The U15B Mohawks squared off against the Pierrefonds Barons in the Lac St. Louis regional championship game this past Sunday.
Coming off a successful season, finishing first in the region with a 16-0-2 record in regular season play, the Mohawks didn’t have the playoff result they had hoped for, missing out on the championships.
Regionals gave the Mohawks a shot at redemption. It would be the last time the team took to the ice together before hanging up their skates for the summer.
They got off to a rocky start, losing to the Lakeshore Leopards in the first game of the tournament, but they managed to win the rest of their round-robin games and secure a spot in the semi-finals. Coming out of the round robin, the team sat in third place.
In the semi-finals, the Mohawks and Leopards would meet again. This time, Kahnawake came out on top, beating Lakeshore 7-3.
In the championship game, with the Barons up 3-0 in the third period, Ethan Brascoup scored the Mohawks’ first goal of the game with just 3:07 on the clock. Moments later, Wyatt Cross scored, bringing the Mohawks within one point of the Barons. However, with just 50 seconds left on the clock, it would not be enough to clinch a tie and force overtime.
“We took too long to get going and we ran out of time,” said Kevin McComber, who coaches the team alongside Ronnie Stacey.
The Mohawks left Lac St. Louis with silver medals and a sense of accomplishment.
“We came back home with hardware. The kids played well. They did the best they could,” said McComber.
“Our last game, I felt like we could have done a little better, but the other games we played really well, and we worked as a team,” said the team’s goaltender, Shonkwehiahrahkwennis Abraira.
Abraira was called up from Peewee due to a shortage in the Bantam league, and rose to the occasion.
“We’ve got to hand it to our goalie,” said McComber. “He did amazing for us.”
McComber also credited Daly Lazare and the team’s strong defence for their successful season.
“At first it was a little scary. But then I got used to it and I liked it,” said Abraira. “Ronnie is my coach, and I’ve had him as a coach for the past four years and I’ve always liked him as a coach, so I was happy.”
For Abraira’s mother, Ieherine Kennedy, it was nerve-wracking to watch her son play with older players, some of whom are “twice his size,” Kennedy said.
“I’ve just been teaching him to keep your head up and learn from your mistakes, but I’m always really nervous as a parent sitting in the stands watching him, because I never know what’s gonna happen,” said Kennedy.
She also said that it was exciting to watch her son develop as a goaltender and receive encouragement from his teammates.
“I wasn’t expecting myself to do this well, and everybody around me was cheering me on as I went to my games and played and ended up doing really good,” said Abraira.
With the lacrosse season already underway, Abraira has a busy summer ahead of him. He will also compete at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in track and field.
McComber said that throughout the season he was consistently impressed by the team’s sportsmanship.
If the team was winning by a large margin, they would hold back on scoring and use the game as an opportunity to practice. McComber said this became an unofficial team rule. It wasn’t instigated by the coaches, but the players.
“They have good hearts. They always looked out for everybody,” said McComber.
McComber, who’s been coaching hockey for 30 years, shows no signs of stopping. He plans to stay with the Bantam team next year. In the meantime, McComber’s advice to the players is simple: have a good summer.
“Try something new. Don’t just concentrate on hockey. We’ll see them all next year,” he said.