By Jesse Ferguson, 4BRANT
The Warriors, both lacrosse teams, Brantford and Six Nations, squared off in the penultimate fifth game of their semi-final playoff series. These teams were deadlocked at two apiece.
The winner of this game would advance to the division championship to play Wilmot.
Brantford opened up the scoring eight minutes into the game when Caleb Wells found the back of the net.
Then Brantford converted another 10 minutes in to make it 2-0. Duncan Carte made the amazing shorthanded play.
Just thirty-some-odd seconds later, it was Wells again, dazzling with an inspiring single-handed effort! This gave Brantford control, up 3-0.
With control gained, Brantford sat back a little and hoped to just hold onto their 4-0 lead. Before the period was through, Six Nations aimed for a run. They played it around the offensive zone and Emmitt Smith– but not the Emmitt Smith of Dallas Cowboys’ lore– finished it off from Darris Anderson.
Then, as Alanis Morrisette, sings, they gotta a little bit closer. It was Anderson again, this time setting up Sam Gowland– and it was 4-2 for Brantford.
Now, with Brantford scrambling, they made a costly error. With a minute left in the period, somehow, Six Nations found themselves on a breakaway! Tyrese Staats boosted his stats assisted by sinking the goal as Six Nations capitalized on Brantford’s complacence. Harley VanEvery spotted Staats and found him in the clear for the break.
This cut the deficit back to just one goal heading into the first intermission.
Any momentum Six Nations lost in the intermission, they found it again immediately into the new frame. Not two minutes into the second period, Six Nations found level ground. Jaxon Martin got the marker, their fourth straight goal.
Brantford though, was next to strike as they remembered how to score. Wells again, this time notching a hat trick on Brantford’s first shot in way too long. Kaleb Hess drew the assist.
Their next real shot after this for Brantford was a beauty. Cole Robillard faked the shot and then threw it cross-seam for Cooper Day-Allison to essentially one-time it in. This made it 6-4 Brantford.
It was a game of runs as Brantford again scored, not thirty seconds later. Brayden Doxtator converted the tally from Ryan Door.
Then before anyone knew it, Connor Meredith capped off the run. Three four-goal runs were how this game went midway through. Four by Brantford, four by Six Nations, then four by Brantford to make it 8-4 for the hometown Warriors.
Six Nations’ Tehas Powless scored next and it looked like the pattern was bound to repeat.
Finally, it was Brantford breaking the streak of four-goal runs. Wells scored again. This made it 9-6 Brantford.
Powless wasn’t impressed much for Six Nations as he made it a three-goal deficit with two minutes to play for his own hat trick. This hat trick was achieved in just one period– actually in just eight minutes!
Six Nations looked for an ending of period two alike the first period– and they were well on their way by scoring another. Anderson scored this time from Luke Montour and Staats.
And then another goal from Six Nations as Jake Smith used a hesitation move to perfection as he outwaited the Brantford keeper for a stunning goal.
But before Six Nations could storm back to tie it up again, it was Brantford. Just 18 seconds later, again it was Wells– this time with his fourth goal of the contest!
13 goals alone were scored in the second period. This looked like a football quarter or half (7-6 Brantford).
It was 11-9 Brantford entering the third.
With 14 to play, Six Nations took advantage of a questionable penalty call to get the score within one. Julian Morenu found the net from Sam Gowland on the powerplay.
Then Six Nations were then forced to kill a four minute powerplay after a shady act, but on the kill, they had just as many chances and more zonetime than Brantford did.
They used this momentum and with six and a half to play, they found the equalizer.
Well, with six to go Six Nations benefited from a non-call in the neutral zone to take the lead, 12-11!
And now, Six Nations looked like they had the upper hand on Brantford. However, they got chippy again and Six Nations took two penalties on the same play.
A long two-man advantage spelled the tying mark for Brantford. And they still had a minute and a half of powerplay time to work with and just over three to play looking for the go-ahead goal. They didn’t score but the last two minutes were frantic.
Brantford was then given a penalty much to the crowd’s dismay. But it was time for the Brantford goalie, Mitchell Dunham (above), to stand on his head for a bit. He kept things deadlocked at 12. If it seems weird to say a goalie stood on his head in a 12-12 game, it was amazing to see the saves he made in the last six minutes of play– despite allowing 12 goals previously.
The game went into overtime. The format is different than hockey. It’s like soccer in the sense that players play a period of overtime with teams scoring however many times they can. If there was no leader at the end of play, then they would enter sudden death.
It looked like the 12-12 game would stay that way and we’d get sudden death. But with a mere 1:21 remaining, Six Nations broke the tie. Jaxon Martin scored what looked like it could be the series-clinching goal.
Brantford got possession and called timeout with 24.5 seconds to play, needing a goal to force sudden death. They could not do it and Six Nations earns their spot in the division final from a well-fought series by both sides. It’s hard to believe that either of these teams could lose a series after such a dynamic, tight series against their rival. Watch out, Wilmot!
After the contest, both teams were gracious shaking hands and posing for pictures together.
What. A. Series.