Rivermen on verge of OSL title

by Sam Laskaris

The Six Nations Rivermen need just one more victory to win their league championship. The Rivermen moved a step closer to the Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) crown on Sunday thanks to a 9-7 triumph against the host Oakville Rock. With the win in that contest, held at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville, Six Nations now finds itself with a 2-0 lead in its best-of-five championship final series.

The Rivermen can wrap up the series and earn a berth into the national Presidents Cup tournament with a victory in Game 3 on Friday. That match will be staged at the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Centre. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Rivermen head coach Darcy Powless said his charges are delighted they have an opportunity to win the league championship on their home floor.

“Our guys are pretty excited and they’re pretty pumped up,” he said. Powless said he was surprised to see the Rock put up a strong battle on Sunday. “They played a lot harder than I thought they would,” he said. “They were pretty gassed on Saturday.”

Six Nations had registered a 12-8 victory in the series opener at home one night earlier. As for Sunday’s contest, it was rather close right up until the end. The two squads were deadlocked at 7-7 with less than two minutes remaining. Travis Longboat then scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with just 72 seconds remaining in the game. Daylen Hill added an insurance marker, into an empty net, to seal the win for the Rivermen. Longboat’s game-winner was his fourth goal of the night. He scored three of his goals in the final period.

“He just put the team on his shoulder and he said ‘Let’s go’,” Powless said of his offensive star, who led the club in scoring this season with 52 points, including 31 goals, in 12 regular season outings.

Longboat, who also had an assist on Sunday, now has a whopping 32 points in five playoff matches. Rivermen veteran defender Mike McLaughlin also had praise for one of the club’s offensive stars.

“Travis Longboat was dangerous on O,” he said. McLaughlin also complimented the team’s last line of defence on Sunday. “Dusty Hill was amazing in net,” he said. McLaughlin was also pleased to see members of his squad giving it their best throughout the game. “It was a battle and we kept the effort level high all game long,” he said.

Marshall Powless contributed a pair of goals for the Rivermen. Other Six Nations scorers were Scott Del Zotto and Ty Conn, who is not usually relied on to fill the back of the opposition’s net. Conn’s goal, his first of the post-season, was scored in transition. He had scored just twice in the regular season.

The OSL champion will advance to the Presidents Cup, the national Senior B tournament, which will be held in Edmonton, starting on Aug. 28