Thursday, November 12, 2015

Derek Keenan joins Brooklin Redmen as assistant coach

The Brooklin Redmen have added a big name to their bench. Derek Keenan has come aboard as an assistant coach, joining head coach/GM Wayne Colley and fellow assistants Gil Nieuwendyk and Brad MacArthur on the coaching team.

Keenan has three times won the National Lacrosse League's Coach of the Year and General Manager of the Year awards (2006, 2010, 2014) and in 2015 led the Edmonton Rush to their first Champions Cup. He has also had success at the junior level, coaching the Whitby Warriors to Minto Cup wins in 2011 and 2013. Keenan will remain head coach of the Warriors while a suitable replacement is sought.

Keenan and Colley are both Oshawa residents who won three Mann Cups together on the Redmen in the mid 80s.

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Brooklin Redmen franchise.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Major Series Lacrosse well represented in 2015 NLL Entry Draft

The first round of the 2015 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft was dominated by players coming from Major Series Lacrosse. Seven of the nine first-round picks played in MSL this past summer and 11 of the first 17 picks were MSL players. In total, 15 MSL players from this season were selected in the draft.

Graeme Hossack was the first MSL player chosen, second overall to the Rochester Knighthawks after Lyle Thompson had gone first to the Georgia Swarm. After Georgia took Jesse King third, a run of seven straight MSL players followed.

Georgia and Calgary each chose a pair of MSL players in the first round of the draft. Georgia nabbed Chad Tutton fifth and Randy Staats sixth. Calgary gook Wes Berg with the fourth pick then selected Reilly O'Connor seventh.

Another drafted player, Jacob Ruest, spent 2014 in MSL and 18 more are Ontario junior players who will look to crack MSL rosters in 2016 or beyond.

Below are the full results of the NLL draft. MSL players are indicated by an asterisk before their selection number.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Shamrocks finish off Mann Cup victory with 12-6 win over Lakers in Game 6

Corey Small was named the Mike Kelly Award winner as the Mann Cup MVP as the Victoria Shamrocks downed the Peterborough Lakers 12-6 in Game 6 to take the series 4-2. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)

The Victoria Shamrocks are the 2015 Mann Cup champions after downing the Peterborough Lakers 12-6 Friday night to win the series 4-2. Dan Dawson had 8 assists and Mike Kelly MVP award winner Corey Small a hat trick and an assist to lead the Shamrocks in a game they largely controlled from the outset. Jesse King and Karsen Leung each added a pair of goals for Victoria. Six different players scored for the Lakers. Aaron Bold made made 31 saves on 38 shots for an .838 save percentage to earn the win.

Victoria came out of the gates with a burst of energy and controlled play almost throughout the first period. They got on the board on yet another outside shot from Small. A pair of transition goals from Leung opened the spread. Both times Leung broke out of the Victoria end, the first receiving a breakout pass from Bold and the second taking off with a picked off pass. He bounced a shot past the right foot of Matt Vinc on the first and ripped one past Vinc's left shoulder on the second.

The shots at one point were 13-6 and those numbers were representative of the flow of play. Victoria was pushing the pace and creating scoring chances at one end of the floor with crisp ball movement and a solid screen game.

At the other end of the floor, the Shamrocks' defence was playing even better than their offence. They were spreading out high to pick up the Lakers well away from their goal, which is a risky approach against a team with as much talent at Peterborough. Victoria made it work, though, because their defenders played athletic, tenacious one-on-one D while employing an alert and cohesive slide game.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Stamplax Mann Cup Blog, Post 2: Lagoons and Geckos and Woodies, oh my

By Stephen Stamp

Hatley Castle on the campus of Royal Roads University. 
 It's always a pleasure to get back to Victoria, where I lived a good portion of my adult life. I moved here when I was 22 to go to school at UVic and prepare for Olympic trials for rowing. Within a matter of weeks I'd decided I wasn't going back to Ontario right away. That decision led to a decade spent in the city, with an interlude to attend grad school in New Hampshire.

Moving back to Peterborough has been fantastic—you really appreciate what a great city it is when you return after an extended absence. Getting to be close to my family as well as the chance to be immersed in lacrosse the way I have been adds wonderful richness to my life. But there's no question that walking along Dallas Road rekindles fond memories of Victoria and my life here.

It's been great catching up with old friends—with more gatherings planned for the final few days of the trip—but best of all, of course, is the chance to watch the Mann Cup at the Q Centre. The 2013 Mann Cup was my first experience with lacrosse at the arena; when I was a Shamrocks fan back in the day the team played out of the Memorial Arena downtown. It's a great venue for the game, with a passionate fan base that is just thrilled about the team's return to prominence after a period in the shadows of the New Westminster Salmonbellies and Langley Thunder.

The view from the press box is excellent, but as with two years ago I've enjoyed the chance to sit in the stands for some games and experience the atmosphere of the rink full-on. With apologies to New West, which is probably next, there's no question that Victoria and Peterborough are the two best places in Canada to watch a senior lacrosse game. Packed houses, great lacrosse and excellent venues make it highly enjoyable. If only, as Victoria coach Bob Heyes suggested to the Peterborough Examiner, the series could be played in both cities.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Shamrocks take Game 5 in overtime to pull ahead three games to two in Mann Cup finals

The Victoria Shamrocks continued to employ a physical approach to defence and held the Peterborough Lakers to 5 goals in Game 5 of the Mann Cup. Victoria won 7-5 in overtime to take a 3-2 series lead. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)

Both goalies were stopping almost everything they were seeing in Game 5 of the 2015 Mann Cup, so it makes sense that the pair of overtime goals that eventually netted the Victoria Shamrocks a 7-5 win and a 3-2 lead in the best of seven Canadian senior lacrosse championship both came on screened shots.

Victoria came close to getting a pair of goals earlier in the overtime but both were waived off as crease violations. Jesse King was the first to have a goal nullified as his leg appeared to touch down inside the crease before the ball got across the goal line, although it was very close. The second one wasn't close—Scott Ranger drove in from the wing and buried the ball past Matt Vinc but his lead foot was clearly well past the crease line before the ball went in. In CLA play, the foot crossing the cylinder of the crease means it's no goal.

There was no question about Corey Small's goal at 5:15 of the extra frame, though. He took a pass from Dan Dawson and stepped into a low shot between two Peterborough defenders and past the legs of teammate Daryl Veltman. The ball skipped into the far corner and the soldout crowd at the Q Centre erupted in cheers that finally wouldn't be quashed by a referee pointing towards the crease.

In the final half minute, Dawson ended any hopes of a Lakers comeback with a straight overhand past another pair of defenders tied up with teammate Cory Conway that banked in off the far post.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lakers even up Mann Cup with 8-6 win behind 4 Curtis Dickson goals

Curtis Dickson went around and through Shamrocks defenders for 4 goals to lead Peterborough to an 8-6 Game 4 win at the Mann Cup. He was named Peterborough's player of the game. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)

The Peterborough Lakers have shown the ability to bounce back before, so it should come as no surprise that they rebounded from a dismal Game 3 defeat to down the Victoria Shamrocks 8-6 in Game 4 of the 2015 Mann Cup Tuesday to even up the series at two games apiece.

As has been their habit in the playoffs this year, the Lakers surrendered the first goal early in the first period. This time it was Rhys Duch connecting on an outside shot at 1:55 of the opening period. The scoring was spread out but the Lakers responded with a goal each of the five times the Shamrocks took the lead.

Scott Evans stepped back into the Peterborough lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last two games and he contributed some valuable work banging around in the offensive zone as well as chipping in with the Lakers' second goal and an assist. Curtis Dickson was the offensive star for the Lakers, though, scoring 4 goals and adding an assist after getting just a single assist before being kicked out of Game 3.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Shamrocks blow out Lakers 14-8 in Game 3 of Mann Cup to take 2-1 lead

Peterborough Lakers enjoying the scenery at the 17th hole of the course they golfed Sunday. 
Mark down September 6, 2015 as quite likely the last time the Major Series Lacrosse champions go golfing on the off day following Game 2 of the Mann Cup. In 2013, the Six Nations Chiefs had a team golf outing on the Sunday of the Mann Cup and proceeded to lay a bit of an egg, falling behind the Victoria Shamrocks 6-1 in the first period of Game 3 en route to an 8-6 loss.

This past Sunday, a day after a dominating 14-7 win in Game 2 of the 2015 Mann Cup, several Peterborough Lakers went golfing. The next day they gave up a 7-2 second period as the Victoria Shamrocks dusted them 14-8 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

The Lakers will be happy enough if this series turns out the way the 2013 final did—Six Nations won the next three games to take the Mann Cup 4-2 for their first of back to back titles—but for now they may be ruing their 18 holes.