Thursday, May 30, 2013

Brooklin beats Six Nations to remain unbeaten in game that had to switch rinks to be completed

CLax scoring champ Corey Fowler's 4 goals weren't enough
 for the Six Nations Chiefs, who fell 9-8 to Brooklin.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but Cody Jamieson may have been reconsidering after the fact. The Six Nations Chiefs led the Brooklin Redmen 5-4 with 7:39 to play in the second period Wednesday night when referees Brent McCauley and Stephen Line made the proper decision to suspend play because slippery floor conditions were making it unsafe to continue. It was announced over the PA system that the game was being called, the teams lined up and shook hands and headed to their dressing rooms. But Jamieson had an idea that bore fruit. Officials checked the other pads in the Iroquois Park Sports Centre and found that Pad 3 was available as a game had just finished there. So the teams and fans headed over and completed what turned out to be the game of the year so far in Major Series Lacrosse, a 10-9 Brooklin win that leaves them as the only undefeated team in the league.

Six Nations pulled out to a 3-goal lead in the final half of the third period and, with Brandon Miller playing very well in net, looked to have control of the game. But as Brooklin's Shawn Williams said, his team just stayed the course. “Just keep believing,” Williams said was their approach. “We were getting shots. It's a difference when you're playing a tough D, which they are, and you're not getting chances. We were getting good chances so we've just got to keep plugging away, keep plugging away.”

The approach worked to perfection as the Redmen were able to chip away at the lead and pull out the win. Mike Melnychenko scored a huge momentum-shifting goal when he emerged from a scrum with a loose ball just off the crease, charged towards the net and found a gap in Miller's five hole as he was being knocked to the floor.

Derek Hopcroft also scored a huge goal in the run, and Williams gave him credit for adapting to a new role this summer. “Bringing Gavin [Prout] in, he's similar to me where he wants to quarterback things. So now we have the quarterback, so that takes a little pressure off Hopcroft having to do that. Now he's just trying to find his feet and work a little more off ball, but it's starting to come together.”

The Redmen have a wealth of offensive talent and they're succeeding thanks to a team approach that sees the ball moving quickly and everyone getting a chance to contribute. That was evident last night as eight different players scored goals, with only Williams netting a pair.

Six Nations, who dominated the first period and easily could have led by more than the 5-2 count that they did if they hadn't hit at least half a dozen posts, got over half of their scoring from Senior B callups. Scott Defrancesco opened the game with a goal on a hard drive to the net early on. Corey Fowler, who was the CLax scoring champion and whose rights were acquired by the Chiefs from Oakville before the season, had 1 goal before the game was moved. Then he caught fire in Pad 3, scoring 3 more goals using his quickness and accurate shooting.

Chiefs GM and Assistant Coach Duane Jacobs said it was a tough loss “but nothing that's not correctible. Just a couple of stray loose balls that we should have picked up but didn't and both of them ended up in our net. A bad penalty in the offensive zone in the third period and that cost us a goal. Other than that, it was a pretty good effort with the lineup we were able to put out there tonight.”

Six Nations returns to action this Sunday when they play host to the Peterborough Lakers. Brooklin has a week off before returning to action at home against the KW Kodiaks next Wednesday, June 5.