Presidents Cup Day 4, Wednesday August 30
by Stephen Stamp
Day 4 at the 2023 Presidents Cup at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre could not have looked much different than Day 3. Whereas Tuesday was full of blowouts, every game on Wednesday was a battle decided by three or fewer goals, even the day-opening contest between the winless Tuscarora Tomahawks and the then-unbeaten Ladner Pioneers.
Keep scrolling for today's 3 Stars, Unsung Hero, Quote of the Day, Thinking Outside the Box and Quick Sticks.
3 Stars, Day 4
1 Jimmy Chadwick, Tuscarora Tomahawks, 1 goal, 3 assists
Tuscarora played an outstanding game against undefeated Ladner, almost making the Pioneers pay for resting five key players ahead of their Wednesday night game against Oakville. Chase Martin was fantastic in net for Tusky, stopping 36 of 41 shots for an .878 save percentage. Chadwick, who appears in the Quote of the Day segment below, gave his vote for Tomahawks player of the game to Martin. Chadwick is getting the nod in the 3 Stars, though, because he is a heart and soul player who is happy to go wherever his coaches want him and who stepped up in a big way on offence against the then-first-place Pioneers in the absence of injured fellow lefty Hunter Lemieux.
2 Ryan Lanchbury, Oakville Rock, 1 goal, 4 assists
Lanchbury led Ontario Series Lacrosse in scoring this summer, his 87 points being 22 more than the next player in the league (teammate Josh Dawick). He leads the Presidents Cup in scoring with 31 points in five games, 29 of them in Oakville's last four. He is a silent assassin, calmly dissecting opposing defences and astutely sensing when to set up a teammate like tournament goal-scoring leader Andrew Kew and when to take his own shot. He is simply elite, and he probably has the inside track on MVP of the Prezzy so far.
3 Zach Deaken, Snake Island Muskies
It is not often that a player hits the 3 Stars without scoring so much as a point in a game. But defence has played a huge role in this Presidents Cup and it was critical to Snake Island's bounceback 7-5 win over Edmonton today. You could go with goalie Nick Damude again, but Deaken had yet another quietly excellent game for the Muskies. The 8th overall pick in the 2022 NLL draft recently signed with the New York Riptide and they can hardly wait for the athletic, intelligent and poised Deaken to make the transition from Snake Island to Long Island.
Chris Weier, Oakville Rock
It is difficult to narrow down an unsung hero selection for the Rock; you could pick one of a handful of players on their D along. But we'll go with Weier, who probably gets less attention (for now) than guys like Brandon Slade or Adam Jay. Weier is smart tough, meaning he'll play a physical game and make things hard on opposing forwards but doesn't take too many unnecessary penalties. He is always ready to accept the task of covering an opponent's top scoring threats and is generally up to the challenge. Weier will continue to face mounting challenges as the Rock work their way towards what they hope will be a Presidents Cup championship. If they get there, Weier may not get a lot of hype but his coaches and teammates will know how important he was to their quest.
Quote of the Day
Jimmy Chadwick, Tuscarora Tomahawks
On how hard the Tomahawks came out to play against Ladner and coming within a goal of the undefeated Pioneers.
I'm just really proud of the way our team played. We don't have the roster other teams have. But we won the first Can Am championship for Tuscarora since 1994.
Waking up to play your fourth game in three days, and we've been so plagued by injuries losing Dylan Sprentz, Zach Bolter, Hunter Lemieux, other guys playing with broken bones and aches and pains all over. We're battling, man, we're battling, that's all I can ask. I'm really proud to be a Tuscarora Tomahawk.
On the edge they have on the bench.
In the Can Am league, we had the best coaching staff by far. I don't know all the other coaches here, but you're never out of a game with Darris Kilgour on your bench. He can dissect it quicker than anybody and give us mental notes. He can always figure out what you need to do, then it's just on us to go and do it. We have one goal left, one game against Six Nations. If we play the way we did today, we believe we can get a win.
Thinking Outside the Box
Presidents Cup participants beyond the Prezzy
Spencer Bromley, Ladner Pioneers
It is not unusual for Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association student-athletes to be drafted by National Lacrosse League teams. Brock has a long history of Badgers going on to the NLL, from Sandy Chapman and Shawn Williams to Brandon Slade and Latrell Harris. Trent Excalibur has had half a dozen or more pro players on their roster the last few years.
But Spencer Bromley of the Pioneers holds a distinction for a team that has been one of the most competitive in CUFLA over the last decade-plus. He is the first player in McGill history to be selected in the NLL draft. The Saskatchewan Rush picked him with the 48th overall selection in 2016.
Bromley was a three-time All Canadian at McGill. He was a big part of the Redbirds' 2015 Baggataway Cup championship team. The following year he was third in the league with 37 goals. With the Prezzy at the TRAC this year, it is interesting to note that the second-leading goal scorer in CUFLA that season was a player who has played for the Oakville Rock, is a star with the Toronto Rock and was the 2022 NLL defender of the year. Mitch de Snoo scored 39 for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
🥍 What a tough break for Tuscarora, tied late in the third with Ladner and looking for at least a tie and ideally a goal to earn a stunning win. Austin Shanks cut to net and ricocheted off the post, hit Chase Martin's back and rolled into the net. It was a crushing way for a formidable effort by the Tomahawks to come up short.
🥍 Speaking of crushing, with Edmonton trailing Snake Island by one in the final seconds of the first period, the Miners pulled goalie Cam McLeod for an extra attacker to try to reach the intermission all tied up. Instead, Nate Woods picked off a cross floor pass, took a handful of steps up the floor then tossed the ball into the empty net with less than 1 second to play. It turned out to be a huge difference as the Miners wound up spending the entire game in catchup mode, ultimately falling short by 2 goals.
🥍 Six Nations had scored 19 goals in their first four games. They looked much more like the regular-season Rivermen in their must-win against Kahnawake. And as coaches so often say, their success started with the little things; Six Nations was far more combative going after and securing loose balls and their general energy level was simply the highest it has been in the tournament.
🥍 Ladner sat out Ryan Benesch, Tyler Pace, Matt Beers, Sam Clare and Mike Mallory against Tuscarora. Colour commentator Brian Shanahan's comments earlier in the tournament about teams getting burned when they rested players in games they thought they should be able to win almost proved prophetic as the Pioneers eked out a win. You can't blame Ladner, with the showdown against Oakville looming seven hours later. But an opponent with the heart of the Tomahawks is definitely going to look at that decision and place a chip on their shoulder.
🥍 Spencer Bromley isn't the only former McGill player on the Pioneers. His Ladner teammate Danny McDermott was also a teammate in Montreal.
🥍 Speaking of CUFLA, there are at least half a dozen other players or alum taking part in the Prezzy. Nick Chaykowsky and Dylan Hutchison both went to Trent and are playing for Kahnawake (Hutchison also attended Queen's); Brandon Slade and Chris Weier of Oakville and Kurtis Woodland from Six Nations all played for Brock; and Edmonton goalie Cam McLeod is a Guelph Gryphon.
🥍 Oakville and Ladner have both clinched semifinal berths; they each have 4 wins and no more than two other teams can reach that total.
🥍 Snake Island (3-2) can assure themselves of a playoff spot if they manage to beat or tie Ladner tomorrow. Failing that, their fate will be depend on what other teams do.
🥍 Kahnawake (2-2) still controls their fate but would have to beat Edmonton at 11 am and Oakville at 8 pm to assure themselves of a semifinal spot.
🥍 Edmonton and Six Nations (2-3) need to win against Kahnawake and Tuscarora, respectively, to give themselves the best chance at continuing to play after the round robin wraps up tomorrow.