Pioneers conquer Snake Island to crack win column at nationals

BC champs face uphill climb after opening tournament with pair of losses

Ladner Pioneers are in the win column following a rocky start at the President’s Cup national championships in Quebec.

The B.C. champions defeated the Snake Island Muskies 15-10 on Wednesday afternoon to improve to 1-2 in the eight-team tournament that continues until Sunday. The top two records at the end round-robin play will battle for gold, meaning the Pioneers are going to need plenty of help to keep their championship hopes alive.

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They opened play Monday with a 14-11 loss to Ontario champions Six Nation Rivermen (2-0), then were rocked 22-11 by CanAm champ Akwaesasne Bucks (3-1) 24 hours later.

Leading 8-7 after 20 minutes, the Bucks stunned Ladner with a 10-goal second period to take full command. They also enjoyed a 54-33 advantage in the shot department.

The Pioneers also saw a lead evaporate in their opening game — except this time in the final 20 minutes as the Rivermen scored seven goals to erase a 9-7 deficit.

Ladner has a doubleheader on Thursday — taking on Alberta champion St. Albert (2-2) then Quebec’s Capital Region Axemen (1-2). They will face host Kahnawake Mohawks (3-0) on Friday night and conclude round-robin play Saturday against Nova Scotia (0-3).

Ryan Benesch leads the Pioneers with 18 points through three games, including nine (2-7) in the win over Snake Island. Zach Herreweyers leads the way in goals with six. Spencer Bromley and Luke Wiles have four each. Ryan Keith is second in team scoring with 12 points.

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