KAHNAWAKE - The third time was indeed the charm for the St. Catharines Saints.
After capturing bronze in 2011 and silver in 2012, the Saints marched away with gold in 2013 capturing the Canadian Sr. B Lacrosse Championship Presidents’ Cup with an 8-5 victory over the host Kahnawake Mohawks Sunday afternoon.
Saints president and general manager Dave Colbourne brought the Saints to St. Catharines as a new franchise in 2011.
“This is why I brought the team to St. Catharines and Niagara,” said a jubilant Colbourne from the floor minutes after his teams win at the Kahnawake Sports Complex near Montreal. “There is such a rich history of lacrosse in St. Catharines and the area — this was our goal this year and we did it.”
A rich history might be an understatement. The last time a St. Catharines team won a senior Lacrosse championship was 1946 when the St. Catharines Athletics won their fifth Mann Cup.
Sixty-seven years later the Presidents’ Cup will be making his debut in St. Catharines.
“This is unbelievable,” said Saints defender and current National Lacrosse League player Ian Llord who is no stranger to winning championships. Llord has won an NLL Championship with the Rochester Knighthawks, a Minto Cup with the St. Catharines junior A Athletics and will be battling for a Mann Cup (senior A) championship next weekend in Victoria, B.C.
“This means a lot because I did it with so many close friends, my brother (Dylan), and local guys,” added Llord who grew up in St. Catharines.
After a sluggish start on Sunday, the Saints found their legs and ultimately their game, showing the Mohawks crowd why the Saints had the stingiest defence at the tournament.
St. Catharines, led by tournament MVP goaltender Jake Henhawk, only gave up 46 goals in eight games.
“Our defence has been the story all season long,” said coach Jeff Dowling.
“You can’t say enough about that unit and the veterans Dave (Colbourne) brought in this year.”
Chris Attwood was the tournaments leading scorer with 45 points in eight contests, including a five-point effort including one goal in Sunday’s final.
In fact, the Attwood family was once again well represented. Eldest brother Matt was a coach, while Mike and Craig contributed on the defensive end.
It was the second championship this year for Chris, Mike and Craig, who won the CLAX (Canadian Lacrosse League) crown with the Iroquois Ironmen.
“I’m just glad I was a part of the winning team this time around,” a smiling Matt Attwood said.
“Again, thanks to Dave for bringing me on board. There were so many local guys on this team — that’s what makes it special.”
Indeed. The Saints featured 18 local players from all over the Niagara.
The game was tied 2-2 after one period of play, while St. Catharines led 5-4 heading into the third.
Captain Brad Favero and defender Mitch Dumont both played strong games contributing with two goals apiece.
Notes: The Saints finished the round robin portion of the tournament in first place with a 5-1 record.... Their only blemish — an 8-6 loss to Kahnawake Friday.... The Mohawks featured former Spartan junior B, and now member of the NLL Washington Stealth, Dean Hill. The Caughnawaka Indians captured the bronze with a 14-9 victory over the Calgary Mountaineers.... St. Catharines native Blair Ferguson was one of only three Ontario-based referees at the tournament.