Orangeville Northmen: Minto Cup Champions

When the Coquitlam Adanacs fell to the Whitby Warriors by a nine goal margin on the final night of Minto Cup round-robin play, they were able to rebound the following night and eliminate the defending champions and host team from the tournament, winning by four goals. In the first game of the gold medal final, the Orangeville Northmen gave it to the Adanacs 19-6 with two of the BC representative’s goals coming in the last two minutes of play with a number of players from both sides either ejected or in the penalty box. Facing elimination, would the Adanacs be able to rebound from a big loss in the second day of back-to-back games for a second time in five days? Would the rough play from game one spill over into game two? Could the Orangeville Northmen etch their name on the Minto Cup? Those were the questions heading into game two of the Minto Cup gold medal finals on Saturday night.

Neither team needed motivation to get up for this one after the melee that ended game one. Coquitlam believed they could’ve won game one if they stuck to their game plan and weren’t drawn into the rough play of Orangeville which led to some ill advised penalties. Trying to prove this point, the Adanacs jumped out with the opening goal thanks to Reid Reinholdt. The score at that point could easily have been 3-0 if not for two early, spectacular saves from Dillon Ward.

The first period continued back and forth until the fifteen minute mark when Vincent Ricci was bumped on the crease and lowered his shoulder in Ward. Orangeville took exception and a scrum ensued handing offsetting minors and ten minute misconducts to Ricci and Blair Goss, two minutes to Reinholdt, and four minutes for AJ Mason. With the extra room on the floor, Rob Hellyer would tie the score, but just thirty-six minutes later Wesley Berg would regain the lead for Coquitlam, a 2-1 lead they would take to the rooms.

With Hayden Smith in the box for a late slash in the first, Coquitlam started the second on the powerplay. Although they couldn’t capitalize officially, Ben McIntosh would score shortly after the penalty expired to extend the Adanacs lead. As they’ve done all year long, when given opportunities to score, Orangeville have taken advantage. They’ve also been able to put together scoring runs at will. Saturday night was no exception as three minor penalties in five minutes to Coquitlam led to a five goal run to run out the third, including two converted powerplays.

The second powerplay marker was scored by Jeremy Noble who entered the game three points behind Joe Nieuwendyk and John Grant Jr for fortieth place in all time Junior A points (regular season, playoffs and Minto Cup combined). The goal followed three earlier assists pushing Noble passed these two greats with 623 points, a total he will end his career with. More importantly, Jeremy’s Northmen led 6-3 after two periods, and took all the momentum into the third.

Matt Sawyer has been exceptional throughout his run as coach of the Orangeville Northmen at keeping his boys focused and driving them to a goal. It’s resulted in two previous championships in five years, and whatever he said in the second intermission worked again as the Hornheads netted two goals in the opening three minutes of the final frame. Despite almost seventeen minutes on the clock, facing a five goal deficit, Coquitlam head coach Neil Dinsdale started pulling Davide DiRuscio for the extra attacker.

Hindsight is always 20/20 though, and the peculiar play worked as Berg scored his second of the night. DiRuscio and Riley Camazzola would split sprints to the bench as DiRuscio tired midway through the period, but they would only get caught once as Bill Hostrawser picked off a pass and ran the floor to win the footrace with Camazzola and put the icing on the cake. Officially the goal came on the powerplay, but with the goalieout Coquitlam was playing five-on-five.

As the clock continued to count down, it was obvious to both sides the Adanacs simplydid not have enough and the Orangeville Northmen were crowned the 2012 Minto Cupchampions. The win is the Northmen’s third trophy in five years, but the team will seethirteen players born in 1991 graduate from the team. Coquitlam’s Reid Rienholdt wasnamed player of the game from the Adanacs, with Rob Hellyer winning the honour from Orangeville.

The tournament MVP was named as Dillon Ward.

The Adanacs have nothing to be ashamed of as they played an exceptional tournament. Both Davide RiRuscio and Riley Camazzola (when called upon) were superb despite the numbers put up by Orangeville. For Ontario fans (not to mention the plethora of NLL coaches and scouts who live there), they were treated to a show by Wesley Berg, Ben McIntosh and Reid Rienholdt on offense, and stellar defence from Jeff Cornwall, including the play of the tournament diving across the goal line behind his netminder to save a sure goal.

The Orangeville Northmen cap an incredible season which saw them lose just seven games between the regular season (five), playoffs (two, over three series) and the Minto Cup (none). On behalf of everyone at InLacrosseWeTrust, we offer congratulations to the 2012 Minto Cup Champions, the Orangeville Northmen.