I spent the last three days at Iroquois Park Arena watching the best Peewee, Bantam, and Midget teams across Ontario compete in their first qualifying tournament. Below are my thoughts on what I saw. In some cases, I did not see some teams so I can only comment on their results.
1st place – Six Nations
Most everyone that you talk to seems to comment that Burlington, Clarington or Whitby (pick your order), are the three teams to beat. Well the good news for Six Nations is that they are in first place after 6 games, beating the teams that they had to beat. The bad news is that their next qualifier they must play the consensus top three. They should still be able to qualify, but week two will be much tougher than week one.
2nd place – Burlington
They went out on Friday and put a good one up against Whitby winning 5-1. But as I saw in a number of teams over the course of the weekend, the gas tank seemed to start to drain a bit on Saturday and Sunday. They pretty much put a licking on everyone else too but struggled and lost one to a sprited St. Catharines squad. There should be no doubt of them qualifying, and being a favorite to take top prize.
3rd place – Clarington
They played the weekend minus a few players, but still showed well. They are in 4th place, but only because of the formula (they are only 1 point back of Six Nations). I don’t think anyone is counting them out, but hopefully for them they get everyone back. Individually, they’ve got a few special players that historically have come up huge, but they will need everyone else doing the same to have a shot at taking it all.
4th place – Whitby
The lucky home town boys, got to face their two arch rinals on day one and came out having won one and lost one. The rest of the weekend they were perfect with one close game and the rest not so close. Lately they have been getting the better of Clarington, but have had mixed results with Burlington. They will be there in the final six, but need to figure out the Chiefs and maintain their current play against the Gaels. They’re solid top to bottom. Week two should be easier, but they need to still perform.
5th place – Orangeville
The Peewee Northmen lost two games to teams that ended up above them, and beat four others that they likely expected to. Week two, they will face Whitby and Burlington, so it won’t be easy. But if they beat everyone else, they really should get in. They are somewhat of a longshot to win, but don’t look past them, they could very well catch someone off guard.
6th place – Oakville
The Hawks lost to Whitby and Six Nations which might have been expected, but they also tied St. Catharines. That one point they lost put them behind Orangeville and it may come back to haunt them. K-W is right on their heals for the final spot in the top six, and the week two K-W schedule looks more favorable than the Oakville one.
7th place – K-W
Two wins, two losses, and two ties, is not a bad weekend, but not a great one either. Looking at their schedule though, in week two, they only have Whitby and Orangeville left to play from the current top six seeds. If they win their other four, and can steal one of those other two, they should get in. I say they do get in the top six.
8th – St. Catharines
These guys are the only ones that were able to get the best of Burlington in week one. Unfortunately, they were not able to use that same game plan all weekend. They did have a pretty rough week one schedule too though, so week two could be much more to their liking. The week two game against K-W could decide a spot.
9th – Center Wellington
First let me say that this was an excellent result having put together these two associations (Fergus / Elora). This taste of “A” lacrosse is likely the first for many of these kids (I’m guessing). I would think that it is not in the cards for them this season to make the top six, but it will have given them a taste of what it takes, and watch in the coming years for these guys.
10th – Brampton
What a rough weekend for the Excelsiors. They played pretty much every game close but could only muster up one win (Guelph). Given how far back they are, I don’t see it for them on 2010. They will remain competitive though.
11th – Guelph
The word I had heard was that most of this team were minors. If this is true, watch for them next season. They only beat Halton, but showed some spunk in the games I witnessed. They showed some frustrations a bit, but they also showed they’ve got some skills. Kudos for going “A” with minors (if true), as this move usually pays off in the future.
12th – Mimico
Mimico earned a point on a tie against Halton (Halton’s only point as well). Week two will be too big of a hill to climb for them, with every other team except Halton ahead of them. Not this year.
13th – Halton Hills
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