Toronto, ON – The National Lacrosse League’s first annual Junior NLL tournament crowned Junior NLL Champion’s Cup winners at the Peewee and Bantam levels as a three-day tournament culminated with a pair of championship games on Sunday at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC) in Oakville, ON.
In the Peewee final, the Junior Rock faced the Junior Mammoth and the first half proved to be an incredibly tight one, tied at two until the final minute of play when the Junior Mammoth took a 3-2 lead. The Colorado squad never looked back and went on to score five straight in total en route to a 7-3 win.
Chase Strychaluk (Oakville, ON), Isaac Heslinga (Orangeville, ON) and Luke Dawick (Oakville, ON) all tallied singles in the Junior Rock loss.
The Bantam final once again pitted the Junior Rock against the Junior Mammoth. Toronto’s youngsters were round robin winners over the Colorado club, but the Junior Mammoth were looking to make it a clean sweep and match their Peewee brethren’s efforts of just moments earlier.
Colorado looked as though they had worked their way into a comfortable spot with a 5-3 lead at halftime. However, the Toronto had other ideas, scoring four straight goals to take a 7-5 lead. After all was said and done, the Junior Rock outscored the Junior Mammoth 7-2 in the second half and were Bantam Junior NLL Champion’s Cup winners with a 10-7 victory.
Josh Dawick (Oakville, ON) led the goal scoring parade with a hat trick while Dyson Williams (Whitby, ON) and Phillip Mazzuca (Oakville, ON) each had a pair. Austin Hasen (Brampton, ON), Mackenzie Burke (Brampton, ON) and Seth Van Schepen (Brampton, ON) each scored once.
“I am extremely proud of both the Peewee and Bantam Junior Rock teams,” said Rock Owner and President Jamie Dawick. “The boys played like champions and wore the Rock jersey with pride.”
Over the course of the three-day tournament that began on Friday, Dawick made the transition from the owner’s suite to the bench as he guided the Junior Rock Bantams to their championship.
“I think it was just as exciting for me,” remarked the Rock boss. “All the players worked extremely hard and I have to tip my hat to my assistant coaches Mike Lum-Walker and Pat Campbell for a great job.”
All teams in the tournament were coached by NLL players, as teams from Minnesota, Buffalo, Rochester and Vancouver also represented at the event. The likes of Buffalo’s John Tavares, Rochester’s Dan Dawson and Vancouver’s Lewis Ratcliff were just a few of the NLL superstars on the bench with their respective Junior NLL lacrosse clubs.
Also on the bench this weekend coaching the Peewee Junior Rock were Rock players Josh Sanderson, Patrick Merrill and Bill Greer.
Next up on the NLL calendar is the NLL Combine on September 14th and 15th followed by the NLL Draft on September 16th. Both events will take place at the TRAC.
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