|The Six Nations Chiefs leadership group receive the Mann Cup. (Photo: Tim Prothero)|
The Six Nations Chiefs are Mann Cup champions again. They beat the Victoria Shamrocks 9-4 Friday night to win the best of seven series 4-2 and bring the Mann Cup back to the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. Brandon Miller was excellent for the Chiefs again, earning first star honours for the game and Mike Kelly Trophy as MVP for the series. Miller stopped 34 of the 38 shots he faced.
Colin Boucher picked off a pass and raced down the floor to score an unassisted transition goal that broke a 1-1 tie at 14:19 of the first period and set the Chiefs on the path to victory. Kasey Beirnes followed with a goal—one of his two to go along with two assists in the game—37 seconds later and the Chiefs led 3-1 after one period.
The Shamrocks put up a spirited battle, coming close to scoring on a number of occasions but just not being able to get the ball past Miller with any regularity. At eight minutes of the second period, Colin Doyle took a cross-floor pass from Beirnes and quickly redirected a bounce shot past Cody Hagedorn to make it 4-1.
The teams exchanged two goals each before Craig Point stuck a dagger in Victoria's hopes of launching a comeback when he leapt to quick-stick home a perfect pass from Cody Jamieson with 9.8 seconds to play in the second period, making it 7-3 Six Nations heading into the intermission.
Jeff Shattler and Beirnes added goals in the first seven minutes of the third period to really put things out of reach.
Six Nations head coach Rich Kilgour was quick to praise his defence, saying that while the forwards are a collection of stars, the defence has been the backbone of the club. “I've been here five years, four years in a row we've won the lowest goals against. That's really what we try to hang our hat on,” Kilgour said.
The Chiefs had to battle all year just to finish at .500 with a 9-9 regular season record, needing to win a pair of games against Oakville in the final week to ensure that they qualified for the postseason. “We struggled real hard in the middle of the season. Once we had everyone come back it took a while to gel but once we did we were a real good team,” Kilgour said.
|Johnny Powless capped off a year in which he won the|
Champions Cup, Minto Cup and Mann Cup.
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
“What really turned it around for us were the two Oakville games. Those were pressure, one-goal wins. If we lose one of those ones who knows if we even make the playoffs. I kept telling them any time our backs were against the wall, you guys have been through this, you won two games in Oakville that we had to win. You guys, when you need it, you find a way to do it and nothing's going to change. Once the playoffs came, we had a consistent lineup and we started playing some consistent lacrosse and here we are.”
Kilgour was part of the Six Nations team that won three straight Mann Cups back in the mid-90s, but he said it was special to be part of the first Mann Cup to be held on Native land. “We won three back in the day but the two we won here were over in Brantford. I think the Gaylord Powless Arena probably couldn't have held everyone, and now you have this here. You've got the Rebels winning four Founders Cups, the Arrows winning the Minto Cup. You've got three of the best trophies in lacrosse are going to be displayed here for the next year. It's pretty unbelievable. It's been a great year for Six Nations lacrosse.”