Friday, July 29, 2016

Evans leads scorers, Vinc and Rose top goalies in MSL regular season

Shawn Evans won his third MSL scoring title this year, leading the league in both points and assists. (Photo: Dave Fryer)

Shawn Evans put himself in elite company by winning the Major Series Lacrosse scoring title this summer. He becomes the sixth man to win at least three, joining legendary players Johnny Shooter Davis and Josh Sanderson at three Ontario senior scoring championships each. Shawn Williams won six titles, Bill Isaacs seven and all-time leading scorer John Tavares nine.

Evans finished with 82 points, giving him a 13-point cushion despite sitting out the final two games of his Peterborough Lakers' regular season. He also collected more assists, 60, than all but second-leading scorer Cody Jamieson of the Six Nations Chiefs. Evans also led the league in assists with Jamieson second at 49.

Evans' third title moves him ahead of the 13 players who won two each. That group includes an interesting array of former stars. They range from Norm Zimmer, who won the first two OLA senior scoring championships in 1925 and '26 to Scott Evans, Shawn's older brother who won titles in 2005 & '06. A pair of current Brooklin coaches, Derek Keenan and Gil Nieuwendyk, each won a pair, as did Peterborough legends J.J. Johnston, Bobby Allan and Larry Ferguson.

Wes Berg barely held on for the goal-scoring lead. Berg had 32 goals, one more than Cory Vitarelli, who almost caught him by scoring six in Peterborough's final game Tuesday night. Berg played 17 games this season and Vitarelli 14.

Schedule released for Brooklin vs Six Nations semifinal

The schedule has been announced for the Major Series Lacrosse best of seven semifinal between the second-place Brooklin Redmen and third-place Six Nations Chiefs.

Game 1 - Wednesday Aug 3rd @ Brooklin 8pm
Game 2 - Saturday Aug 6th @ Six Nations 7pm
Game 3 - Monday Aug 8th @ Brooklin 8pm
Game 4 - Wednesday Aug 10th @ Six Nations 8pm
Game 5 - Friday Aug 12th @ Brooklin 8pm *
Game 6 - Saturday Aug 13th @ Six Nations 7pm *
Game 7 - Tuesday Aug 16th @ Brooklin 8pm *

*if necessary

Schedule released for Peterborough vs Oakville semifinal

The schedule for the semifinal between the first-place Peterborough Lakers and fourth-place Oakville Rock has been announced. The sequence of games is a little unusual because the Lakers don't have access to their Memorial Centre home next week during the Peterborough Exhibition. 

Game 1  Tuesday, August 2 in Peterborough, 7:45 pm
Game 2  Friday, August 5 in Oakville, 8 pm
Game 3  Monday, August 8 in Oakville, 8 pm
Game 4  Thursday, August 11 in Peterborough, 8 pm
Game 5*  Saturday, August 13 in Peterborough, 7 pm (note earlier start time)
Game 6*  Monday, August 15 in Oakville, 8 pm
Game 7*  Thursday, August 18 in Peterborough, 8 pm

*if necessary

Lakers down Kodiaks 19-9 to wrap up MSL regular season schedule

John Grant was passing up a storm Thursday night. He had 9 assists to go
with his 3 goals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
A week ago, John Grant Jr. looked like an old lacrosse player. Thursday night, he looked like the old John Grant.

The 41-year-old Grant took a few games looking for his rhythm when he returned to the Peterborough Lakers after a summer spent primarily playing professional field lacrosse. It's safe to say he's found it. With the Lakers already having clinched first place before their game against Cobourg Thursday, Grant put on a passing display for the 3,238 fans at the Memorial Centre as the Lakers dumped the Kodiaks 19-9 in the final game of the Major Series Lacrosse regular season. Six Nations downed Brampton 10-4 in the other game Thursday.

Grant had 3 goals and 9 assists, picking apart even small seams in the Kodiaks defence the way he has for years en route to being one of the highest-scoring and most exciting players in the game. He earned 4 assists on goals by Cory Vitarelli alone. Grant also sprinted back to break up a breakaway chance by Cobourg transition player Chad Cummings late in the fourth quarter with the win well in hand.

Vitarelli had a big night as well, scoring 6 goals. The final one elicited one well-prepared fan to toss a pair of socks onto the floor to celebrate Vitarelli's sock trick. Adam Jones chipped in 3 goals and 3 assists and Mark Steenhuis 2 goals and 4 assists for Peterborough.

Peterborough native and former Laker Matt Crough led the Kodiaks with 4 goals. His last one was reminiscent of a Grant play. Shorthanded, Crough snapped up a pass that had been tipped by a defender en route to him atop the crease, threw a crazy dangle at the defender who picked him up and eventually fired a fancy underhand past Matt Vinc.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Playoff seedings finalized as Brooklin beats Oakville 9-6

The playoff matchups are all set in Major Series Lacrosse after the Brooklin Redmen secured second place with a 9-6 win over the Oakville Rock Wednesday night at Iroquois Park in Whitby.

Curtis Knight led the way with 5 goals, including 3 in the decisive third period, to set up a semifinal meeting with the third-place Six Nations Chiefs that will start next Wednesday in Whitby. First-place Peterborough will play host to Oakville, who finish fourth, in the first game of the other semifinal next Tuesday.

Oakville would have finished ahead of Brooklin had they won last night to split this week's home and home and thus the season series. The Rock got off to a good start when Glen Bryan scored on a transition break just under three minutes in. Knight evened things up about 10 minutes later, but Oakville went into the locker room up 3-1 after Stephan Leblanc and Dan MacRae scored 24 seconds apart later in the period.

Bryan Cole was given a five-minute roughing major when he collided with Brooklin goalie Zack Higgins just over a minute into the second period. Higgins lay on the floor for quite a while as a melee ensued behind his net. When he got back up, he was awfully tough to beat.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Redmen take defensive battle 5-4 over Rock

Austin Shanks, here scoring against Brampton, had the winner for the
Redmen in their crucial Monday win. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Brooklin Redmen assured that they will still have something to play for on Wednesday while the Oakville Rock missed a chance to assure themselves of at least third place in Major Series Lacrosse action Monday night at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville.

The teams were tied entering the night with Oakville holding the edge for potential tiebreakers between the teams by virtue of outscoring Brooklin by six goals in the two games they split earlier in the season. But the Redmen kept their hopes for second place in the final standings alive with a 5-4 win on Austin Shanks' goal with three and a half minutes to play.

Both goalies came to the fore, with sparkling save percentages. Oakville's Nick Rose posted an .884 mark by making 38 saves on 43 shots. Mike Poulin was even better for Brooklin, though. He turned aside 42 of 46 shots for an NHL-like .913 percentage.

The game didn't look like it would be so low-scoring early on. Damon Edwards got the Rock off and running with a goal just 56 seconds into the game. Fellow transition player Mitch Wilde evened it up at the 2:20 mark.

When Jeremy Noble connected at 5:10 of the first, the teams were on track to score over 30 total goals. The offence ground to a halt at that point, though. Nobody was able to score for almost an entire period. The next player to find the back of the net was Brooklin's Mark Matthews at 3:15 of the second.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Davide DiRuscio receives 5-game suspension, out for rest of the season

Davide DiRuscio, here playing for the Kodiaks last season,
has been suspended for five games. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Cobourg Nissan Kodiaks goaltender Davide DiRuscio has been suspended for five games as a result of the match penalty he received for intent to injure in Cobourg's July 10 game against the Brampton Excelsiors.

DiRuscio became engaged with Tyler Ferreira along the boards by the Cobourg goal line. Ferreira was injured on the play and is believed to be out for the season. The goalie will also miss the rest of the season for Cobourg, as the Kodiaks had five games remaining on their schedule and have been eliminated from playoff contention.