Thursday, September 15, 2016

Chiefs dominate Game 5 to win third Mann Cup title in four years

The Chiefs enjoy their Mann Cup victory. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
by Stephen Stamp

The Six Nations Chiefs have won their third Mann Cup in four years, beating the Maple Ridge Burrards 14-6 Wednesday night to take the Canadian senior lacrosse championship four games to one.

In the end, the depth and experience of the Chiefs was simply too much for the Burrards, who put up a game fight before falling short.

Dan Dawson had another exceptional effort, scoring 2 goals and adding 5 assists for the Chiefs. That gave him 30 for the series to lead all scorers in the series. Dawson, who was named the Mike Kelly Award winner as series MVP, also passed Colin Doyle for fourth place in all-time Mann Cup scoring.

Early on, the game looked like it would be a third straight hotly contested battle. Maple Ridge's Daniel Amesbury opened the scoring when he tucked home a rebound 7:35 into the game. As they have made a habit of doing, though, the Chiefs responded quickly. Randy Staats scored 19 seconds after Amesbury to tie things up.

Another habit the Chiefs carried into Game 5 was scoring late and early in periods. Wednesday night, Staats got his third of the game with 11 seconds to play in the first. It was a dispiriting goal that arose when Frankie Scigliano tried to play the ball behind his net and seemed to have a momentary lapse of judgment that saw him stand still while Staats snagged the ball as it rolled outside the crease, took a couple of steps so he could reach around the post and tucked it in to the unguarded net. That made the score 3-2 for Six Nations, the third straight game they held a one-goal lead after 20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chiefs win 9-7 again, take 3-1 lead in increasingly intense Mann Cup finals

Ben McIntosh (left) and Billy Dee Smith were central figures in Game 4, which Six Nations won 9-7 to take a 3-1 lead in the 2016 Mann Cup. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
For the second straight game the Maple Ridge Burrards held a 7-6 lead in the third period and for the second straight game the Six Nations Chiefs scored the final three goals to win 9-7. Now the Chiefs have the Burrards on the ropes, leading 3-1 in the 2016 Mann Cup and with a chance to close out the championship in Wednesday's Game 5.

After a blowout in each direction in the first two games, a pair of tight matches have resulted in the intensity ramping up as you'd expect in a best of seven series. That intensity resulted in some chirping between the teams across the centre line before each team headed off to its own dressing room after the game.

The teams have a good hate on for each other. As Chiefs defender Billy Dee Smith, one of the central characters in the post-game drama, said, “Just chatting it up, sharing some unpleasantries,” Smith said with a smile. “Guys are starting to get sick of each other. That's the way it should be. I don't like them right now.”

Not surprisingly, Maple Ridge head coach Rob Williams wasn't quite as lighthearted about the squabbling. “I will say there were some classless things said, we'll leave it at that. I'm sure it can be said both ways. That's what happens in a seven-game series played this tight and this tough,” said Williams.

The teams clearly don't like each other much, but they also clearly respect each other on the floor. Smith missed the first two games but has been a critical component of the Chiefs ability to limit the Burrards potent offence to seven goals in each of the last two games. He said keeping up with the Maple Ridge forwards has been a demanding challenge.

“It's definitely a grind. It's what you like to think the Mann Cup is about. No team's blowing out another team, every shift means something,” Smith said. “I think it shows at the end of the game, both teams are exhausted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mann Cup is a family affair

Zack Porter checks Brier Jonathan in the background while Dan Dawson tangles with DJ Saari. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

by Stephen Stamp

The 2016 Mann Cup features a sibling rivalry, although not the kind the term usually denotes.

Each team has a pair of brother acts taking part, so in this case it is a case of siblings banding together against other siblings.

Dan Dawson is leading the series in scoring with 19 points through three games, moving him into fifth in all-time Mann Cup points and leaving him just 10 behind Colin Doyle for fourth. Paul Dawson is a defender for the Chiefs who has played a key role in Six Nations limiting the Maple Ridge Burrards to 28 goals through the first three games.

Six Nations' other pair of brothers are both helping boost the Chiefs offence. Austin Staats has garnered plenty of attention for his clutch scoring and exuberant celebrations, as well as his propensity for getting knocked down but getting back up again. Austin rolled his ankle, separated his shoulder twice and generally seemed to be sprawled on the floor through much of the MSL finals against Peterborough. He returned every time, though, to help fill the gap left by injuries to a trio of Chiefs lefty forwards.

Chiefs win 9-7 overtime thriller to take 2-1 Mann Cup series lead over Burrards

Austin Staats celebrates his game-winning overtime goal in Game 3. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
by Darryl Smart

Cody Jamieson has made a habit of, well, just being Cody Jamieson.

After sitting out the first two games of the Mann Cup nursing a knee injury, Jammer returned to the lineup and was one of the best players on the floor, scoring three goals and four assists to lead the Six Nations Chiefs to a 9-7 overtime win over the Maple Ridge Burrards. 
The Chiefs now lead the best-of-seven Canadian senior A men's lacrosse championship series 2-1.

"I always want to be in there," Jamieson said. "It's tough to watch. I wasn't able to be on the bench Saturday night, so I had to sit in the stands. I didn't like that at all. I wanted to play."

Jamieson gave the Chiefs some insurance in the extra frame, scoring midway through after Austin Staats continued to impress, netting the game-winner 26 seconds into overtime.

"This was a big win for us," Jamieson said. "We were disappointed in our effort Saturday. We wanted to bounce back. Everyone punched in and worked hard."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Maple Ridge Burrards bounce back with 13-9 win over Six Nations Chiefs to even Mann Cup at one win each

Luke Gillespie injected energy and 3 goals into the Maple Ridge lineup when he was inserted for Game 2. Here he scores a shorthanded goal in the first period. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Maple Ridge Burrards regrouped after a tough loss in the opening game of the 2016 Mann Cup and scored an impressive 13-9 victory over the Six Nations Chiefs in Game 2, giving the franchise its first win at the national championship since 1977. The best-of-seven series is now tied 1-1.
After looking somewhat overpowered in the series opener, a much improved Burrards' squad took the floor on Saturday night and showed the boisterous crowd that a Six Nations sweep was not in the cards. The visitors made some adjustments on both sides of the ball, showing much more patience in the offensive zone, while also tightened up their coverage on defense and battling much harder for loose balls.
"I think we just outworked them tonight," said Maple Ridge captain Aaron Davis. "In the first game, for whatever reason, they were the harder working team. They beat us to loose balls and got a lot of second chances, but tonight we really changed the momentum in those areas."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mann Cup 2016: Dawson climbing the career points ladder

Dan Dawson scoring one of his 44 career Mann Cup goals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Dan Dawson doesn't like to talk about it, but he's climbing the list of all-time Mann Cup scorers. Friday night, he shot up two places to sit seventh in the storied history of the Canadian national senior championship.

Dawson's 8-point performance leapfrogged him past Josh Sanderson (36 goals, 77 assists, 113 points in 28 games) and Bill Wilson (83/32/115 in 33 games). In his 36th Mann Cup contest, Dawson had 3 goals and 5 assists to push his totals to 44, 72 and 116. Dawson also, with his sixth point of Friday's game, reached the one thousand point plateau for his senior career including regular season, playoffs and Mann Cup games.

When you ask Dawson about it, he will answer your question politely and interestingly, but will shift the focus to the team almost immediately. He is truly humble and uncomfortable talking too much about his own accomplishments.

Is it the pickles? Salty secret to Chiefs' playoff success

Austin Staats and the Chiefs are getting their drive from pickles in the 2016 post-season. (Photo; Tim Prothero)
Courtesy Six Nations Chiefs

When Dave Sowden arrives at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena for his Mann Cup preparations, he’s had a little extra cargo than usual.

For the last couple of weeks, the Chiefs’ light-hearted trainer has carried around a covered blue pale.

Its contents are about as key to the Chiefs’ success, as the return of Cody Jamieson.

“We started to bring the pale of pickles to the series in Brooklin,” Sowden said. “Some of the guys like them, so I thought I’d bring some along on the trip. Every game I brought pickles, we won. Even if they weren’t ready, the pickles were in the house.”

At the time it seemed to be a bit of a coincidence, so nobody thought too much about it. Only thing is, the players enjoyed what Sowden and offensive player Craig Point created.

Chiefs ride 8-goal run to 15-8 win over Burrards in Game 1 of Mann Cup

Riley Loewen escaped this double team and had 5 points, but the Chiefs dominated the second half of Game 1 to draw first blood in the 2016 Mann Cup. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

Both of the combatants in the 2016 Mann Cup have shown a knack for bouncing back when things start going against them. In Game 1 Friday night, both teams did so but the Six Nations Chiefs did it much more emphatically than the Maple Ridge Burrards did.

After Maple Ridge scored four straight second-period goals to rebound from an early deficit to tie the game 5-5, Six Nations ran off nine in a row to blow the game open en route to a 15-8 win in the opener of the national senior championship at Six Nations' Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.

Maple Ridge got off to a 1-0 lead three and a half minutes in when Ben McIntosh slipped open in the slot and buried a pass from Jarrett Davis past Dillon Ward. Dan Dawson replied with his first of 3 goals—to go with 5 assists for a game-high 8 points—less than a minute later.

The Burrards created some chances but were unable to beat Ward again in the period, and eventually it was the Chiefs who went on a run that saw them score 4 goals, including two power play markers, in a 10-minute stretch to head to intermission with a 5-1 lead.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mann Cup preview on IL Indoor

Today's the day. The 2016 Mann Cup gets under way at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena between the Major Series Lacrosse champion Six Nations Chiefs and the Western Lacrosse Association champion Maple Ridge Burrards.

IL Indoor's Stephen Stamp has published his preview of the Mann Cup. We won't spoil it for you, so go over and take a look to see his breakdown of the teams and prediction for the series between the underdog but determined Burrards and the Chiefs, who look to win their third Mann Cup in four years.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chiefs and Burrards two days away from squaring off in Mann Cup

It's the old guard versus the new kids on the block, but that is just one of many story lines for the 2016 Mann Cup.

The annual best of seven Canadian senior lacrosse championship features the best lacrosse players in the world. This year it sees the Six Nations Chiefs looking to claim their third title in four years facing off against the Maple Ridge Burrards, who haven't been to the Mann Cup since 1990.

Legendary player John Tavares, who will go into the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame in a few weeks, is now coaching the offence for the Chiefs. When the Burrards made their last Mann Cup appearance 26 years ago, he was a rookie for the team that at that time played out of Vancouver.

While the Chiefs have become Mann Cup regulars, they faced the toughest challenge in years to claim Ontario's Major Series Lacrosse crown. The regular season was the most competitive in years, with fourth teams battling for first place until the final week. Six Nations overcame several injuries to key players to down the Brooklin Redmen in the semifinals.

Their opponent in the championship series for the third straight year was the Peterborough Lakers, who finished first in the regular season but had to fight hard to beat the Oakville Rock in the semis. The Lakers then enjoyed a perfect start to the MSL finals, winning three straight games to all but assure themselves of a return to the Mann Cup that they lost to the Victoria Shamrocks a year ago.

Burrards arriving tonight, press conference tomorrow

The Maple Ridge Burrards on en route to Ontario and are expected to arrive in Toronto around 9 pm Wednesday night. They will make their way to the ILA for shootaround on Thursday and attend the Mann Cup press conference at 1 pm at the arena.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tickets for Mann Cup available at Arrow Express Sports

Tickets for the Mann Cup can be purchased at Arrow Express Sports at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.

Ticket prices:
Adult $20
Senior & Student $15
Child $12

Assigned seating is available if you purchase the 4-game package. The package also allows you to renew your assigned seat for any further games.

Arrow Express will be open for sales of 4-game packages and general admission tickets for Game 1 at the following times:
Tuesday Sept 6  9:30 am - 8 pm
Wednesday Sept 7  9:30 am - 8 pm
Thursday Sept 8  9:30 am - 7 pm
Friday Sept 9th  9:30 am - 1:30  pm

General admission tickets for subsequent games will be on sale during intermission, for 1 hour after the game and from 10 am - 4 pm on the next game day.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mann Cup schedule

Six Nations Chiefs (Major Series Lacrosse champions) vs Maple Ridge Burrards (Western Lacrosse Association champions)

All games at Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, Six Nations

Game 1  Friday, Sept 9  8 pm
Game 2  Saturday, Sept 10  8 pm
Game 3  Monday, Sept 12  8 pm
Game 4  Tuesday, Sept 13  8 pm
Game 5  Wednesday, Sept 14*  8 pm
Game 6  Friday, Sept 16*  8 pm
Game 7  Saturday, Sept 17*  8 pm

*if necessary

Chiefs overcome 3-0 series deficit, 6-4 game deficit to win Major Series Lacrosse championship

The Chiefs posing with a hard-earned MSL championship trophy. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Someone will have to comb through the records to see if it's ever been done, but Six Nations Chiefs accomplishment of coming back from down 3-0 to win the Major Series Lacrosse championship series is at the very least a rare feat.

Not only did they come back from down in the series, the Chiefs had to come back from a deficit in Game 7 Saturday night. They trailed the Peterborough Lakers 6-4 in the second period and 6-5 after 40 spectacularly entertaining minutes.

Then three goals in the first 5:19 of the third period put Six Nations ahead bya pair and they held on for a 10-7 win that sends them to the Mann Cup for the third time in four seasons.

Naturally, in a matchup between two such excellent teams, it took contributions from up and down the lineup to make it happen. Dillon Ward won the Johnny Shooter Davis award as playoffs MVP, closing it out with his 45-save performnce.

Dhane Smith's 5-point night (3 goals, 2 assists) gave him the playoff scoring lead with 41 points, just one ahead of his fellow Chiefs righty Dan Dawson.

Austin Staats scored 2 goals and 2 assists, giving the 18-year-old a 33-point playoff run since joining the team partway through the semis against Brooklin to fill in for injured lefty forwards.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Game 7 viewing: see the champions crowned

Major Series Lacrosse will crown its 2016 champion Saturday night at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. Game time between the Peterborough Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs is 7 pm.

While tickets are going quickly, there are still some seats available through the Memorial Centre box office, in person, online or by phone.

If you can't make it to the game but live in the Peterborough area, you can watch the game on Cogeco TV.

Worldwide you can watch the game streamed live and free by JVI Sports Network thanks to game sponsors Arrow Express Sports, the ILA Sports Store and the Dreamcatcher Fund.

Game 7 in the offing: Chiefs down Lakers 10-7 to force deciding game Saturday

Austin Staats and Chiefs fans share the joy of Six Nations final goal in their Game 6 win. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
For the third year in a row, the Major Series Lacrosse championship will come down to Game 7 between the Peterborough Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs. Six Nations made sure of that Thursday night by roaring out to a 6-0 lead and hanging on for a 10-7 win, their third straight after the Lakers had won the first three games of the series.

Chiefs head coach Rich Kilgour expressed deep appreciation for what lacrosse fans have seen over the last three finals as each team has won a seven-game series and now each team has three wins in this series.

“It's 10-10 in the past three years and I'd bet the goals are within one or two,” Kilgour said. “They're a great team, I like to think we're a great team. They're well-coached, I like to think I'm a halfway good coach once in a while. It's been great lacrosse. It's been mean, it's been rough. It's been up, it's been down. It doesn't get any better than this.”

This season has seen a strange series. Peterborough overcame a four-goal third-period deficit to win Game 1 in double overtime. The Lakers edged Six Nations by a goal in Game 2. Peterborough extended its lead to a stunning 3-0 with a blowout win in Game 3.

Then it was Six Nations' turn. They put on an historical display of defence and goaltending in an 8-1 Game 4 win and Dillon Ward continued to shine as the Chiefs won Game 5 by an 8-6 score.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Game 6 live streaming

Game 6 of the Major Series Lacrosse finals will be streamed live by JVI Sports Network on their YouTube channel. The streaming is made possible by sponsors The Hill Academy and Traditional Lacrosse.

The Hill Academy was recently voted the top high school lacrosse program in North America by USA Today. Six Hill Academy alumni are playing in the MSL finals: Dillon Ward, Randy Staats and Leo Stores for the Six Nations Chiefs; Chad Tutton, Josh Currier and Jake Fox for the Peterborough Lakers. The Hill's director of lacrosse, Brodie Merrill, also plays for Six Nations.

Traditional Lacrosse is best known for their handcrafted wooden lacrosse sticks. They also sell apparel as well as modern heads and shafts.

The Lakers will try to close out the series in Game 6 while the Chiefs will try to force a Game 7 between the teams for the third straight year.