The Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks took a lead, fell behind then came back to force overtime and eventually pull off an 8-7 win over the Oakville Rock Monday night. Craig England took a pass from Joey Cupido on a 3-on-1 break and tucked the winning goal into the net behind Nick Rose for the only goal of the extra period. Dhane Smith led the way for the Kodiaks with 3 goals and an assist while Jamie Rooney and Corey Fowler each had a goal and 4 assists for KW. Jeremy Noble, playing his first Major Series Lacrosse game, had 4 assists for Oakville. Brendan Thenhaus and Patrick Corbett each scored twice for the Rock. The game was Oakville's second straight loss in overtime.
The Kodiaks got off to a good start thanks largely to Dillon Ward, who turned aside all 16 shots he faced in the first period (and 49 of 56 overall) to help KW take a 4-0 advantage into the first intermission. They got goals from Fowler and Smith then a pair from Ryan Benesch on similar shots mid-height to Rose's right side about a minute apart.
Oakville started to find the range in the second period while keeping KW in check to go on a 7-1 run to the midway point of the third period, taking a 7-5 lead and looking like they had control of the game. Then Rooney and Smith connected back to back less than a minute apart with about five minutes to play in regulation to even things up.
The play was back and forth with some good chances on either side through the rest of regulation time and through six minutes of the overtime, but both defences stepped up their play to limit shots to ones the goalies could see for the most part. Shortly before England's goal, Smith ripped a bounce shot from outside that appeared it may have gone into the net just below the crossbar but was judged to have hit to pipe so play continued. Oakville went back down the floor and got a shot off on a 2-on-1. Ward made the save, Cupido scooped the ball up in the crease and raced back up to set up what became the winning goal.
England said his experience playing some offence in Junior A helped him be a little comfortable finding himself in the offensive zone “but over the years I've been a D guy so it's always a little nerve wracking to get up there.”
The game was a physical affair, particularly in the second half of the first period when very little time was spent 5-on-5 because of a series of penalties to both teams. They settled down though, and played tough but clean lacrosse. “I think when you get two teams that are going to be battling for the third and fourth spots in the playoffs it's going to be a little chippy and a little aggressive,” said England. “I thought for the most part we matched their intensity and that's what we've got to do every game.”
For Noble, the game was an adjustment back to playing indoors. “It's tough,” he said of the transition back to the box game. “2012 in the Minto Cup was the last time I played box lacrosse so it's a little bit different. It's fun. I love this game; I like it more than field lacrosse. It's great to be back playing box lacrosse.”
Noble said he will get as many games in with Oakville as he can this summer, hopefully beyond the six minimum that are required to take part in the playoffs. Scheduling is difficult for him because he is also playing for the Denver Outlaws in Major League Lacrosse and for Canada's team for the world field lacrosse championships in July. “But I really want to be a part of this team,” he emphasized. “It's such a great group of guys and I want to get lots of box lacrosse in so it's going to be a priority. Not just six, hopefully more than that.”