Friday, July 31, 2015

Steenhuis may be returning to Lakers sooner than expected

Mark Steenhuis is close to a return with the Peterborough Lakers.
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
On the evening when one of their stars was busy chasing the league scoring title en route to a 12-4 win over the KW Kodiaks, the Peterborough Lakers received more good news. Shawn Evans scored 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) to pull within one of Dhane Smith for the Major Series Lacrosse lead. Even better for the Lakers, he could soon be rejoined on the Lakers right side by Mark Steenhuis, who was believed to have been lost for the year to a knee injury early in the season.

Peterborough GM Paul Day said Thursday that Steenhuis is likely to take warmup with the team this Sunday when they open the semifinals at home against the Oakville Rock. Day said the doctor let them know three or four weeks ago that the injury did not involve an ACL tear, as originally feared, and that it is healing well. Now Steenuis is close to returning. 

"It's a positive sign that we're probably going to see him at some point in the playoffs. We're expecting him to play in the playoffs, we just don't know when, but it could be sooner than later," Day said. 

Steenuis led the league in scoring in 2014 with 43 goals and 40 assists. His 83 points were 26 more than second-place Shayne Jackson of the Brooklin Redmen. But this summer he appeared in just four games (8g, 6a, 14pts) before being hurt. 

"The more athletes we get the better," Day said of adding the highly athletic Steenhuis to the roster. "Obviously, it's pretty tough to check him, Curtis Dickson and Shawn Evans. It's a good combination and I think it just makes us that much better all around the floor."

Lakers dump Kodiaks 12-4 to finish regular season on winning note

Shawn Evans had 6 goals and 5 assists to lead the Lakers to a 12-4 win over
KW in the season finale and within a point of Dhane Smith for the scoring
title. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Peterborough Lakers entered Thursday night's game against the Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks with second place already clinched and just awaiting the result of the night's other game to determine their first-round playoff opponent (it turned out to be Oakville).

So, without another tangible goal to shoot for in the game, the Lakers dedicated much of their effort to helping Shawn Evans try to earn the league's scoring title. He started the game 12 points behind Six Nations' Dhane Smith (90-78). When Evans started the game with 4 goals and an assist in the first 12:17, the fans and his teammates got caught up in the chase.

"I looked at it but it didn't even really cross my mind. But I think my teammates were really talking about it and after I got a couple early in the game there was a chance for it," Evans said. "It wasn't for a lack of effort because they were all feeding me the ball at the end of the game, but it wasn't mean to be. I had a few chances, I had a breakaway at the end, but overall we got the win but we've got to be ready to go for playoffs."

Oakville earns first MSL playoff berth with 11-7 win over Brampton

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.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Could there be a bonus game to MSL season?

Will Shawn Williams and the Redmen wind up playing a one-game playoff for
the final postseason berth in MSL? (Photo: Tim Prothero)
According to MSL Commissioner Jim Brady, if there is a tie for the fourth and final playoff spot, the tied teams will play a one-game playoff to determine who earns fourth place. That possibility will come to fruition if Brampton and Oakville happen to play to a tie tonight in the final game of the regular season.

That scenario would leave Brooklin and Oakville tied for fourth with 6-11-1 records good for 13 points. The winner of the one-game playoff would face the Six Nations Chiefs in the MSL semifinals while Brampton would finish third and play Peterborough in the semis.

No date has been set for the potential one-game playoff.

7 of 9 players in IL Indoor's National Lacrosse League mock draft are from MSL

Graeme Hossack is expected to be one of the first players selected in the
2015 NLL Entry Draft. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
IL Indoor, the world's leading box lacrosse web site, has published its first mock of the 2015 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft. Seven of the nine players listed as first round draft picks are Major Series Lacrosse players. Read the full story here.

The seven MSL players, in order that they are projected to be drafted, are: Oakville's Wes Berg, Brooklin's Graeme Hossack, Peterborough's Chad Tutton and Turner Evans, Six Nations' Randy Staats, Brooklin's Reilly O'Connor and Oakville's Mitch De Snoo.

Other MSL players mentioned in the article as potential picks in the first half of the draft include Dan Lintner and Mike Triolo of Brooklin; Brad Gillies of Oakville; and Luc Magnan of Brampton. John St. John has played a few games with Brooklin since finishing his season with the Toronto Beaches Jr A team and several other players mentioned were in MSL last season.

Redmen stay alive in playoff hunt with 6-3 win over Excelsiors

Mike Poulin has been seeing the ball well, and that didn't change Wednesday as he gave up just three goals to lead Brooklin to a 6-3 win over the Brampton Excelsiors, keeping the Redmen's playoff hopes alive. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Brooklin Redmen had their backs against the wall Wednesday night and they responded with a solid team effort to pull out a 6-3 win over the Brampton Excelsiors. With the win, Brooklin moves into fourth place, one point ahead of the Oakville Rock.

Brampton is in third with 14 points (7-10), Brooklin has 13 (6-11-1) and Oakville has 12 (6-11). Tonight's Oakville at Brampton game will decide the final playoff standings. If Brampton wins, they will finish third and Brooklin will be fourth. If Oakville wins, they finish third and Brampton is fourth.

Six Nartions (15-3) will finish first. Peterborough (13-4) is locked into second place. The Lakers play KW (4-12-1), who will finish last, tonight in Peterborough.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Water under the bridge," Stewart says as Excelsiors take on Redmen with playoffs on the line

Paul Stewart coaching the New York Titans.
One year ago, Paul Stewart was an assistant coach with the Brookin Redmen as they finished first in the Major Series Lacrosse regular season and was the heir apparent to veteran Head Coach and GM Wayne Colley. With Colley having retired from his job and having been saying for several years that he was going to be retiring from coaching soon, as well, it appeared that Stewart's time to be a head man was coming soon. Well, it turned out that it was, but not in Brooklin.

During the off-season, before the MSL draft in January, Stewart received a text from Colley saying that the team was going in a different direction and his services as a coach would no longer be required. Stewart, as you could have guessed, was not very pleased either with being let go or with being informed via text message.

So, now how does he feel as his Brampton Excelsiors head into town with the chance to eliminate the Redmen from playoff contention Wednesday night? “If you had told me then that it would come down to their last game of the season and I had the opportunity to eliminate them from the playoffs I would have thought that was a storybook but right now it is water under the bridge and my main focus is securing third-place and nothing else,” Stewart asserts.

Brooklin has to win Wednesday or they won't be in the postseason. While Brampton has already clinched a berth in the playoffs, the game isn't meaningless to them; a win would ensure them of third place.