The Brampton Excelsiors had plenty of new faces in the lineup for their Saturday night game against the Six Nations Chiefs, but they didn't let that stop them from pulling out a 4-3 win thanks to a phenomenal performance by goalie Tye Belanger. He made 53 saves to lead the Excels to their fourth win of the season and a game ahead of the Oakville Rock in the win column for fifth place. Brampton scored three times in the first period, added a goal in the second then held on to earn the victory over a Six Nations team whose lineup was also featuring several different players than usual. Nine Chiefs players are currently taking part in the world field lacrosse championships.
One player who was on the floor for the Chiefs was Colin Doyle, the veteran leader who had missed the entire season so far because of an injury. Doyle was thrilled to be back on the floor. “It felt awesome. I missed it. It's what I love to do,” Doyle said. “Obviously my timing was off. My shooting was poor. But I got involved in the game. It was a good game. I didn't feel like I played great but I got involved and that was all I really expected from tonight. It was disappointing we didn't win but felt great to be out there.”
Doyle scored one goal and looked better and better as the game went on after taking about a period to find his legs. The whole team was a bit shaky in the first period as they adjusted to playing with new teammates. “In the second and the third we found our rhythm. Their goalie played really well. Especially in the second I thought we threw everything we had at him and he made saves. Whether that's on us or just a great game by him I'm not sure, but you have to tip your hat to him. It's disappointing we lost but in the second and third I thought we played really well offensively, we just didn't score.”
The Chiefs weren't the only ones getting accustomed to new teammates. With several players missing because of other commitments, Brampton had four Jr B players and a Jr A callup in their roster. “A lot of introductions in the dressing room right before warmup so it was kind of funny in that regard. Kudos to the guys who came up,” said Brampton captain Chris Corbeil. “I'd love to list them by name but to be quite frank I don't know who these guys were. But they played fantastic. The guys on D were fantastic. It's not an easy system on defence to pick up quickly and they managed to.”
Corbeil had high praise for the keeper, as well. “Belanger was ridiculously good. He was our MVP tonight, obviously,” Corbeil said. “He saw a lot of rubber. We tried to keep it to the outside for him but he stopped breakaways, he stopped them when they did get inside and he stopped a ton from the outside from good shooters like Beirnes and Doyle and Keogh. All the credit in the world to Tye, he played fantastic.”