Rivermen advance to OSL Finals with a sweep of Clearview

by Sam Laskaris

The Six Nations Rivermen will battle for a league championship. The Rivermen don’t know quite yet who they will square off against in the Ontario Series Lacrosse championship series. The Six Nations squad qualified for the league’s final series on Friday thanks to a 16-7 victory over the Clearview Crushers. With the win, in the match held at the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Centre, the Rivermen swept their best-of-five OSL semi-final series against the Crushers 3-0.

The Six Nations squad has to wait a bit to find out which opponent it will face in the championship series, which will also be a best-of-five affair. The Oakville Rock took a 2-1 lead in its best-of-five semi-final series on Friday by eking out a 7-6 victory against the host Owen Sound North Stars. The Rock will host Game 4 in the series on Saturday at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville. If necessary, the fifth and deciding contest in the series would be held Sunday in Owen Sound. Regardless of who the Rivermen will square off against in the final, that series will commence next Friday. Six Nations will host Game 1. 

All season long there has been talk about the depth of the Rivermen. And that was on full display on Friday. That’s because Wayne Hill, a veteran team defender, was asked to move up and play in the offensive zone. The 30-year-old responded by scoring a game high five goals.

“My stick was on and my shots were going in,” Hill said, adding he could have had a few more goals as he also hit four goalposts with his shots. Hill didn’t mind being asked to play a position he has not been familiar with this season. “Being a veteran player and being in the playoffs, it’s your job if you’re called upon to step up and do your role,” he said.

Hill also had another reason to perform well. He wanted to put on a bit of a show for members of a Six Nations’ under-9 squad. Hill serves as the head coach of that club, which includes his six-year-old son named Ratoratseriio. The team was honoured at Friday’s contest as it will participate at its provincial tournament starting on Sunday in Whitby.

“That was my motivation a little bit today,” Hill said, adding he was keen to play well in front of the youth team he coaches.

Despite getting the 'W', Rivermen head coach Darcy Powless wasn’t entirely thrilled with how Friday’s outing transpired. Six Nations led 6-2 after the opening 20 minutes, but the Rivermen had a somewhat sluggish second period and only found themselves ahead 10-7 going into the final period. If the Crushers had managed to win Friday’s game, they would have hosted Game 4 on Saturday night at the Stayner Arena. Powless wasn’t happy the score was still relatively close heading into the final period. So, the Rivermen boss provided his charges with a bit of motivation in the second intermission.

“I told them (team president) Jeff (Powless) had cancelled the bus already (for Game 4) and that they would have to drive to the game,” he said.

The Rivermen responded by scoring seven unanswered goals in the third to put the game out of reach while keeping the Crushers off the scoreboard. Hill believes the Six Nations club can continue to have success in the league final, no matter who it faces.

“We’re feeling confident,” he said. “We’re all clicking pretty well. And we’ve got a pretty deep team.”

Other Six Nations goal scorers on Friday were Scott Del Zotto who had a hat trick and Travis Longboat and Vern Hill who netted a pair each. Marshall Powless, Daylen Hill, Justin Martin and Jordan Goddard also scored for the Rivermen.