Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Oakville Rock down Cobourg Kodiaks 11-8 to complete first half of MSL season

Damon Edwards and the Rock out duelled Cody McMahon and the Kodiaks 11-8 Monday. (Photo: Ed MacPherson)
The Oakville Rock hosted the Cobourg Kodiaks at the TRAC Monday night with the opportunity to close out the first half of the 2016 MSL season with a record of 6-3.
Oakville jumped out to an early lead on a breakaway goal by Mitch Desnoo, his 3rd of the season. Wes Berg would notch two goals before the end of the first period, the second coming on the powerplay. Matt Crough had the lone first period goal for Cobourg.
The second period started out action packed as Jeremy Noble scored for Oakville. Jordan Roberston responded quickly, but Wes Berg completed the Hat-Trick less than two minutes in. Up 5-2, Brandon Slade picked up his first MSL goal and Rob Hellyer followed that goal up with his first of the night. Oakville led 7-4 at the break.
The Rock went up 11-5 in the third, with goals from Stephan Leblanc, Damon Edwards and Challen Rogers. Two 5-minute majors by Bill Hostrawser and Jason Noble allowed Cobourg to pot three late powerplay goals, but Oakville held on for the 11-8 win. The two teams will meet Sunday in Cobourg for the return matchup. The win moved the Rock back into a tie for second place with the Six Nations Chiefs.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Chiefs score more goals than they have runners in 15-6 win over Kodiaks

Warren Hill held the fort for a shorthanded Chiefs D in Sunday's win.
(Photo: Anna Taylor) 

The Six Nations Chiefs may have been shorthanded, but they had more than enough to handle the lethargic Cobourg Kodiaks on Sunday in Cobourg.

Six Nations had just 14 runners available for the game because of injuries and players with other commitments, but stellar goaltending from Warren Hill and an 8-point night from Vaughn Harris led them to a 15-6 win that moved them into sole possession of second place in the MSL standings, at least until tonight when the Oakville Rock will have a chance to tie them when they face the Kodiaks.

Both Hill and Harris are expected to be early picks in this fall's National Lacrosse League Entry Draft and they only enhanced their candidacies with their play Sunday.

Harris is usually a forward but has been playing out the back door for the Chiefs because the team is so deep up front. He took full advantage of the chance to play O Sunday, scoring 4 goals and 4 assists in a standout performance.

"I just had a good time playing tonight," Harris said. "We played really good. We got the ball moving around and used the space out there and played together."

Johnny Powless added 3 goals and 5 assists and Quinn Powless 3 goals and 2 assists. Hill got just his second start in goal and was excellent, limiting the Kodiaks to 2 goals through the first 40 minutes.

MSL goalies dominate NLL goalie of the year finalists

All three of the goalies named as finalists for the National Lacrosse League Goalie of the Year award are Major Series Lacrosse players.

Evan Kirk plays for the New England Black Wolves and Peterborough Lakers, Nick Rose for the Toronto Rock and Oakville Rock, and Dillon Ward for the Colorado Mammoth and Six Nations Chiefs.

Kirk and Ward are the co-favourites to win the award, which will be announced at the NLL's annual awards celebration in September. Kirk won IL Indoor's goalie of the year award by a single point over Ward in the Indoor voting. Rose finished fourth, trailing Anthony Cosmo by a single point.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Lakers solidify first place with 14-6 win over Redmen

Mark Steenhuis led the Lakers with 3 goals and 3 assists 
in their 14-6 win over Brooklin. (Photo: Kendall Taylor)
The Peteborough Lakers had moved into first place in Major Series Lacrosse Thursday with a 9-5 win over the Six Nations Chiefs. Saturday night they dominated their other main rival for top spot with a 14-6 win over Brooklin that pulled the Lakers (7-2) three points clear of the second-place Redmen (5-3-1). 

The standings are likely to return to the congested state that has become the norm this season, though. Both the Chiefs (5-3) and the Oakville Rock (5-3), who are tied for third with 10 points each, play the fifth-place Cobourg Kodiaks (1-6-1) over the next two days. 

Peterborough took control of Saturday's game, which was the culmination of a five-game Lacrosse Day in Durham celebration, with a 6-goal run in the first period and never let the Redmen get back within reach. 

Rookie Zach Currier, who has tantalized with his speed in transition but has had trouble finishing this summer, scored a pair of goals just a minute apart during that run. 

The teams scored 4 goals each during the second period, but any thoughts of a home team comeback swirled down the drain in the third as Peterborough put up a 4-0 period to emphasize that--at least for the time being--they are the king of the MSL mountain. The defending MSL champs were led by Mark Steenhuis' 3 goals and 3 assists. Chad Culp also had a hat trick for Peterborough and added an assist.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cobourg Kodiaks earn first win since moving to new home, down Brampton 8-6

Matt Crough leads Cobourg in scoring with 10g, 9a, 19pts through 8 games.
(Photo: Anna Taylor)
The Cobourg Kodiaks had come close, including forcing powerhouses Six Nations and Brooklin to overtime and earning a tie against the latter, but they hadn't managed to crack the win column before Thursday night.

That changed when, despite being outshot 55-36 by Brampton, Cobourg made an early lead stand up as they beat the Excelsiors 8-6 behind a 49-save performance by Rance Vigneux and leading scorer Matt Crough's 2 goals and an assist.

The Kodiaks led 4-2 after the first period, 7-5 after the second and traded just one goal each with Brampton on the third.

Interestingly, the result follows a pattern that sees an almost direct correspondence between Cobourg's penalty minutes and their success. Simply put, the fewer penalty minutes they have taken, the better they have performed.

In games where the Kodiaks have accumulated large penalty minute totals, they have lost by large margins. Following are their three highest penalty minute games and the results.

48 minutes vs Oakille; lost 10-5
45 minutes vs Peterborough; lost 15-2
56 minutes vs Peterborough; lost 15-7

In an earlier game against Brampton, the Kodiaks looked like they were on the verge of winning despite taking 22 minutes in penalties. Cobourg led 6-1 in the second period but were outplayed substantially in the game's finally 30 minutes and gave up 9 straight goals to lose 10-6.

In the games where they have kept their time in the sin bin to 15 minutes or less, though, they've been highly competitive. They took 15 minutes in each of their 11-9 overtime loss to Six Nations and their 9-9 overtime tie with Brooklin.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Birkhof suspended four games for actions in June 19 game

Broedie Birkhof has been suspended four games. (Photo: Anna Taylor)
Major Series Lacrosse Commissioner Jim Brady has announced that Cobourg Kodiaks player Broedie Birkhof has been suspended for four games as a result of his actions in a game on Sunday, June 19.

Birkhof received major penalties for fighting and instigating after an incident where he repeatedly punched Peterborough Lakers defender Stephen Hoar in the back of the head while Hoar was laying face down on the concrete and both referees were trying to pull Birkhof away.

The Kodiaks' player also received one game misconduct for the instigating penalty and another for getting two major penalties in one game.

Birkhof must miss at least three games. Cobourg is able to buy back the fourth game of the suspension if they so choose. That means Birkhof will miss games tonight in Brampton, Sunday at home against Six Nations and Monday in Oakville.

Brooklin Redmen jump from fourth to first with 6-4 win over Oakville Rock

Derek Suddons and the Brooklin defence held Oakville in check Wednesday.
The Brooklin Redmen clearly learned their lessons about playing the Oakville Rock. Nine days after getting run out of the rink in Oakville as the Rock took a 13-5 win, Brooklin turned the tables at home to win 6-4. In the process, the Redmen jumped from fourth to first in Major Series Lacrosse.

One of the lessons was, have your goaltender play really well. Zach Higgins made 51 saves just a night after making 50 in a 9-7 overtime loss to the Six Nations Chiefs.

“He's played incredible the last two games,” said Brooklin captain Derek Suddons after Wednesday's win. “I thought he played excellent last night in Six Nations. He deserved a better fate and certainly it paid off tonight in the win for him.”

Rookie Austin Shanks led all scorers with 3 goals but he deflected the credit to everyone around him. “For that team to put up more than 10 on us and then our defence and our goalie to hold them to four, it's phenomenal,” Shanks said of the turnaround from last week's game. “Our goalie and our defence as a unit played phenomenal tonight. They were the backbone of our team.”