Prezzy Bites: Three teams eliminated on Day 5

You know that part of moving day when all your furniture is gone and you find all the junk, dust and dirt you dropped behind the couch over the years? That was the same type of mess in the standings and playoff scenarios on Day 5 of the Presidents Cup in Oakville. Throughout the day there were possibilities for a three-way tie for first, another three-way logjam for third through fifth and a possible four-way tie for those seeds. The math was complicated, but in the end it became apparent Oakville would play Edmonton and Ladner would face Snake Island (a rematch of the 2 p.m. matchup on Thursday) regardless of the other games. With that in mind, today’s Prezzy Bites are a bit different. A few notes on the three teams whose tournaments ended on Day 5.

Day 5 action at the 2023 Presidents Cup between Tuscarora Tomahawks and Six Nations Rivermen. (Photo: @chasetheprezzy)

Tuscarora Tomahawks (1-5)

Tuscarora was much better in this tournament than their record indicates. Take nothing away from Chase Martin, but would having Dylan Sprentz have made a difference? Regardless, Roger Chrysler’s team were in every game and had one of the biggest travelling fan bases in the tournament. Speaking of Chrysler, the support from the entire team and their supporters for Randy Chrysler Jr who got the final start, win and BarDown bucket hat was fun to watch. The Tomahawks third string netminder got the game ball, and plenty of photo ops with the Chrysler family after the game.

Kahnawake Mohawks (2-4)

I neglected to find out his name, but the first shoutout for Kahnawake goes to the team rep who stood, not on the bench, but above it every game. Yes, on the visitors side at the TRAC there is a crossbrace next to one of the roof’s support beams. He balanced on the crossmember for the entirety of the Mohawks’ six games. Impressive stuff!

Nearly as impressive as their offense. The numbers in the tournament were among the league leaders. In fact, in their final two games of the tournament on Thursday, Kahnawake’s Rob Hellyer shot through the leaderboard to finish atop the tournament in points (35), second in assists (24) and third in goals (11).  It’s somewhat disappointing he won’t be around for the weekend as his play ramped up as the tournament progressed.

Six Nations (2-4)

The Rivermen opened the tournament with a 5-4 win over the Oakville Rock on opening night. From there on, the offense stalled. Unlike some of the other teams in the tournament, the Rivermen boasted a younger lineup with fewer proven NLL pros. In the end, they were outmatched although Dustin Hill kept them in games where he was at his best. When he wasn’t, Troy Holowchuck proved to be a solid backup. It was hard to score against the Rivermen, but their offense couldn’t keep up.

Given the youth and the Ontario representatives style of hard defence, it’s an encouraging sign they were the least penalized team through the round robin. Their games never felt like they were at a tipping point, allowing them to capitalize on power play opportunities.

It really speaks to the parity of this year’s Presidents Cup that the only team to beat the hosts is going home, and two others had a chance of doing the same at the hands of a second or third tie-breaker. It’s also been encouraging and inspiring to watch these three teams demonstrate the history and traditions of the game. Yes, this includes woodies at the faceoff dot, in transition and on defence. It’s what makes this tournament wonderful and, much like I hope the fan drums never silence, the woodies remain in this tournament for many years to come.

I’ll have the call of the first semi-final at 3 p.m. (Eastern) between the defending champions, the Ladner Pioneers and Snake Island Muskies along with Brian Shanahan. Jake Elliott and Pat Gregoire will call the second semi featuring the Oakville Rock and Edmonton Miners at 7 p.m. Hope you can join us!