St. Albert Miners: 2016 Presidents' Cup Champions
September 3, 2016
BY DALLAS SMITH
LEDUC, Alberta - The National Championship game featured the St. Albert Miners and the Kahnawake Mohawks. The Miners came into the tournament as the host team and earned the first place in their division after victories over the Mountaineers, Brewers, and Merchants. With a first round bye, the Miners automatically moved into the semi-final round and won convincingly against a strong Native Sons team. On the other side, the Mohawks came into the tournament representing FCQ.
After a disheartening loss to the Langley Warriors in overtime, the Mohawks were able to regroup and win the final two divisional games against the Thunderbirds and the Native Sons. Their two victories propelled them into first place and a bye to the semi-finals as well. Similar to the Miners, they won in convincing fashion against the Merchants to move them into the National Championship game.
The consistently cold Sobeys Arena in the Leduc Recreation Centre was the site of the final game in the tournament. Avid lacrosse fans from across the country filled the relatively small arena to see one final game of Senior B Lacrosse. The crowd was mainly filled with staunch Miners supporters, although the Kahnawake Mohawks had their share of fans supporting the Québec Senior League team.
As the crowd filled in and the scoreboard buzzed signifying the end of the warm-up, the audience stood up shoulder to shoulder in order to listen to the Haudenosaunee National Anthem and the Canadian National Anthem. The playing of the two national anthems vitalized and roused both teams, which was evident as the invigorated starters approached the face-off circle.
Both teams sought to establish a quick lead, as their early possessions consisted of a variety of shots early in the shot clock. The Miners second shot of the game found the back of the net off the stick of Richard Lachlan early into a possession. Lachlan would add another on the extra man off a skillful little seal down. With momentum on their side, Darren Kinnear would add a third goal for the Miners as the Mohawks struggled to get their defense on the floor.
The Miners extended their lead to four, as the Mohawks continued to struggle generating quality opportunities against the Miners stingy defense and consistent goaltending. After ten minutes of scoreless lacrosse, the Miners were able to score their fifth in a row and extend their lead to 5-0. A five goal differential remained as time expired on in the first period.
Determined to add to their already sizeable lead, the Miners Lachlan fired his third of the game past Angus Goodleaf. Two more goals by the Miners offense prompted the coaches to pull Goodleaf in favor of Alexandre Fortier. The goaltender switch slightly invigorated the Mohawks team as Karahkwanoron Two-Axe and Patrick Saunders scored consecutive goals, followed by another goal from Mark Kirby.
The Mohawks continued with their goal streak with an exhilarating short-handed goal, Nick Angus cut the Miners lead in half. After a strong rag unit, the Mohawks Peter Jacobs was able to dip and duck around his defender for the Mohawks fifth of the game. Tired of the Mohawks extended scoring spree, the Miners finally answered back to place the score at 9-5 at the end of the second.
Thirty-seven seconds into the third period saw the Miners re-extend their lead to five after Lachlan’s fourth goal of the game. The Mohawks struggled mightily with shooting from beyond the arc, poor shot placement combined with consistent goaltending from David Marrese made overcoming their goal deficit difficult. Lachlan’s fifth goal came near the midway point of the third period, to push the Miner's lead to 11-5.
The next five minutes saw no scoring but with time winding down and defeat seemingly imminent, the Mohawks offense continued to push aggressively by sneaking their goalie for early 6 on 5 opportunities. Their offense yielded several goals in the dwindling minutes, however, the Miners lead was too large to overcome.
With their 12-7 victory, the Miners are the 2016 President’s Cup Champions and the Senior B National Champions.