Happy Hump Day! It’s hard to believe the Presidents Cup in Oakville, Ontario is over halfway complete. Day 4 pushed the tournament past the midway point and the playoff picture became much clearer. An extra ref joined the party, as did some youngsters, and the JVI commentary team sat back and watched it unfold with a frosty gift from a viewer. Here’s your Day 4 Prezzy Bites:
Three’s a Crowd
In a “positive and proactive” measure, the tournament has now moved to a three-referee system on the floor (while keeping a fourth ‘standby’ official in the box). The plan all along was to have a four-ref crew for the semis and final starting on Friday, but that has now been expedited into day four. We often forget when talking about how gruelling this tournament is to the players that the same officials are out also presiding over multiple games a day without line changes. As the tournament heat was cranked up on Tuesday, it cooled off for the middle day of the tournament.
Despite this being a Senior B level tournament (and, yes, it’s filled with veterans like Six Nations’ Rodd Squire or Joe Hall from Snake Island) a few younger players took the spotlight on Wednesday. Let’s start with 16-year-old Winter Rivera of the Rivermen who helped his team to their second win of the season with a pair of goals and an assist against the Kahnawake Mohawks. The Ontario representatives also boast 17-year-old Hodo Martin. Fresh off a six-goal, six-assist performance in six games at the Founders Cup, fellow 17-year-old Caden Gulka has now dressed for four of Edmonton’s five games, and has fit right in. For every Squire, Hall and David Brock there’s also room for youngsters like Rivera, Martin and Gulka at the Presidents Cup.
Sub Away, Be Fresh
Most of the seven lineups have been cycling players in and out to keep them fresh during the grind that is the Presidents Cup. Ladner took it to a new level in the morning matchup against Tuscarora – the Pioneers’ first of two. Most of their NLL veterans, all of Ryan Benesch, Matt Beers, Mike Mallory, Tyler Pace and Sam Clare, sat out game one, and it nearly cost the defending champions. Tuscarora tied the opening game 4-4 in the third before an Austin Shanks shot hit off Chase Martin and rolled into his net for the 5-4 victory, keeping their unbeaten streak alive. (Ladner finished the day with a 10-7 loss to Oakville.)
Colour Me Shocked
On Tuesday most teams debuted a secondary jersey causing some confusion with Oakville’s Andrew Kew who wears 42 in white, and 24 when in navy blue. Wednesday it was Kahnawake’s turn as they’ve normally worn a very similar kit to the Toronto Rock’s Hammer City connect jersey. For their afternoon tilt against Six Nations, however, they ran onto the floor in bright yellow jerseys. No excuses for the commentators with black numbers on yellow jerseys… (more on them in a minute). It does now mean that we’ve seen every jersey and colour scheme in the tournament. Personally, Tuscarora’s purple on whites win the style award. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments or through social media @LacrosseWeTrust.
Late Game Boost
Pat Gregoire is known for the creative and entertaining way he describes plays. As a player ‘put someone in a blender’ it led to talk of Booster Juice. Near the end of the second period between Six Nations and Kahnawake a food courier delivered a bag direct to the JVI set with a pair of Booster Juice inside. I suggested to Pat and Jake Elliott they should mention the crew likes Lamborghinis but that didn’t happen, and none showed up (I do call two games on Thursday though **wink emoji**).
It’s been a pleasure to call games alongside one of the best in the business, Brian Shanahan and to have Pat, Jake and their exceptional calling and expertise on the JVI network again.
Pack your boxes. Day 5 is moving day!