For the seventh time in the organization’s history, the Orangeville Northmen are Canada’s top Junior A lacrosse squad.
The Northmen wrapped up a perfect showing at the 2019 Minto Cup Junior A National Championship at Langley Events Centre, sweeping the best-of-five championship series 3-0 over the Victoria Shamrocks. They were also 3-0 during the round-robin and trailed for just 23:07 (just over one period) of the 360 minutes of lacrosse they played over the six games.
Jonathan Donville – acquired just prior to the Ontario Junior A Lacrosse League trade deadline back in June – scored twice in the final 5:06 to break a 5-5 tie and send Orangeville to a 7-5 victory on Friday night at Langley Events Centre.
“You almost kind of knew when the (score was tied), the stage was set for Jonathan Donville. He has been so clutch,” said Northmen coach Bruce Codd.
Donville was quick to deflect the credit, singling out Curtis Butka for a pair of great picks which gave him the room to maneuver his way into position to get a shot on goal.
“I just tried to get to the middle of the goal and shoot it as hard as I (could),” Donville explained. “Curtis put me in a good spot for both those.”
Denton MacDonald had tied the score for the Shamrocks with 6:00 to play but Donville scored 54 seconds later and again with 3:15 to play.
Donville finished the game with three goals and four points. He led the Minto Cup in all three statistical categories, with 19 goals, 20 assists and 39 points over the six games and won most valuable player.
With 6.5 points per game, had the series been extended, there is a strong possibility he would have surpassed the Brampton Excelsiors duo of Jeff Teat (22 goals) and Clarke Petterson (43 points) who put up those numbers in seven games at the 2018 Minto Cup. The pair sit second in their respective categories for scoring at a single Minto Cup championship.
The record for both statistics belongs to Esquimalt Legion’s Paul Gait who put up 29 goals and 58 points in six games back in 1987.
Winning MVP is always a nice bonus, but Donville was more than content with a Minto Cup in his final year of junior.
“I was happy I could contribute at the end and make a few plays but even if I didn’t score a point this tournament, it would have been just as sweet,” he said. “They say it is the hardest trophy to win in our sport and I kind of see why. It took everything we had as a team. There are no words to describe it.”
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With the score tied at five, Codd didn’t feel the need to deliver any message to his team.
￼“We didn’t panic at any point this year. We have always had that calm demeanor. It was just stick to the process. It sounds cliché but we have been saying it all year long and they have really done a good job of doing that,” he said.
The Northmen lost in the OJALL final in 2018, in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season for the squad.
“That taught us that anything is possible. We had a younger team last year and we made it as far as we did,” said Northmen captain Zack Deaken. “This year, we knew that if we wanted to work the way we did we could accomplish something great and tonight we did.”
Deaken – one of 11 players from Orangeville — remembers when the Northmen won the Minto Cup in 2012.
“I just remember saying I want to do this one day and doing it here tonight, with all my brothers, it is surreal,” he said. “There is nothing that can beat this.”
On the other side of things, the Shamrocks are surely disappointed, but thrilled with the strides the team made, which includes the organization’s first Minto Cup appearance since 2008.
“The league had us at 10-10-1 so our goal was to prove that wrong. My goal was to make the playoffs and win a playoff game, that was my honest goal and these guys exceeded that hugely,” said Victoria coach Terry Dennett.
“I told my fifth-year guys I was proud to have them and I told the rest of the guys to soak it in and be ready to go for next year,” he said about his post-game message. “We talked about culture and winning. Orangeville has a massive lacrosse culture. Watch them, see the experience of it. We actually got to that stage and maybe next time we are going to cross that stage and take that Cup home.”
Victoria goaltender Cameron Dunkerley was the recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award. He was also the Shamrocks player of the game in Friday’s defeat, with Donville (three goals, one assist) earning the honour for the Northmen.
Dunkerley finished game three with 46 saves on 53 shots.
Kyle Waters (two goals), Ty Thompson (one goal, two assists) and Dawson Tait (one goal, one assist) rounded out Orangeville’s goal scoring in game three.
Dylan Watson had three assists and was second in Minto Cup scoring with 17 goals and 29 points.
In the Orangeville net, Rylan Hartley made 43 saves on 48 shots. He finished with a 5.15 goals against average and .887 save percentage over the six games.
Jackson Boyd and Austin Madronic each had a goal and an assist for Victoria while Zach Manns and Patrick Dodds scored once apiece for Victoria.
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