The Jr. Knighthawks completed a sweep Sunday afternoon of all three Jr. NLL Tournament Championship Games, winning the Champion’s Cup at the Bantam, Midget and Pee Wee levels, to cap off the third-annual event.
The day started in exciting fashion for the Jr. Knighthawks. After a back and forth game of runs, the Jr. Knighthawks Bantams defeated the Jr. Mammoth, 11-10 in overtime to repeat as champs. The Jr. Knighthawks were led by a four-point performance from Quincy Abram, who took home the Tucker Williams Award as Game MVP.
Goaltending played a monumental role in the win, with Knighthawks goaltender Owen Dew blocking shot after shot to finish with 11 saves. Dew, who sported the No. 48 like his Knighthawks idol Matt Vinc, has been a key player for the Jr. Knighthawks throughout the entire tournament.
“Goaltending was huge this game,” Jr. Knighthawks coach Ron Elijah said. “Dew has played really well the entire tournament and today he was really important. It feels good to get that win.”
Just 38 seconds into the game, Isaiah Skidders netted the first goal of the game. The Jr. Mammoth answered back with two of their own to take a 2-1 lead before Abram went to work, tying the game at two goals apiece. The teams traded a pair of goals before Riley Roe scored a breakaway goal, which sparked a three-goal run to give the Jr. Knighthawks a 6-3 lead.
“It was great to see the kids come together over the course of the weekend and cap it off with a win in the championship,” Knighthawks transition man and Bantam assistant coach Zac Reid said. “They worked extremely hard all weekend long and I’m very proud of the way they competed.”
After taking a lead as big as 7-4, the Jr. Mammoth answered with a three-goal run of their own to tie the game at seven. Again, the Jr. Knighthawks took another three-goal lead, but the Jr. Mammoth answered right back with three goals to tie the game at 10.
After nearly six minutes of overtime, Skidders fought his way to the net and gave his team the win.
“There were a couple new players here and a lot of veterans, but it was a lot of fun (for the boys),” Elijah said. “They grew as a team and got better every game. It was some exciting lacrosse.”
It was a similar outcome in the Midget division, as the Jr. Knighthawks defeated the Jr. Rock in overtime by a score of 9-8. Gavin Skye, who put up two goals, including the game-winner, left the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre with the Tucker Williams MVP Award for his division.
The Jr. Rock opened the scoring in the championship game only to be shut down by the Jr. Knighthawks, who answered back with goals from Owen Hill, Chayton King, and Owen Friesen. After Toronto notched a power-play goal, Chase Scanlon netted his first of the match up. The Rock would then put back two more before the end of the half, tying the game at four apiece.
The Jr. Knighthawks opened up scoring for the second half to regain the lead. The Jr. Rock answered back with two goals to take a 6-5 advantage. The lead was short lived, however, as King netted his second of the game followed by Austin Skye’s first, making it 7-6, Jr. Knighthawks. The Rock managed to tie the game and pull back in front, but Gavin Skye answered back before the end of regulation to send the game into overtime. With 7:29 left in sudden-death, Skye scored the winning goal for the Jr. Knighthawks.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Midget coach and Knighthawks forward Cody Jamieson said. “I think we just worked hard and all bought into it. It’s a great group of kids and they wanted to make the Knighthawks proud.”
In the final game of the Jr. NLL Tournament, the Jr. Knighthawks dominated the Pee Wee Finals, taking an early 3-0 lead and never looking back en route to a 12-3 victory. The Champion’s Cup was the first for the Jr. Knighthawks Pee Wee team, who also advanced to last year’s finals.
“Some of these kids have been working for this for three years. To see them finally make it this far and win it was great to watch,” Knighthawks assistant coach and Pee Wee coach Pat O’Toole said after the victory. “These guys all come out and watch the Knighthawks and they come to all of our camps, so they know what it’s all about. To start at a young age and make it this far is huge.”
The team received goals from multiple players, including Mark Watters (3), Anahalihs Doxtator (3), Finley Thomson, Ty Carty, Bowie Horsman, Alex Marinier, Brendan Anderson and Carter Accursi. Thomson took home the Game MVP Award, as he finished the contest with four points (1+3).
“These are great kids and were a great group,” said Knighthawks forward and coach Craig Point. “It’s awesome how the kids came together and played. The kids got better every day. I’m glad I could be a part of it.”
Story by Andrea Chevalier for Knighthawks.com.