These days, everyone in box lacrosse is looking for the next Tom Schreiber. Could the Oakville Rock have found him?
Oakville was missing several of its regular players when they opened the 2017 Major Series Lacrosse season by facing the Kodiaks in Cobourg on Sunday afternoon. They wound up flooring an offensive left side of callup Todd Kozak, usual transition player Brandon Slade and someone named Connor Fields.
If you're just a box lacrosse person, there's a good chance you don't know Fields. He is an American field player who has starred with the Albany Great Danes in the NCAA. He puts up tons of points and has been a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, presented to the top player in US college lacrosse.
Fields hasn't played a whole lot of box lacrosse, although he did lead the Founders Cup Canadian Jr B championship tournament in scoring last year as a member of the Seneca War Chiefs, who hail from near his East Amherst, NY hometown.
He made his MSL debut a memorable one, scoring 2 goals and 3 assists to help Oakville dump the Kodiaks 13-5. He may not be the next Tom Schreiber—that's a lot of pressure to put on a young player, given that Schreiber is the reigning Major League Lacrosse MVP and came one point short of matching Randy Staats' rookie scoring record in a stunning National Lacrosse League season—but Fields showed that he's not overwhelmed by stepping up to the senior level.
Kozak and Joe French each had hat tricks for the Rock. Oakville also got solid contributions from some callups from the Jr A St. Catharines Athletics. Latrell Harris is no regular callup. The Toronto Rock rookie standout was solid for Oakville playing defence alongside Athletics' teammate Holden Garlent, who scored his first MSL goal on a lovely transition play.
Cobourg got off to a slow start, falling behind 4-1 in the first period, but kept battling through the second period and managed to post an even frame with each team scoring three times to exit the frame with Oakville up 7-4. The wheels came off for the home team in the third, though. Oakville ran roughshod to pile up a 6-1 advantage in the final 20 minutes and win going away.
John St. John and Logan Holmes each scored 2 goals to lead Cobourg. Nick Rose got the win in net for Oakville. Rose was solid for the Rock although he wasn't tested much as Oakville outshot Cobourg by a wide margin.
Oakville is back in action right away; the Peterborough Lakers come to the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre for the Rock's home opener Monday at 8 pm. Cobourg has Monday off then heads to Six Nations to face the Chiefs in their opener Tuesday at 8 pm.