Bergin scored two goals 5 seconds apart to restore the Axemen lead. Not to be overshadowed, Cory Bomberry and Tommy Montour flipped the lead again to put Six Nations on top 7-6. After the Axemen tied it again, VanEvery and Randy Martin closed the second frame with Six Nations up 9-7 heading into the third period. They would need that cushion as the Axemen threw everything but the water bottles at Angus Goodleaf.
Capital Region made it a new game at 9-9 with early goals scored by Caleb Wiles and Callum Crawford, both unassisted. Goodleaf got almost enough of Wiles’ shot but a controversial slow whistle resulted in the goal. The Axemen set up a play at the end of a possession and Crawford scored just as the shot clock buzzer went.
VanEvery scored again at 4:31 and then set up Randy Martin at 5:41. Kedoh Hill and Mark Vradenburg put the Axemen ahead 11-9. Holden Vyse scored what would stand as the game winner at 13:47 and Roger Vyse and Mike Miller added late goals to secure the franchise’s first Presidents Cup.
“Holdy has been with the Rivermen from the beginning and has proven to be a great utility player that can perform well wherever he is asked to play, up front or on the defense.”
After the long wait before the series began, there was some concern that the Rivermen may loose momentum by the time the Presidents Cup started. That was not the case as they were certainly ready to kick off their quest for the Sr. B national title, when the preliminary series opened last Monday against the Rockyview Knights and logged an easy 14-4 win.
“It was a good team effort,” said coach Stew Monture. “Everybody looked sharp and ready to go.”
Cory Bomberry put his cannon shot on hold for this one choosing rather to set up his teammates with one goal and seven assists. Randy Martin scored three and Delby Powless scored three plus an assist.
Brock Boyle recorded the divisional game winner at 14:15 of the first period against the Onondaga Redhawks, assisted by goalie Angus Goodleaf. Also scoring for Six Nations were Brock Farmer, Stu Martin, Roger Vyse and Ian Martin.
They were snake bit 14-11 the next day in game #2 after a disastrous second period, when the Snake Island Muskies outscored the Rivermen 7-2. VanEvery recorded an eight-point outing with four goals and four assists and Holden Vyse had a big game with two goals and two assists in the losing effort. Martin Boyle and Crans also scored for Six Nations.
Wednesday, Sept 2nd, the Rivermen regrouped and cut down the Nanaimo Timbermen, 14-7.
Roger Vyse scored four goals in the first period to lead Six Nations to a 6-4 first period lead. Stu Hill and Wayne VanEvery also scored in the first 20 minutes.
It was VanEvery’s turn to shine in the second, scoring three to increase the Rivermen lead to 10-5.
VanEvery, with two more markers, Randy Martin and Delby Powless also scored in the third for the 14-7 final in Game #3.
Friday, Sept 4th, the Rivermen went up against their “cousins”, the Can/Am Onondaga Redhawks and came out with the 12-10 win, despite letting up on the gas and allowing three late goals by the Redhawks.
Roger Vyse scored three and assisted on two and Wayne VanEvery scored one and assisted on five towards the win. Delby Powless scored two and assisted on two with Brock Farmer, Tom Montour, Mike Miller, Cory Bomberry, Ian Martin and Travis Bland also scoring for the Rivermen.
Following the championship game, coach Monture thanked the Rivermen fans for their support.
“We may not have had the biggest crowds, but as far as I am concerned, they were the most knowledgeable fans, and we appreciate that support.
A community appreciation event is being planned to thank their fans.