Snipers register victory over Steelhawks in season opener

by Sam Laskaris

The Six Nations Snipers kicked off their Arena Lacrosse League (ALL) regular season on a positive note. The Snipers downed the host Whitby Steelhawks 20-14 in a Sunday afternoon match, which was held at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena (ILA) in Hagersvillle.

Though it’s early on in the season, Snipers’ head coach/general manager Darcy Powless is sensing players are on the team’s roster are more committed than in previous years. 

“Our guys were pretty excited,” Powless said of the club’s opening contest. “We had a full roster there and everybody was ready to roll. At the start of the game it wasn’t like other years when we were looking around wondering if some guys were going to show up.” 

The start of the ALL regular season was postponed twice. The Snipers were originally scheduled to commence play in December but due to pandemic concerns that was pushed back to January. A second league-wide postponement ensued and ALL action finally began this past weekend. Wes Whitlow, who is in his third season with the Snipers, had a team-high eight points (four goals and four assists) versus the Steelhawks. 

“He’s a good player and he’s finally starting to mature,” Powless said of Whitlow. “This year he’s a little bit more committed to what we’re doing.” Back in 2019, his first season with the Snipers, Whitlow earned 17 points, including six goals, in seven matches. He then collected 23 points (three goals and 20 assists) in his seven games with the club during the 2020 campaign. Powless also had praise for Johnny Powless, a National Lacrosse League veteran who has opted to suit up for the Snipers this season. Johnny Powless netted a pair of goals and had four assists for a six-point effort in his Snipers’ debut. 

“Johnny played well,” Powless said. “He didn’t say much on the bench. But he did offer a couple of pointers and some insight. And he came to play lacrosse.” Powless also spoke highly of the play of Snipers’ goaltender Dylan Sprentz, who earned the W between the pipes. “He played well,” Powless said. “I think he only allowed two powerplay goals.” Six Nations led 10-8 at halftime during Sunday’s match. The Snipers then outscored Whitby in both the third (4-3) and fourth quarters (6-4). “Midway through the third we started pulling away,” Powless said, adding both teams were somewhat rusty and can make improvements to their conditioning levels. “We were able to maintain our legs in the fourth quarter and that was the difference.” 

Vern Hill added a hat trick for the Snipers while Tyler Brown, Rodd Squire, Jordan Goddard and Tye Argent scored two goals each. Meanwhile, Justin Martin, Mike McLaughlin and Daylen Hill all scored goals as well for the Six Nations squad.