Special to The Lake Report
The U22 Niagara Thunderhawks went undefeated in round-robin play at a weekend lacrosse tournament in Brampton and capped it off with a resounding win in the championship game.
Niagara faced the Cambridge Highlanders for the gold medal and left the floor with a convincing 11-1 victory in the John “Gus” McCauley Memorial Tournament.
Tensions were high and so were the tempers, however, the Thunderhawks were able to ignore the taunting, name-calling and cheap shots to open the scoring in Sunday’s final.
The Highlanders, whom Niagara edged 3-1 in their round-robin game, matched the first marker with their own goal, but that would be their only one for the rest of the game.
The Thunderhawks’ stellar defence was able to smother their opponents’ fleeting attempts at generating scoring chances, while their own offence got down to business and picked Cambridge’s goalie apart, resulting in the lopsided score.
Jack Parker (3), Keaton Boldt (2), Hunter Ostromecki (2), Jordan Wiens, Aedan O’Gorman, Liam Dietsch and the oldest rookie on the team, Sam VanderZalm, scored for the Thunderhawks.
In a warm-up to the tourney, they hosted the Simcoe Timberwolves at the Meridian Credit Union Arena in Virgil last Thursday.
Tanyan Davis started the game between the wickets, blanking the Timberwolves, before Jack Muraca stayed the course, leading to a 12-0 win for the home side.
The last goal of the game by Boldt was a reflection of how the game was going for the Timberwolves. While being checked, Boldt’s shot was deflected well over the net, bounced off the glass, then off the goalie’s back and into the net.
The next day the Thunderhawks headed up the QEW to Brampton, where they started their tourney competition with a known foe, the Hamilton Bengals.
The first period began with the Thunderhawks’ Aedan O’Gorman scoring his first of two tallies just four minutes into the game. Hunter Ostromecki followed two minutes later to give the Thunderhawks a two-goal lead before the Bengals buried one of their own.
In the end, the Thunderhawks were able to collect seven goals. Aedan O’Gorman (2), Hunter Ostromecki, Jordan Wiens (2), Jack Parker and Joe Fragnito were the scorers. The Thunderhawks net was protected by Tanyan Davis, who limited the Bengals to only two goals for the 7-2 win.
In their second game, Niagara faced Cambridge, a team larger in stature and with more talent than the Thunderhawks had come up against previously.
The Highlanders’ high-intensity defence put a lot of pressure on the Thunderhawks’ offence before Nolan Price was able to twist the twine for a 1-0 lead.
The aggression throughout the game was high from both teams, landing players in the box for multiple infractions. Goalie Jack Muraca was able to hold the Highlanders to only one goal after a barrage of heavy outside shots.
Aedan O’Gorman buried the game-winning goal after a beautiful feed from Nolan Price at the start of the second period and Joe Fragnito finished the scoring in the third to give the Thunderhawks a 3-1 win.
In the final round-robin game, the Thunderhawks faced the host Brampton Excelsiors. Although less aggressive than the Highlanders, they provided excellent competition for the second game of the day.
The Thunderhawks dominated the defensive end to only allow the Excelsiors to score two, while tallying nine of their own.
Nolan Price (2), Joe Fragnito (2), Keaton Boldt, Jack Parker, Trent Hunter, Jordan Wiens and Hunter Ostromecki scored for the Thunderhawks.
Crushing defence from players such as Liam Dietsch, Noah Ostromecki, Christian Blaylock and the rest of the Thunderhawks’ defence prevented many scoring opportunities. And any opportunities the Excelsiors did get were turned back by goalie Tanyan Davis.
UPCOMING: The Thunderhawks travel to Guelph next Tuesday for an exhibition game before returning home June 28 to host the Bengals. The Thunderhawks look forward to seeing a packed house for that homecoming game.
Andy Boldt is head coach of the U22 Thunderhawks.