Redmen and Chiefs Settle on a Draw
As Six Nations Chiefs head coach Rich Kilgour led his troops off the floor he uttered, "over two hours and we settled nothing". He was of course referring to the 10-10 OT final that took place at Iroquois Park Sports Centre last night.
These teams will meet four times in a span stretching from June 20 to July 12 due to a scheduling quirk. Last week, the Chiefs hosted the Redmen and handed them a 9-5 loss. Redmen co-coach Gil Nieuwendyk said before last night's game he felt the Redmen were there every step of the way despite that loss.
Tonight the teams appeared to be feeling each other out to start the game with no scoring until 16:47 of the first when Curtis Knight found the back of the net on a true buzzer beater, although referee Ian Garrison did not hesitate as he signaled the goal. The score after a very quick 25 minute first period was 1-0 for the home side.
The teams traded goals in the middle frame with Reilly O'Connor scoring with just over a minute left to preserve the one goal lead for the Redmen who headed to the final period up by a score of 6-5. Garrison and his officiating partner Kyle Kropman weren't overly busy assessing penalties on this night as the Redmen took two and Six Nations three, including a five minute illegal cross check to Dan Coates that resulted in a goal for the Redmen in overtime.
The Chiefs roared out of the gate to start the final frame and tied the game at 6-6 on a power play goal off the stick of Randy Staats with just 0:27 off the clock. The Redmen took the lead back at the mid-point of the third as Knight scored his second of the night. Two goals in a 30 second span with 3:30 to go in the third gave the Chiefs the 8-7 lead and Redmen fans were urging their team on to find the equalizer. Ryan Benesch scored his fourth on the night in that aforementioned thirty second span on a "knuckle ball" which seemed to briefly handcuff Zach Higgins. The fan support helped as Austin Shanks scored with just under a minute to go and regulation ended at 8-8.
Ryan Keenan found the back of the net on the power play 0:25 in to overtime and gave the Redmen a brief lead. The teams traded goals again and the Redmen looked in control with a 10-9 lead in the dying seconds. The defending Mann Cup champion Chiefs waited for an opportunity and with just 0:09 on the clock, Vaughn Harris scored to give each team a point on the night and set up a rematch for July 4, 2017 at the ILA.
Knight and Shanks were both (3,3) on the night with singles to O'Connor, Keenan, Ryan MacSpadyen and Dan Lintner.
The Redmen are in Brampton Thursday night and travel to Six Nations on American Independence Day. Fans are reminded, no home game on July 5 but back home on the 12th of July to host the Chiefs. The team also announced last night that they would honour the 30th anniversary of the 1987 Mann Cup winning team.
Former Redmen goaltenders Steve Dietrich (Chiefs GM) and Kurtis Wagar were seen chatting and catching up in the Six Nations penalty box area in the final period.