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Saturday, April 20, 2024
Sports: On a roll, undefeated Thunderhawks beat Guelph 6-3
The U22 Niagara Thunderhawks remain undefeated.
The U22 Niagara Thunderhawks entered the floor for their pre-game warm up excited to play, while a much physically larger team from Guelph sauntered out exuding a quiet exuberance.  

The undefeated Thunderhawks were about to face their toughest competition in Ontario Lacrosse League and tournament play so far this season.

The June 14 game started with a face-off win and possession of the ball for Niagara. Guelph instantly applied relentless pressure to the Thunderhawks’ ball carrier, causing them to burn through their first 30-second clock and not providing a decent scoring opportunity. 

That pressure was a strategy used by the Guelph Regals for the rest of the game. It  didn’t deter the visitors from Niagara, though, who went home with a 6-3 victory.

The Regals were able to open the scoring two minutes in when a long shot beat Jack Muraca through the five hole. 

Jack Parker answered by scoring on a nice bounce shot two minutes later to tie the score 1-1.  

The Regals’ high-intensity pressure eventually earned them a penalty, allowing the Thunderhawks to capitalize on their man up situation with a goal by Ethan Williams with five minutes left in the first period.

Although the score was in the Thunderhawks favour, the Regals were controlling the play, getting to most of the loose balls first and forcing poor scoring opportunities for the Thunderhawks.  

They dominated on the floor, but Niagara was ahead 2-1 on the scoreboard.

The second period started with the same intensity as the first. The Regals’ intense play away from the ball caused a Thunderhawk to take an unnecessary penalty 200 feet from the play, nullifying a breakaway by a Thunderhawks teammate.  

The Regals capitalized on their power play to tie the game at 2.

Niagara responded with positive energy and determination to score three more goals in the second. 

Aedan O’Gorman’s bounce shot through the opponents legs, Parker’s rocket off the post while shooting around Jordan Wiens who was tussling in front of the net to screen the goalie and Ethan Williams’ simple shot on the move beat the Guelph goalie stick side with 24 seconds left in the second.

Both teams matched goals in the third, scoring once each to make the final 6-3.

The Regals got the first third-period marker, displaying a pattern of a lack of intensity at the start of each period. Trent Hunter was able to answer the Regals on a great give-and-go play with Joe Fragnito to wrap up the scoring for both teams.

The Thunderhawks have a bye this week and will face the Hamilton Bengals at home on June 28 at 8 p.m. 

Then, on July 9 for NOTL Lacrosse Alumni Day, they have a double-header versus the Milton Mavericks, with 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. start times.  

There will be a barbecue between games.

All former NOTL lacrosse players are encouraged to come watch the 2022 Thunderhawks take on a team with a similar undefeated record, meet the players, catch up with former teammates and spread the history of NOTL lacrosse.

Andy Boldt is head coach of the U22 Niagara Thunderhawks. 

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