Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rock lose heartbreaker to Chiefs, miss chance to clinch playoff berth

The Oakville Rock were within a couple of minutes of downing the powerhouse Six Nations Chiefs and clinching their first earned playoff berth in Major Series Lacrosse. They had an 8-7 lead and were looking for some insurance. They almost got it, twice.

First Stephan Leblanc drove to the net and appeared to put the ball past Dillon Ward in the Chiefs goal, but Ward pulled out a spectacular save to deny him. A little later, Brier Jonathan picked up a loose ball in the Oakville zone and sprinted up the floor on a three on one. He filled the centre lane with Alex Crepinsek to his left and Ian MacKay, playing just his third MSL game, to his right. Jonathan passed the ball to MacKay and cut over to set a pick on Craig Point, the lone Chief back.

MacKay nipped around the pick and cut to the top of the crease, where he proceeded to throw one fake after another at Ward. With the goalie falling back, MacKay fired the ball into the net for what would have been a critical insurance goal. But referee Roger Nurse adamantly pointed towards the carpet, indicating that MacKay had stepped on the crease line. The slight misstep would come back to haunt the Rock.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lakers to open playoffs Sunday July August 2

The Peterborough Lakers will open their Major Series Lacrosse semifinal series this Sunday, August 2 at home at the Memorial Centre. Game time is 7 pm.

Peterborough is assured of finishing second in the regular season and will play the third place team in the playoffs. That will be either the Brampton Excelsiors or Oakville Rock, depending on results of games this week.

Monday's Six Nations at Oakville game to be webcast live by JVI

Monday's game in Oakville will be streamed live by JVI Sports Network. If the Rock can beat the visiting Six Nations Chiefs, they will clinch a playoff spot. Six Nations has already locked up first place and home floor advantage throughout the MSL playoffs.

To watch the game, click on the JVI Sports Network link in the right hand column of this web site.

MSL names year end award nominees

Davide DiRuscio is KW's nominee for both Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
With the 2015 season into its final week, Major Series Lacrosse teams are voting for the recipients of its annual year end awards. Each team nominates a player for MVP, top defender and Rookie of the Year, then the teams vote on those awards as well as the coaching staff of the year. 

Teams can't vote for their own players. Winners will be announced during the playoffs. Below are the players nominated in each category.

Excelsiors clinch playoff berth with last-minute win over Kodiaks

Going into the season, many MSL observers expected five teams to be competitive this season. The team that most figured faced too many questions to challenge for a playoff spot was Brampton. Well, apparently nobody told the Excelsiors, who have worked hard all year and on Sunday night in Kitchener-Waterloo won their seventh game to clinch a playoff berth.

Brampton had to go right to the wire to earn the win; the margin of victory in the 10-9 victory came on Mike Burke's goal with 35 seconds to play. Burke had 2 goals and 3 assists to lead the Excels while defender Robert Koger chipped in a pair of first-period goals.

Brampton led 6-3 after one period but the Kodiaks fought back with a  3-1 second period then took an 8-7 lead when they scored the first two goals of the third. Brampton moved back in front with a pair, Sandy Chapman converting in transition then Brandon Benn scoring on the power play at 16:35.

The lead was short-lived, though, as Joey Cupido scored his second of the game (to go with 2 assists) just 22 second later. That tied the game and ultimately set the stage for Burke's heroics, which ensure the Excelsiors a spot in the playoffs while officially eliminating the Kodiaks from postseason contention.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Lakers get back on track with 12-5 win over Brampton

Shawn Evans feeding Curtis Dickson for the goal of the night, and perhaps the season, a shorthander against Brampton
Thursday. Watch TVCogeco's video of the play here
The Brampton Excelsiors played 40 pretty solid minutes against the Peterborough Lakers Thursday night. That just isn't enough, though, especially against an elite team, and it led to a 12-5 trouncing by Peterborough that delayed Brampton's opportunity to clinch a playoff berth.

Shawn Evans had 3 goals and 2 assists and Curtis Dickson 2 goals and 5 assists to lead Peterborough.  Scott Evans chipped in 2 goals and a helper. Mike Burke was the main offensive weapon for Brampton and scored 2 goals and 3 assists. 

There was no scoring for the first eight minutes of the game, then the Lakers got two within a minute and a half as Shawn Evans opened the scoring and Cory Vitarelli added a power play goal. Brampton worked hard to stay with the Lakers and got a pair back.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Redmen stay alive in playoff hunt with win over Chiefs

Mike Poulin has been brilliant this week for the Brooklin Redmen. He led them to wins over Oakville and Six Nations with
46 and 47 saves, respectively, to keep their playoff hopes alive. (File photo: Tim Prothero)

The Brooklin Redmen's playoff hopes were on life support entering their Monday game in Oakville. Their 9-5 win over the Rock, led by a 46-save effort from Mike Poulin, maintained that status but things still didn't look rosy with the Six Nations Chiefs coming to town Wednesday night.

Brooklin can't afford another loss as it would eliminate them from playoff contention and first-place Six Nations had lost just twice entering the game. The Redmen stayed right with the Chiefs through 20 minutes, exiting the first period tied 3-3. A couple of minutes into the second, Brooklin took their second lead of the game on Dan Lintner's goal. It didn't last long, though; Jeff Shattler scored 23 seconds later to even things up.

That's the point where most teams just haven't been able to stay with Six Nations this summer. The Chiefs' depth and talent just wear opponents down and the league leaders pull away as the game progressed. But Brooklin flipped the script, taking control with their transition game. Veteran defender Derek Suddons scored two of the four goals as the Redmen pulled away over a seven-minute stretch.