The Oakville Rock knew they needed a win Thursday night to ensure themselves of a position in the 2015 Major Series Lacrosse playoffs, which would be the first time they would have earned a playoff berth (they appeared in the playoffs when all six teams qualified but never won a game). They also knew that the Brampton Excelsiors had played a hard game Wednesday in the hot box that is Whitby's Iroquois Park--losing 6-3--and that they were without their MVP, forward Joe Resetarits.
So the Rock put on a big push to start the third period of their game in Brampton (another very hot arena) and rode a 4-goal run to an 11-7 win and third place in the MSL standings. Brampton falls to fourth because while they were tied with Oakville at 14 points they lost the season series to the Rock 3-1.
Stephan Leblanc took charge in the game, scoring 4 goals and 4 assists including a goal and a pair of assists in the critical third-period run. Brett Hickey showed that he's getting back to full health after a high ankle sprain by potting 2 goals and adding 3 assists. Nick Rose made 57 goals as the Excelsiors out shot them 64-53.
Oakville opens the playoffs Sunday night at 7 pm with Game 1 of their best of seven semifinal against Lakers at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. Brampton, meanwhile, falls to fourth place and heads to Six Nations next Tuesday for the first game of their semi against the first-place Chiefs.