Coaches expect long, physical battle to determine Minto Cup winner
As the players for the Six Nations Arrows and Coquitlam Adanacs get ready to begin the Minto Cup championship Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre, the coaching staff for both teams are expecting a long, physical series.
The last time these two teams met in the Minto Cup Final, it was 1992, when the Arrows won the final in a seventh and deciding game at the old Coquitlam Sports Centre. Coquitlam has won one Minto Cup and Six Nations has won two in their franchise’s history. The Adanacs are looking to even up the total, but know it’s not going to be an easy task.
“It'll be a test for us, said Coquitlam Adanacs head coach Neil Doddridge. “We're looking forward to playing what we're told is the best team in the country. New Westminster was apparently the best team in the country and we proved them wrong, so now we're looking to prove Six Nations wrong as well”.
One guy the Adanacs will need to pay close attention to is Johnny Powless, the Arrows leading scorer. He missed all of the regular season due to injury, but came back in time to lead the league in playoff scoring.
“The offense runs through Johnny; he’s been an elite player on the NLL scene for three years now, winning three championships with Rochester, said Doddridge. “He’s a great player to watch and the fans in BC are really lucky to get to see him play”.
Six Nations is making their first Minto Cup final in six years but have looked strong in the postseason, winning eleven of thirteen games.
“The biggest difference from last year’s team to this year’s is our transition game and our defense, said Six Nations Arrows General Manager Jake Henhawk. “Last year, the guys relied more on their skill and offense, hoping the goalies would make the saves when needed to, but this year it's been an all-around effort and everybody bought in. That's what got us past Whitby in four quick games”.
Having finished their series early, the Arrows were able to watch Coquitlam play Calgary in the Western Final, and know the Adanacs are a team with some weapons.
“There definitely not a team to be taken lightly,” said Henhawk. “We know Neil (Doddridge). He knows the game very well. Their captain, Wes Berg is a big athletic righty, Tyler Pace is another good one, as well as (Eli) McLaughlin. We have a similar style of play. I think it will come down to who executes their game plan better,” said Henhawk.
Game 1 of the Minto Cup is Aug. 16 at 8 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.ca or at the LEC box office which opens at 5 p.m.
For more information on the championships click here.
Gary Ahuja/Langley Times
Coquitlam coach Neil Doddridge (left) and Six Nations coach Marshall Abrams spoke at a press conference on the eve of game one of the best-of-seven Minto Cup championship series at the Langley Events Centre.