Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kodiaks hold on to beat Chiefs 9-8, Redmen come back to down Excelsiors 9-7

The Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks took an early lead then battened down the hatches and weathered the storm that was the Six Nations Chiefs comeback to take a 9-8 win in Major Series Lacrosse play Saturday at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena. The Kodiaks scored twice in the first 1:01, led 4-2 after a period and were up 8-3 after two periods. Then Mike Woods broke away alone and tucked the ball past the feet of Brennor Jacobs for what would prove to be the only goal they'd get on the Chiefs backup goalie, who replaced Evan Kirk after KW's eighth goal. Luckily for the Kodiaks, that one third-period goal would be the only one they'd need. Six Nations came back to get the final five goals of the game but weren't able to find the equalizer.

In last night's other game, Brooklin staged a successful comeback to beat the Brampton Excelsiors 9-7. The Redmen trailed 7-5 after Mike Burke opened the third period with a goal for Brampton, but they rebounded with the final 4 goals of the game, including an empty netter, to improve their league-leading record to 10-1. Junior callup Austin Shanks led the Redmen with 2 goals and 1 assist, the same stat line produced by his former Whitby Warriors teammate and current Brooklin rookie Curtis Knight. Kyle Perreira had a hat trick for the Excelsiors and Burke led all scorers with his goal and 3 assists.

Luke Laszkiewicz led the Kodiaks with 3 goals and 2 assists and Mitch Wilde chipped in a pair of transition goals for KW. Jeff Shattler led all scorers, tallying a goal and 6 assists for the Chiefs. Dean Hill added a pair of goals and an assist and Roger Vyse 1 goal and 3 assists for Six Nations. Those helpers put Vyse into a tie with Shawn Williams for most assists in MSL, with 31.

"Roger's been here ten or twelve years and he's changed his game a little bit," Chiefs Head Coach Rich Kilgour said of Vyse. "He knows there are some other guys who are going to score a little more, he sets some picks and looks for the open guy and all of a sudden now he's in the top two in the league in assists. I'm really happy for him, that guy shows up every night. I think he's been here every night since the beginning of the season and that's why he's got the A on his shirt and he's having a great year."

Kilgour said his team just needed to bring the energy they had in the third earlier in the game. It didn't help any that the team was missing six players who had already departed for the world field lacrosse championships in Denver. "I don't want to yell at these guys or say anything bad about them. They're here doing their all and we're missing six guys. And it's not even those guys' fault, they've got a big international tournament coming up. It is what it is. What are we going to do, we're missing six regulars every night. So until you can get a full commitment from everyone this stuff's going to happen."

KW was also shortstaffed, missing Jamie Rooney and Corey Fowler, two of their three leadings scorers, and only being able to dress 16 runners. "We were short runners for the game and everybody came out firing," said Laszkiewicz, so the Kodiaks were pleased with the effort they put out to get the win. "It's huge for us, the start to a huge weekend. We play Peterborough [tonight] and that's going to be another battle."