|Mike Mawdsley and the Oakville Rock beat KW 9-7, pulling into a tie with the Kodiaks for fourth in MSL.|
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Oakville Rock stepped to the plate and hit big double, taking a 9-7 win over the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks Monday night to finish off a home-and-home sweep of the Kodiaks on consecutive nights. Rob Hellyer's hat trick and Stephan Leblanc's 4 assists were key components as the Rock's offensive leaders stepped up to help the team pull into a tie with KW for the fourth and final playoff spot in Major Series Lacrosse.
Oakville Head Coach Phil Sanderson was happy with his team's teams efforts all over the floor. “Both ends. Robbie was our leader out there on offence along with Steph. I thought Ethan O'Connor had a hell of a game for us, too. I thought he took control for us in the back end. Brad Gillies has been really good for us too lately. Those guys have been stepping up for us big time.”
The teams were tied 3-3 after the first period, then Oakville outscored KW 3-2 in each of the second and third. Special teams were a big difference: Oakville went 4-6 on the power play with two goals from Hellyer and transition markers from O'Connor and Damon Edwards. KW went 0-6 with the man advantage. The Kodiaks did get one shorthanded goal from Corey Fowler, who led the team with 3 goals and 2 assists.
KW Head Coach Steve Dietrich said there was another big difference between the teams. “Guys are working hard. I can't take that away from them,” Dietrich said. 'Our defence is playing well and [goalie] Steve Fryer's giving us a chance to win. But the best players in the game are the guys that rise to the occasion when it's needed. You saw last night and tonight that their best players did and ours didn't and that's basically the difference.”
Both teams are now 5-8 with five games left to play in the regular season. Sanderson said his team knew coming into this week that they'd need to beat KW twice to have a realistic shot at earning a postseason berth. Now the next step is to win a pair against Brampton, who is sitting right behind both teams at 4-9, starting this Thursday in Brampton. “What we started with at the beginning of the week was win both against Kitchener and both against Brampton, the two teams we're chasing,” Sanderson said. “So if we can beat those guys we're in the right direction. Our goal is to win three this week so come Thursday hopefully we can finish it off.”