OHSWEKEN, ON (September 13, 2016) – The fourth game of the 2016 Mann Cup series went down to the wire, and looked destined for overtime, but the Six Nations Chiefs were able to withstand a final offensive flurry from the Maple Ridge Burrards to secure their second straight 9-7 win. They now lead the best-of-seven series 3-1.
With less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, and the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, Ben McIntosh carried the ball into the offensive zone, with one last shot to tie things up. The Burrards cycled the ball around looking for an open man, but with time ticking away, they had to make their move.
The ball made its way to Riley Loewen down low, where he tried to send a cross-crease pass over to Mike Mallory, who broke away from his defender, but the Chiefs were able to get a stick in the lane and knock it into the corner.
Billy Dee Smith, who by no means is known for his offensive prowess, scooped it up and sprinted down the floor, burying a shot into the yawning cage to put the final nail in the Burrards’ coffin.
Billy Dee does not score often, so you can imagine the jubilation from the bench when he sealed the win for his team.
His cousin Dhane Smith, on the other hand, has built his reputation on scoring, and scoring often. He led the Chiefs with five points (1G, 4A), while Dan Dawson (1G, 3A) and Randy Staats (2G, 2A) also pulled their weight.
“I think our defense buckled down and stepped up huge in the last couple of minutes for us,” said Six Nations forward Ryan Benesch, who finished with two goals and an assist.
After a quiet night in Game 3, Chiefs’ goaltender Dillon Ward was kept busy between the pipes on Tuesday, turning away 44 of the 51 shots he faced, double the amount that he needed to get the win in yesterday’s match.
“Dillon’s been our backbone all season,” acknowledged Chiefs defender David Brock. “We rely on him when the defense has a breakdown and he’s always there to back us up. He’s the heart and soul of our team and he’s been doing a great job.”
McIntosh was a force for his squad in the loss, netting three goals and adding two assists.
Six Nations did a tremendous job keeping up with the constant movement that is the Maple Ridge offense, effectively sliding coverage onto cutting players and fighting through picks, helping to limit quality scoring chances.
When asked how his defense was able to shut down the Burrards, Brock explained: “We’re just doing our best to match feet and to keep them out of the middle. They’re quick, they’re strong, and they’re athletic, but so is our defense.”
Six Nations will have their first chance to clinch the Mann Cup in Game 5 on Wednesday night at 8:00PM.
If the emotion shown after the post-game award presentation, which saw plenty of shouting from both sides, is any indication, the Burrards’ will not go down without a fight.
- Players of the Game
- Dan Dawson (Six Nations), Ben Mcintosh (Maple Ridge),
- JVI Sports Network Three Stars
- 3rd Star: Dillon Ward, 2nd Star: Randy Staats, 1st Star: Ben McIntosh
All games will be played at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena (3201 Line 2, Ohsweken, ON).
- Game 1: September 9 (Six Nations 15, Maple Ridge 8)
- Game 2: September 10 (Six Nations 9, Maple Ridge 13)
- Game 3: September 12 (Six Nations 9, Maple Ridge 7)
- Game 4: September 13 (Six Nations 9, Maple Ridge 7)
- Game 5: Wednesday, September 14 at 8:00PM EST (*if necessary)
- Game 6: Friday September, 16 at 8:00PM EST (*if necessary)
- Game 7: Saturday September, 17 at 8:00PM EST (*if necessary)