St. Catharines, ON—Monday, March 14, 2016— The Oshweken Demons shook off a slow start and beat the favoured Niagara Lock Monsters 13-9 on Sunday in the Creator’s Cup Semi-Final.
The Demons came into the contest as the underdog against a Niagara team that finished first overall and beat Ohsweken handily in three regular season meetings. They were also without stars Ian Martin and Wayne VanEvery, while Niagara was without C-Lax leading scorer, Corey Fowler. The Lock Monsters, however, wasted no time jumping out to a two goal lead, getting goals from Joel Coyle and Brenden Thenhaus. Niagara stifled the Demons offense for most of the first quarter until Vaughn Harris and Chris Attwood tied the game late in the quarter. The Lock Monsters scored two more goals in the frame and took a 4-2 leading in to the second quarter. After a quick goal by Joe Maracle 37 seconds in, the rest of the quarter was fairly uneventful with the Lock Monsters playing a trap game and Ohsweken unable to get in sync. In all, only two goals were scored and Niagara held a 5-3 lead heading into the second half.
Niagara seemed to be cruising right along after getting goals from Brad Favero and Jordan Critch, extending their lead to 7-3. However, Ohsweken would not stay down for long as Blue Hill, an unlikely catalyst, sparked the first of three straight goals to pull the Demons within one going into the final quarter. With the home crowd behind them, the Lock Monsters roared out the gate as Brenden Thenhaus scored his third goal of the game to give Niagara a two goal cushion. Once again, the Lock Monsters seemed to be in control, having an answer for every offensive push Ohsweken made and holding the lead late into the quarter. Then, as they so often have in the past, the Demons came storming back, scoring six straight goals to stun the Meridian Centre and book their ticket to the Creator’s Cup Final.
The Niagara Lock Monsters seemed to have everything in place to win this game. Despite not having their leading goal scorer in the line up, they still had Bryan Neufeld, Brenden Thenhaus and all-star goalie J. Preece on the turf. For most of the game, Preece was a wall and Niagara’s patented defense was on display. Thenhaus was by far Niagara’s best forward as he notched three of the Lock Monsters’ nine goals. Rookie Phil Caputo and Brad Favero also had strong games as they were pressing hard in the Demons zone all afternoon. Having unusually quiet games were Brooker Muir, Bryan Neufeld and Tim Edwards; combined with the absence of Corey Fowler, the Lock Monsters eventually found themselves in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.
After getting blown out the last two games of the regular season, many people didn’t think Ohsweken stood a chance of winning this game. Seeming to relish the role of the underdog, the Demons played a true team game as nine different players hit the score sheet, with Vaughn Harris recording a hat trick and adding two assists. Corey Thompson came up huge in this one; he scored a goal 6:58 into the fourth quarter and turned the Demons’ fortune. Chris Attwood played an inspired game as did Joe Maracle. In a surprise move, Chase Martin manned the net for the Demons and, after a rough start, shut the door on Niagara. With the win, the Demons exacted some revenge on the Lock Monsters and will play the Durham Turfdogs on Friday, March 18th in the Creator’s Cup Final.
JVI Three Stars:
- Brenden Thenhaus
- Vaughn Harris
- Brad Favero