(David Tuan Bui The Eastern Door)
The Kahnawake Mohawks won a hard-fought bronze medal last weekend, after defeating the three-time defending champion St. Albert Miners, 12-6 at the 2019 Presidents’ Cup national Senior B lacrosse championship.
It was a rematch of the final game of the round robin, as Kahnawake and St. Albert both qualified for the bronze following an 8-8 tie. The Mohawks scored two goals in the final 33 seconds of the game, including a buzzer-beating goal from Mark Steenhuis to get the draw with the Miners.
Richard Lachlan opened the scoring for the Miners 1:37 into the game, scoring his team-leading 21st goal of the tournament. Lachlan was with the Miners during their three-peat.
Kahnawake surged back with five straight goals to close out the first 5-1, including a shorthanded goal from Karahkwanoron Two Axe. Jacob Ruest earned three assists during that span.
The Miners got to within one goal after going on a 4-1 run late into the second period as Lachlan netted three assists to make it 6-5. In the final three minutes of the period, Patrick Saunders, Ruest, and Ryan Hotaling, each scored a goal for Kahnawake to keep the deficit at four heading into the third period, 9-5.
Darren Kinnear of the Miners struck first with a goal 4:44 into the period but it was all for naught as the Mohawks pulled away with three more goals to win the bronze by a score of 12-6.
“We just kept looking forward and didn’t dwell on the negatives,” said Ruest. “We were bringing the energy that we were carrying from the tie into this game and it showed on the scoreboard today.”
“We knew it was going to be a tough battle,” said Lachlan. “Unfortunately, we hit a bunch of posts in the first and they capitalized on their opportunities. Congrats to Kahnawake on that.”
“We really put 60 minutes together and we really haven’t done that all tournament,” said Jamie Batley, Mohawks head coach. “Offensively, we finally got some goals and that was something we’ve been lacking in the last three games.”
Kahnawake struggled with injuries and health issues, which hurt their chances of reaching the gold medal game, according to Batley. They lost their leading goal scorer Brine Rice to injury in their second game. Starting goaltender Angus Goodleaf was out for the tournament since he collapsed during an intermission between periods in their third game.
“We really wanted to be winning the gold but we’ve had a lot of adversity this tournament,” he said. “I really think we got hit by the injury bug and it hurt us, but we really showed some resilience.”
The Mohawk players were happy to medal in front of their hometown crowd.
“To win a bronze medal in your home rink in front of your home fans, it’s really special,” said Ruest. “We had a lot of support all week and we’re happy we’re just able to bring a medal to Kahnawake.”
The next Presidents’ Cup for 2020 will be held in St. Albert, Alberta.