President’s Cup: Ladner Pioneers win coveted Sr. B trophy

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After a two-year hiatus, the President’s Cup tournament returned to Edmonton where seven teams from across Canada competed for the crown of top Senior B team in the nation. The Edmonton Miners – winners of the last three President’s Cup’s – played host at the 1,600 seat Bill Hunter Arena.

The teams that qualified for the tournament were: Edmonton Miners (RMLL), Akwesasne Bucks (CanAm), Six Nations Rivermen (OLA), Capital Region Axemen (QSLL), Calgary Mountaineers (RMLL), Ladner Pioneers (WCSLA), Snake Island Muskies (TNSLL) and the Saskatoon Brewers (PGLL). The Brewers withdrew from the tournament and did not participate.

The tournament schedule consisted of a round robin stage where each team played six games over five days followed by two days of playoffs. To win the championship, a team would have to survive eight games in seven days.

Simply put, the President’s Cup is a tough trophy to win.

On paper, the odds-on favourites heading into the tournament were the Ladner Pioneers with their NLL stocked lineup, and the defending champion Miners. Jake Elliott and Cody Janzen provided the play-by-play and the teams supplied a daily dose of highlight reel plays. From Eric Penney’s desperation glove save to Seth Oakes behind-the-back goal from the parking lot to fisticuffs between Cody Hawkins and Gavin Skye, the tournament delivered top-tier action.

The semi-finals pitted the #1 seed Miners (5-1) vs the #4 seed Bucks (3-3) and the #2 seed Pioneers (4-1-1) vs the #3 seed Rivermen (4-2). The Pioneers topped the Rivermen 14-8 to advance to the finals. The real fireworks happened in the next game, where the heavily favoured Miners were tied 9-9 late in the third with the Akwesasne Bucks. With 39.5 seconds left, Skye Sunday took a feed from Russ Oakes and buried the game winner past Aaron Bold putting the Bucks in the finals.

Championship Saturday started off with the bronze medal game between the Rivermen and Miners. Justin Martin led the way with five goals as the Rivermen downed the Miners 12-8 to capture third place.

The final game of the tournament pitted the Ladner Pioneers against the Akwesasne Bucks. The teams exchanged goals in the first period and with the score knotted at 2-2, Ladner pulled their goalie to run one last play. Unfortunately for Ladner, they turned the ball over and Kason Tarbell buried a 160-footer dead center in the net to give the Bucks a 3-2 lead.

The second period was just as tight as the first with neither team able to pull away. A Logan Schuss goal put Ladner up 5-4, but Seth Oakes answered to tie the game back up at 5-5 and set up a dramatic third period.

Bucks forward Russ Oakes struck first in the third making the score 6-5. Tyler Pace replied 39 seconds later to tie it back up. With 7:54 left in the game, Tyler Pace struck again putting Ladner up 7-6. An empty net goal from Owen Barker sealed the victory and Ladner captured their third ever Presidents Cup.

Following the game, the All-Tournament First Team was announced and the following players were selected: Ryan Hartley (Muskies), Sam Clare (Pioneers), Ryan Dilkes (Miners), Keegan Bal (Miners), Travis Longboat (Rivermen), Tyler Pace (Pioneers).

The President’s Cup is the top prize handed out to the best Senior B team in Canada. Thirty-two teams from seven different leagues located throughout Canada competed for the right to play in this year’s President’s Cup.

  1. West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association (WCSLA)
  2. Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (RMLL)
  3. Prairie Gold Lacrosse League (PGLL)
  4. Ontario Senior B Lacrosse League (OLA)
  5. Can Am Senior B Lacrosse League (CanAm)
  6. Quebec Senior Lacrosse League (QSLL)
  7. Three Nations Senior Lacrosse League (TNSLL)