Although the Niagara-on-the-Lake Thunderhawks minor lacrosse program saw 90 per cent of their teams unable to recruit enough players to form teams, a spark of hope still remains. The association was able to get a large contingency of players at three divisions, paperweight, U9 and U22, committing to the 2022 season.
The Thunderhawks U22 (formerly intermediate) season opened up at the Meridian Credit Union Arena with quite a bit of fanfare, after two quiet years due to COVID-19 shutdowns, with the players embracing the return by beating the Fort Erie Hawks 12-1.
The team started the game a little tentatively, but quickly turned this around after a shot by Nolan Price three minutes into the game, putting the Thunderhawks up 1-0. Fort Erie however was able to answer the bell by scoring three minutes later, making the score 1-1.
Kris Wilson wouldn’t be denied, firing a laser shortly after to open the floodgates, ending the first period 6-1. The gates remained open, allowing the Thunderhawks to score four goals in the second and tallying two more in the third. Goals went to Nolan Price (2), Aedan O’Gorman (2), Liam Dietsch (1), Keaton Boldt (2), Hunter Ostromecki (2) and Kris Wilson (3).
The offensive success, although impressive, was over-shadowed by tenacious defensive play. Players such as Joe Fragnito, Trent Hunter, Noah Ostromecki, Dietsch and Christian Blaylock dominated a weaker Fort Erie offence to keep shots on Jack Maracca & Tanyan Davis to a mere handful.
Keeping the game one-sided was Liam Gatt, Aaron Wilson, Jordan Wiens, Ethan Williams, Colby Ostromecki and Jack Marotta. Although not creating tallies on the scoresheet, they were pivotal in getting loose balls, setting up their teammates and being the foundation of the team’s success.
The Thunderhawks will play in Hamilton May 26 for a more competitive matchup against the Bengals, long known as a tough, gritty team, making them an excellent test for the skill and resolve of the Thunderhawks.
NOTL has also been well-known for producing players who are not only successful in minor lacrosse, but Junior B, Junior A and in the National Lacrosse League. With the loss of the Junior B Thunderhawks this season, the U22 team is made up of past and future Junior B players. The team is, quit frankly, providing the only high level of competitive sport in NOTL.
We encourage all fans to visit the NOTL Minor Lacrosse website to see future game times, and especially encourage the alumni of NOTL lacrosse to keep July 9 open for a double header versus the Milton Mavericks. Arrive for the 10 a.m. and/or 3 p.m. games to watch, and catch up with past
teammates, meet new friends and share some history. Go Thunderhawks!