Hunter goalie Tiger Stacey and the Six Nations Rebels are in round two of the OJBLL playoffs that continue next weekend. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)
After the heartbreaking end to the Kahnawake Junior B Hunters season left the local team out of the playoffs, teams in the Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League (OJBLL) predictably came calling for some of the community’s talent.
Goalie Tiger Stacey was snatched by the Six Nations Rebels for their playoff run, and played between the pipes the Rebels’ sweep of St. Catharines Spartans in three straight wins. Six Nations will now play the Orangeville Northmen in round two of the playoffs.
“It’s fast and non-stop,” said Stacey of playing in the Rebels net.
Stacey saved 29 of 37 shots in the first game, and 33 of 40 in the second game. In the deciding game Friday night, Stacey saved 30 of 40 shots as the Rebels completed the sweep winning 12-10.
“You don’t even notice time running out (because of) how fast it is, (and) the play never stopping,” Stacey added. “It’s nothing compared to town that’s for sure.
The Rebels will look to close out the series tonight in St. Catharines, as Six Nations looks to retake the title the team conceded to Akwesasne last season after four straight OJBLL crowns.
“There is (added pressure) especially because some people are saying that we’re looking like the Rebels they knew best from 2011-2013,” said Stacey.
On the other side of the bracket wait the very same Akwesasne Indians, who scooped up Hunters Poe Albany and Sonni Deer for a playoff push, as the team looks to repeat as champs.
“It’s a lot different from playing in town,” said Deer. “There’s a whole different atmosphere and a brand new team, but, at the same time, it feels like I never left home.”
Deer has played against his new teammates, and knew how good they were before joining the team.
“I played against these guys since I was five years old, and know what they’re capable of,” he said.
Albany proved his worth in the first game of the playoffs when he scored the overtime winner against the Markham Ironheads to win 8-7. Albany was assisted by Brock Daze and Russ Oakes, and spoke about playing with the high-octane offensive line.
“It’s pretty good,” said Albany, who had a hat trick and one assist in the game. “It’s deadly.”
The Indians won game two 7-3, and closed out the series Friday with a 6-2 win in Markham with Albany scoring the first goal.
Deer feels Akwesasne has a solid chance at a repeating at OJBLL and Founders’ Cup champions, and is reveling in the chance to play for his lifelong rivals.
“Nobody can play with us when we’re at the top of our game,” said Deer. “It still feels unreal that I’m playing with the guys I’ve played against my whole life. Two games in and I think the jitters still haven’t left me. It’s an honour to be called up by such a classy organization and the defending Founders’ Cup champions as that.”
Albany, as well, is pumped to add another chapter in his Junior lacrosse book.
“For me, it’s just more excitement,” said Albany. “It’s another opportunity to a couple of nice things on the floor and help the guys in Akwesasne defend their title.”