Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Brooklin Redmen announce Matthews, Jackson, Knight, Hossack, Matisz to play in 2016

Mark Matthews is diving in MSL action this coming summer. (Photo: Larry Palumbo, Coyote Magic)
The Brooklin Redmen held their annual awards banquet Sunday night. It is an evening to look back on the past year and honour the top performers in the organization. The big news from the event, though, was a look ahead to the coming 2016 season and the announcement that five key players on the team's list of players plan to be in uniform.

The biggest name is Mark Matthews. The Whitby Warriors grad was the second leading scorer in the National Lacrosse League last winter and helped Canada win a gold medal at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships in September. Matthews has never actually played for the Redmen other than a pair of playoff games as a junior callup back in 2009. He won a pair of Minto Cups, one with Coquitlam and the other with the Warriors.

Matthews has not played much senior lacrosse; his only action was a partial season with Langley of the WLA in 2013. None the less, the lefty forward has established himself as one of the best players in the world over the past few years and should provide an immediate and massive impact to the Redmen's offence.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Derek Keenan joins Brooklin Redmen as assistant coach

The Brooklin Redmen have added a big name to their bench. Derek Keenan has come aboard as an assistant coach, joining head coach/GM Wayne Colley and fellow assistants Gil Nieuwendyk and Brad MacArthur on the coaching team.

Keenan has three times won the National Lacrosse League's Coach of the Year and General Manager of the Year awards (2006, 2010, 2014) and in 2015 led the Edmonton Rush to their first Champions Cup. He has also had success at the junior level, coaching the Whitby Warriors to Minto Cup wins in 2011 and 2013. Keenan will remain head coach of the Warriors while a suitable replacement is sought.

Keenan and Colley are both Oshawa residents who won three Mann Cups together on the Redmen in the mid 80s.

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Brooklin Redmen franchise.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Major Series Lacrosse well represented in 2015 NLL Entry Draft

The first round of the 2015 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft was dominated by players coming from Major Series Lacrosse. Seven of the nine first-round picks played in MSL this past summer and 11 of the first 17 picks were MSL players. In total, 15 MSL players from this season were selected in the draft.

Graeme Hossack was the first MSL player chosen, second overall to the Rochester Knighthawks after Lyle Thompson had gone first to the Georgia Swarm. After Georgia took Jesse King third, a run of seven straight MSL players followed.

Georgia and Calgary each chose a pair of MSL players in the first round of the draft. Georgia nabbed Chad Tutton fifth and Randy Staats sixth. Calgary gook Wes Berg with the fourth pick then selected Reilly O'Connor seventh.

Another drafted player, Jacob Ruest, spent 2014 in MSL and 18 more are Ontario junior players who will look to crack MSL rosters in 2016 or beyond.

Below are the full results of the NLL draft. MSL players are indicated by an asterisk before their selection number.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Shamrocks finish off Mann Cup victory with 12-6 win over Lakers in Game 6

Corey Small was named the Mike Kelly Award winner as the Mann Cup MVP as the Victoria Shamrocks downed the Peterborough Lakers 12-6 in Game 6 to take the series 4-2. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)

The Victoria Shamrocks are the 2015 Mann Cup champions after downing the Peterborough Lakers 12-6 Friday night to win the series 4-2. Dan Dawson had 8 assists and Mike Kelly MVP award winner Corey Small a hat trick and an assist to lead the Shamrocks in a game they largely controlled from the outset. Jesse King and Karsen Leung each added a pair of goals for Victoria. Six different players scored for the Lakers. Aaron Bold made made 31 saves on 38 shots for an .838 save percentage to earn the win.

Victoria came out of the gates with a burst of energy and controlled play almost throughout the first period. They got on the board on yet another outside shot from Small. A pair of transition goals from Leung opened the spread. Both times Leung broke out of the Victoria end, the first receiving a breakout pass from Bold and the second taking off with a picked off pass. He bounced a shot past the right foot of Matt Vinc on the first and ripped one past Vinc's left shoulder on the second.

The shots at one point were 13-6 and those numbers were representative of the flow of play. Victoria was pushing the pace and creating scoring chances at one end of the floor with crisp ball movement and a solid screen game.

At the other end of the floor, the Shamrocks' defence was playing even better than their offence. They were spreading out high to pick up the Lakers well away from their goal, which is a risky approach against a team with as much talent at Peterborough. Victoria made it work, though, because their defenders played athletic, tenacious one-on-one D while employing an alert and cohesive slide game.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Stamplax Mann Cup Blog, Post 2: Lagoons and Geckos and Woodies, oh my

By Stephen Stamp

Hatley Castle on the campus of Royal Roads University. 
 It's always a pleasure to get back to Victoria, where I lived a good portion of my adult life. I moved here when I was 22 to go to school at UVic and prepare for Olympic trials for rowing. Within a matter of weeks I'd decided I wasn't going back to Ontario right away. That decision led to a decade spent in the city, with an interlude to attend grad school in New Hampshire.

Moving back to Peterborough has been fantastic—you really appreciate what a great city it is when you return after an extended absence. Getting to be close to my family as well as the chance to be immersed in lacrosse the way I have been adds wonderful richness to my life. But there's no question that walking along Dallas Road rekindles fond memories of Victoria and my life here.

It's been great catching up with old friends—with more gatherings planned for the final few days of the trip—but best of all, of course, is the chance to watch the Mann Cup at the Q Centre. The 2013 Mann Cup was my first experience with lacrosse at the arena; when I was a Shamrocks fan back in the day the team played out of the Memorial Arena downtown. It's a great venue for the game, with a passionate fan base that is just thrilled about the team's return to prominence after a period in the shadows of the New Westminster Salmonbellies and Langley Thunder.

The view from the press box is excellent, but as with two years ago I've enjoyed the chance to sit in the stands for some games and experience the atmosphere of the rink full-on. With apologies to New West, which is probably next, there's no question that Victoria and Peterborough are the two best places in Canada to watch a senior lacrosse game. Packed houses, great lacrosse and excellent venues make it highly enjoyable. If only, as Victoria coach Bob Heyes suggested to the Peterborough Examiner, the series could be played in both cities.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Shamrocks take Game 5 in overtime to pull ahead three games to two in Mann Cup finals

The Victoria Shamrocks continued to employ a physical approach to defence and held the Peterborough Lakers to 5 goals in Game 5 of the Mann Cup. Victoria won 7-5 in overtime to take a 3-2 series lead. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)

Both goalies were stopping almost everything they were seeing in Game 5 of the 2015 Mann Cup, so it makes sense that the pair of overtime goals that eventually netted the Victoria Shamrocks a 7-5 win and a 3-2 lead in the best of seven Canadian senior lacrosse championship both came on screened shots.

Victoria came close to getting a pair of goals earlier in the overtime but both were waived off as crease violations. Jesse King was the first to have a goal nullified as his leg appeared to touch down inside the crease before the ball got across the goal line, although it was very close. The second one wasn't close—Scott Ranger drove in from the wing and buried the ball past Matt Vinc but his lead foot was clearly well past the crease line before the ball went in. In CLA play, the foot crossing the cylinder of the crease means it's no goal.

There was no question about Corey Small's goal at 5:15 of the extra frame, though. He took a pass from Dan Dawson and stepped into a low shot between two Peterborough defenders and past the legs of teammate Daryl Veltman. The ball skipped into the far corner and the soldout crowd at the Q Centre erupted in cheers that finally wouldn't be quashed by a referee pointing towards the crease.

In the final half minute, Dawson ended any hopes of a Lakers comeback with a straight overhand past another pair of defenders tied up with teammate Cory Conway that banked in off the far post.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Lakers even up Mann Cup with 8-6 win behind 4 Curtis Dickson goals

Curtis Dickson went around and through Shamrocks defenders for 4 goals to lead Peterborough to an 8-6 Game 4 win at the Mann Cup. He was named Peterborough's player of the game. (Photo: Kevin Light Photography)

The Peterborough Lakers have shown the ability to bounce back before, so it should come as no surprise that they rebounded from a dismal Game 3 defeat to down the Victoria Shamrocks 8-6 in Game 4 of the 2015 Mann Cup Tuesday to even up the series at two games apiece.

As has been their habit in the playoffs this year, the Lakers surrendered the first goal early in the first period. This time it was Rhys Duch connecting on an outside shot at 1:55 of the opening period. The scoring was spread out but the Lakers responded with a goal each of the five times the Shamrocks took the lead.

Scott Evans stepped back into the Peterborough lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last two games and he contributed some valuable work banging around in the offensive zone as well as chipping in with the Lakers' second goal and an assist. Curtis Dickson was the offensive star for the Lakers, though, scoring 4 goals and adding an assist after getting just a single assist before being kicked out of Game 3.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Shamrocks blow out Lakers 14-8 in Game 3 of Mann Cup to take 2-1 lead

Peterborough Lakers enjoying the scenery at the 17th hole of the course they golfed Sunday. 
Mark down September 6, 2015 as quite likely the last time the Major Series Lacrosse champions go golfing on the off day following Game 2 of the Mann Cup. In 2013, the Six Nations Chiefs had a team golf outing on the Sunday of the Mann Cup and proceeded to lay a bit of an egg, falling behind the Victoria Shamrocks 6-1 in the first period of Game 3 en route to an 8-6 loss.

This past Sunday, a day after a dominating 14-7 win in Game 2 of the 2015 Mann Cup, several Peterborough Lakers went golfing. The next day they gave up a 7-2 second period as the Victoria Shamrocks dusted them 14-8 to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

The Lakers will be happy enough if this series turns out the way the 2013 final did—Six Nations won the next three games to take the Mann Cup 4-2 for their first of back to back titles—but for now they may be ruing their 18 holes.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A day off is a good day for fishing

From left Mike Kirk, Evan Kirk and Nick Weiss show off their catch on the Sunday off day at the Mann Cup.
Eastern guys love to get out to the West Coast for the Mann Cup for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, of course, is the chance to win lacrosse's holy grail. Then there are the opportunities it presents. In 2013, Brandon Miller and Evan Kirk went fishing while they were in Victoria with the Six Nations Chiefs and they caught some pretty sweet fish.

Now, Kirk has returned and has once again hit the waters, along with his brother Mike Kirk and teammate Nick Weiss. Once again, the fishing has been good to the MSL champs, as you can see from the picture above.

The Shamrocks and Lakers will hit the floor again Monday night in a highly-anticipated Game 3 battle. When they do, some of the Lakers may just be fuelled by a delicious fish pre-game dinner.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Stamplax Mann Cup Blog, Post 1: The long and winding road from Peterborough to Victoria

Gorgeous Shuswap Lake as we cruised by on Friday, en route to Victoria for Game 1 of the Mann Cup. We got on the ferry to Victoria at 3 pm. (Photo: Stephen Stamp)
By Stephen Stamp

It's been quite a week since the Peterborough Lakers clinched the Major Series Lacrosse championship with a thrilling 6-5 win over the Six Nations Chiefs in Game 7 last Monday night. I'm going to share with you some of my travels and travails en route to the Mann Cup in Victoria, plus of course what's going on at the Mann itself.

Plans changed a bit when I found out Monday that I wouldn't be able to fly out to Victoria with the winning team on Wednesday. Because of the cost of tickets and other variables, there simply wasn't a ticket available for me to fly out to represent and report for the league. It was a bit of a quandary.

Driving home from the game in Six Nations with my girlfriend (Kerry) and my sister (Jane) we had time to stew about the situation and consider alternatives. Buying tickets for Kerry (my girlfriend) and I wasn't an option because the price had risen to over a thousand dollars. First, a brief history of my relationship with Kerry so that you'll understand how important it was for us to get out to Victoria this week.

We became friends almost two decades ago when we were both rowing in Victoria and we eventually dated for a while. After going our separate ways, we kept in touch over the years (thanks, Facebook), so when I was heading to the coast for the 2013 Mann Cup I messaged her. We met up and things just naturally rekindled. To make a long story short, after talking on the phone daily for months and Kerry coming to visit me in Peterborough the next February, we agreed that she would move from Victoria to the Boro and we would live together.

Kerry became a lacrosse fan watching the '13 Mann and getting to know the Chiefs players, with whom we ate breakfast every morning. Being a Victoria girl, she's also naturally a Shamrocks fan. And now a Lakers fan.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lakers fans: want to go to Victoria for the Mann Cup?

A letter from Peterborough Lakers President Ted Higgins to fans

Dear Fans,
Last trip to the Mann Cup, Rosemary and I put together a travel package for our Fans. We plan to do this again this year.
We would leave on Friday September 4 and return on Sunday September 13. Should the series not go seven games and you wish to return home early, it will be your responsibility to make your own arrangements.
Games are played on Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday and Thursday are off days.
Our estimated price of $2000.00 per person (double occupancy in rooms) will cover, airfare to Vancouver (one bag per person), transportation to and from Toronto, transportation to and from Vancouver to Victoria, room with double occupancy, transportation to and from games, post game gathering at hotel for comradery, some sightseeing excursions. This price does not include game tickets and meals. This is not a ‘for profit’ deal I am putting together.
We would be looking for drivers for the vehicles we plan to rent. Please bring your pink insurance slip should you wish to volunteer.
If you are interested in this package, please send your name, address, age, e-mail address and phone number to me. I can be reached at:
Home - 705-743-8314
Cell - 705-768-9755
Email - ted.higgins@hotmail.com
Please note, we would need 50 people to take advantage of this package.
Ted Higgins,
Peterborough Century 21 Lakers

Peterborough Lakers pull off 6-5 comeback win to take MSL championship 4-3 over Six Nations Chiefs

Turner Evans scores the winning goal in Game 7 of the MSL finals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

What a way to turn things around from last year. In the 2014 Major Series Lacrosse finals, the Six Nations Chiefs shut out the Peterborough Lakers over the last 36:43 of Game 7 to win the series and head to the Mann Cup, which they won for the second straight year over the Victoria Shamrocks.

Monday night, one year to the day later, the Lakers shut out the Chiefs over the last 30:16 of Game 7 to win the MSL finals and head to the Mann Cup, where they will play the Shamrocks in Victoria starting Friday night.

Even more oddly, the Lakers at one point trailed by the exact same 5-3 score by which the Chiefs had trailed last year. They didn't match the Chiefs 7-0 run to close out the game, but goals by Chad Tutton, Shawn Evans and Turner Evans were enough to give them a 6-5 win and their seventh MSL championship in 12 years. They'll be looking for their sixth Mann Cup title in that stretch.

Chiefs Head Coach Rich Kilgour said before the game he was thinking about putting Craig Point back into the lineup in large part because of his big shot. He followed through and Point made him look brilliant by scoring a pair of goals on low to high rockets, including the opening goal 35 seconds in that meant Six Nations scored first in each of the seven games.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Lakers and Chiefs set for another epic Game 7 to decide MSL championship

Shawn Evans and Dan Coates have been leading performers for their teams in the 2015 MSL finals. The Lakers and Chiefs meet one more time for the championship Monday night at 8 pm at the ILA. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

Monday night at 8pm at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, the Six Nations Chiefs will play host to the Peterborough Lakers in Game 7 of the Major Series Lacrosse finals. It's a rematch of last year's contest that saw a huge Chiefs comeback in which they scored the last seven goals of the game to win 9-5 and earn the right to play host to the Mann Cup, which they won for the second straight year in six games over the Victoria Shamrocks.

This year's winner will again face the Shamrocks, who are waiting at home after sweeping the New Westminster Salmonbellies in four games for the Western Lacrosse Association championship. There's still plenty of work to do for whichever team is going to hit the road Wednesday for the Mann Cup series starting this Friday at the Q Centre.

The MSL finals has been an exciting and competitive series. The Lakers defence and goaltending have limited the Chiefs to 10 goals or less in five of the six games. That would normally be enough to have wrapped up a series like this, but the Chiefs have responded by holding the Lakers to just six goals in each of four games.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Dickson scores 5 goals to lead Peterborough to 13-10 win, forcing Game 7 in MSL finals

Dhane Smith had 8 points for Six Nations, but Matt Vinc made enough saves to lead the Peterborough Lakers to a 13-10 win Thursday night, forcing a seventh and deciding game in the MSL finals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

The Peterborough Lakers had been in this situation before. It showed in the way they responded Thursday night in Game 6 of the Major Series Lacrosse championship series, winning 13-10 to force a Game 7 Monday night in Six Nations. You can watch the game live via JVI Sports Network.

Peterborough was down 3-2 after playing, as Head Coach Mike Hasen said, their worst game of the series in Game 5. Then, as had happened in every game in the series, Six Nations scored the opening goal Thursday when Johnny Powless tucked a shot home 43 seconds in.

The Lakers never let the Chiefs get more than a one-goal lead, though, and left the first period tied 5-5. The teams traded goals in the second with Cory Vitarelli getting the Lakers on the board 29 seconds in then Jeff Shattler answering at 8:26.

Then it became the Curtis Dickson show. Twice Dickson battled through a series of checks to fight his way to the net and score. Two other times he reared back and fired low shots that skipped into the net. His 4 goals in the second were part of a 6-2 period that sent the Lakers to the third with a four-goal lead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Chiefs run away with Game 5 11-6, take 3-2 MSL finals lead over Lakers

For the first time in the Major Series Lacrosse finals, the Six Nations Chiefs were able to put some distance between them and the Peterborough Lakers. Doing so led to a convincing 11-6 Game 5 victory at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena Monday night that gives the Chiefs a 3-2 lead in the series.

The Chiefs got the first goal again—they've done so in every game in the series—and were up 3-1 before Curtis Dickson finished off a first-period hat trick to get the Lakers back even heading into the intermission. The first two minutes of the second period would prove to make a huge difference in the game.

Kasey Beirnes, Johnny Powless and Randy Staats scored in the span of a minute and a half and the Chiefs had jumped out to a 6-3 lead in the blink of an eye. The Lakers fought back to within a goal but Six Nations pulled away again and led 9-6 after 40 minutes. Brandon Miller continued to be stellar in the Chiefs' net and Peterborough couldn't beat him at all in the third period.

Six Nations was getting more time to set up and step into outside shots than they have in previous games. “Our game plan was, try not to settle for what they're giving us,” Smith said. “They have a game plan, their defence. We noticed the first two games we were just settling for those shots. We worked a little bit harder, we're getting those shots and we're lucky to bury.”

Monday, August 24, 2015

Chiefs even up MSL finals with 8-6 win in Game 4

Brandon Miller is used to coming up big in big games. He did it again Sunday, leading the Six Nations Chiefs to an 8-6 win to tie up the best of seven MSL finals at two games each. (File photo: Kevin Light)

Stepping in to turn the tide is getting to be a habit for Brandon Miller. In 2013, he didn't play a minute in the playoffs but took over in the Mann Cup and helped the Six Nations Chiefs win the trophy for the first time since 1996. Last year, he split the playoffs with Evan Kirk and entered Game 7 of the MSL finals with the Chiefs trailing 4-1; they rebounded to win 9-5 and Miller went on to be the MVP of the Mann Cup as Six Nations earned back to back titles.

If the Chiefs head to Victoria to try to repeat their three-peat of the mid-90s, it will be largely thanks to Miller again. He stepped in for Dillon Ward in Game 2 of this year's MSL finals and, while he couldn't salvage that 18-14 loss, Miller has been the main man as the Chiefs have won back to back games to even the series including Sunday night's 8-6 win in which he stopped 49 of the 55 shots he faced.

Both wins have come with Kirk in net for the Lakers and playing outstanding lacrosse, as well. But Miller has made the stops the Chiefs needed to have and in Game 4 Ryan Benesch found his scoring touch to make the difference at the other end. Benesch entered the game with 4 goals in seven playoff games but connected five times and added a pair of assists.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Critical Game 4 goes off at 7 pm Sunday in Peterborough

Game 4 is often the key to a best of seven series. That certainly looks like it could be the case tonight as the Six Nations Chiefs travel to Peterborough to take on the Lakers in the fourth game of the 2015 Major Series Lacrosse finals.

The Lakers won the first two games and came back to tie up Game 3 in the third period, but ultimately the Chiefs pulled out a 7-6 win that kept them from falling into an almost insurmountable hole.

Now the fourth game represents either a chance for the Lakers to grab a stranglehold with a 3-1 series lead and put themselves within one win of a trip to Victoria to battle for the Mann Cup, or a chance for the Chiefs to build momentum towards taking aim at their third straight national title.

The game is available via a free live webcast by JVI Sports Network at 7 pm ET Sunday night. To watch the game, follow this link to JVI's web site and click on the viewer box in the left column of the screen.

Contrary to rumour, Brooklin Redmen are looking forward to 50th anniversary season in 2016

To paraphrase the great Mark Twain, reports of the demise of the Brooklin Redmen have been greatly exaggerated.  A Twitter post by Peterborough Lakers' television colour commentator Scott Arnold evoked a flurry in the Twitterverse. Arnold tweeted that he had heard the Redmen would not be returning to Major Series Lacrosse in 2016.

Brooklin president Dean Link was understandably angry about the post given that he is in the process of preparing for what is an historic season for the Redmen next summer, including negotiating with potential sponsors. The team is looking forward to celebrating its 50th season next year.

"Regarding the Twitter comment from Mr. Arnold, I do not know him or who his 'legitimate' source is, or what their motive might be, but there are no plan to fold the Brooklin Redmen," Link said. "Certainly Mr. Arnold has not spoken to me. I have been in touch with our team GM, assistant coach, social media director and team captain and no one seems to know where this is coming from. As a community owned and volunteer run team, we don't have an individual owner who could simply choose to fold the team so this assertion just doesn't make any sense."

Link said that in the last few weeks, the team has "working on adding sponsors, putting together articles and events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Redmen next season, preparing for our fall AGM, etc. There has been nothing else in the works, other than preparing for the 2016 season."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Six Nations beats Peterborough 7-6 to get their first win in Game 3 of MSL finals

Billy Dee Smith checks Turner Evans during Six Nations' 7-6 Game 3 win in the MSL finals. (Photo: Six Nations Chiefs)

The Six Nations Chiefs did what they needed to do, edging the Peterborough Lakers 7-6 in Game 3 for their first win of the 2015 Major Series Lacrosse championship series Friday. Stephen Keogh scored the winning goal just past the midway point in the third period of a game that reverted to a defensive struggle like Game 1 after the Lakers had beaten the Chiefs 18-14 in Thursday night's Game 2 shootout.

Dhane Smith had a hat trick, Randy Staats 2 goals and an assist Colin Doyle 4 assists for the Chiefs. Curtis Dickson had 2 sensational shorthanded goals and an assist for Peterborough and Shawn Evans chipped in a pair of goals.

Both goalies were excellent. Brandon Miller made 29 saves on 35 shots for Six Nations and Peterborough's Evan Kirk stopped 33 of the 40 shots he faced.

Miller said he was focused on the basics after struggling when he replaced Dillon Ward in Game 2. “I just tried to come in with a fresh start, see the ball and react,” Miller said. “If you're worried about that Dickson kid, who's something else, and this Evans that someone tells me about...if you're worried about where those guys are going to shoot you'll get beat, because they go everywhere. So it's just get back to seeing the ball and trying to react.”

Friday, August 21, 2015

Lakers outscore Chiefs 18-14 in wild game, take 2-0 finals lead

Zach Currier had several chances in the MSL finals before the Jr A callup finally got on the board, batting home the ball for this goal to make it 16-12 for Peterborough in the third period. (Photo: Tim Prothero) 

What a difference a couple of days can make. After just 10 goals were scored by the Peterborough Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs in Game 1 of the Major Series Lacrosse finals Tuesday night, the teams combined for 18 in the second period alone in Thursday's Game 2. Shawn Evans had a remarkable and historical night, scoring 7 goals and 7 assists to lead the Lakers to an 18-14 win that gives them a 2-0 lead in the best of seven series. The teams get right back at it in a series that is quickly turning into a classic and you can watch Game 3 at 8pm ET Friday night via JVI Sports Network's live webcast.

The teams were tied 3-3 after an exciting first period that had the Peterborough Memorial Centre crowd of 3,293 rocking. That was just a warmup, though. Peterborough outscored Six Nations 10-8 in a wild and wooly second period that included some spectacular plays and never saw a stretch of longer than 2:23 without a goal.

The tide looked to be turning the Chiefs way when Stephen Keogh—who missed Tuesday's game because of illness—scored his third of four goals in the game at 4:08 and Jay Thorimbert grabbed the ball as it came down from a high bounce and skipped it between Matt Vinc's legs just seven seconds later to go up 7-4.

The Lakers responded quickly, taking advantage of a too many men penalty and then a holding call to Brodie Merrill; they scored on both power plays (they would go four for six on the power play in the game while Six Nations failed to score on three man advantages).

Thursday, August 20, 2015

IN-VINC-ABLE Performance

Matt Vinc is shining in net for the Peterborough Lakers in the playoffs. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Story courtesy Craig Rybczynski, Rochester Knighthawks
Goalie Matt Vinc has made a career out of winning big games. On Tuesday night, he again showed why he is one of the most accomplished goalie in lacrosse. Vinc turned aside 41 shots in a 6-4 Peterborough win over the first-place Six Nations Chiefs in Game 1 of the Major Series Lacrosse Finals.
“By far he was the best player on the floor,” said Peterborough Lakers defenseman Mike Kirk. “We had some breakdowns and took some penalties in the second, but he bailed us out every time. He was just awesome.”
Game 1 was a goaltending duel between Lakers’ Vinc and the Chiefs’ Dillon Ward, who were both stellar in the series’ opening game. The two netminders combined for 37 saves in the first period as the teams battled to a 2-2 tie after one. The second period featured only three goals as Ward and Vinc fought off numerous transition opportunities. In the final period, however, Peterborough broke open the game early in the third on goals by Cory Vitarelli and Curtis Dickson (3+2) to build a 6-3 lead.
It was in the fourth that Vinc made his best saves of the game. With the game tightening up at 6-4 and Six Nations putting on the pressure, he stopped 88-point man Ryan Benesch on the doorstep and then batted away the rebound attempt by Johnny Powless – while lying on his back.
“He is a big game guy,” said Lakers defenseman Scott Self. “He has played in Mann Cups, Minto Cups and Champion’s Cups. The pressure definitely doesn’t get to Matty. It’s just another big game for him.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Chiefs players receive season awards before Game 1 of MSL finals

Major Series Lacrosse 2015 scoring champion Dhane Smith receiving his award from Commissioner Jim Brady. 
Commissioner Jim Brady was on hand Tuesday night in Six Nations to present a pair of 2015 league awards to Chiefs players. Dhane Smith received the award for the league's top scorer. It was a tight three-way battle between Smith, teammate Ryan Benesch and Peterborough's Shawn Evans.

Smith had 37 goals and 53 assists for 90 points in 18 games. Evans scored 11 points in Peterborough's final game of the season to fall just one short of Smith's total with 89 points. He had 29 goals and led the league with 60 assists.

Benesch led the league in goals with 43 and added 45 assists for 88 points. Both Evans and Benesch played 17 games.

Lakers take first game of MSL finals 6-4 over Chiefs

Cory Vitarelli (left) had a critical goal to help the Lakers jump out to a 1-0 lead in the MSL finals.

by Commissioner Jim Brady

The season-long waited for battle between the two top teams in the major series league commenced tonight Tuesday in the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Six Nations.

The game was preceded by the presentation of trophies to Chiefs goaltenders Dillon Ward and Brandon Miller, who ended up the season with two less goals against than the Peterborough crew of Matt Vinc and Evan Kirk. This was followed by the presentation of the leading scorer award in Major Series Lacrosse for 2015 to Dhane Smith, who ended up winning by one point over Peterborough’s Shawn Evans.

Six Nations were the league champions, edging out Peterborough by two points. Everything pointed towards exciting games and a long series.

The game itself was everything it promised to be. Both teams played great defense ran the ball like crazy and had ample opportunity to win the game.

However, offensive stars ran into superlative goaltending from Vinc and Ward and goals were hard to come by. The Chiefs had their best crowd of the year and gave them an effort to cheer for. They never allowed more than two goals in any one period and would have one most games in such a manner. But Peterborough was even tougher on them and held them to the four-goal total.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Game 1 of MSL finals available as PPV webcast

For fans who can't make it to the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena for Game 1 of the Major Series Lacrosse championship series tonight (Tuesday) at 8 pm, you can catch the game live on JVI Sports Network's pay per view webcast.

Stephen Stamp will have the play by play call of the game, joined for colour commentary by Craig Rybczynski.

To access the game, go to the JVI Sports Network home page at this link or by clicking on the JVI logo in this site's right hand column. Follow the directions on the JVI site to purchase and view the game.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Get your MSL finals tickets

The Major Series Lacrosse finals between the first-place Six Nations Chiefs and second-place Peterborough Lakers get underway Tuesday night at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Hagersville, home of the Chiefs.

To order advance tickets for the games in Six Nations, you can call Arrow Express Sports at the ILA. The phone number is 905-768-2225.

Ticket bundles for games at the Memorial Centre in Peterborough are available now. Season ticket holders have until the close of business Wednesday to renew their seats for the series. Single-game tickets, including those not picked up by season ticket holders, will go on sale Thursday morning.

You can visit the Memorial Centre web site here or call 705-743-3561.

Lakers planning fan bus to Six Nations for Game 1 of MSL finals

The Peterborough Lakers are planning to have a fan bus head down to Hagersville for Game 1 of their MSL championship series against the Six Nations Chiefs.

Tickets for the trip cost $32. It leaves the Peterborough Memorial Centre parking lot at 4:30 pm sharp, the team says. To book a seat, contact Lakers chairman Bill Joiner at 705-875-8347.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Official schedule for MSL finals

The official schedule for the MSL finals is available. The series will start Tuesday in Six Nations and continue Thursday in Peterborough. The seventh game, if necessary, will be played either Sunday August 30 or Monday August 31 depending on whether the Minto Cup goes a full seven games.

The full schedule is below. Note the 7 pm start times for Sunday games.

Game 1  Tuesday Aug 18, 8 pm at Six Nations
Game 2  Thursday Aug 20, 8 pm at Peterborough
Game 3  Friday Aug 21, 8 pm at Six Nations
Game 4  Sunday Aug 23, 7 pm at Peterborough
Game 5  Monday Aug 24, 8 pm at Six Nations*
Game 6  Thursday Aug 27, 8 pm at Peterborough*
Game 7  Sunday Aug 30, 7 pm or Monday Aug 31, 8 pm at Six Nations* (depending on Minto Cup)

*if necessary

Lakers gain berth in MSL finals against Six Nations with 10-3 win over Rock

Matt Vinc and the Lakers defence held Oakville to just 3 goals in Game 5 of the MSL semifinals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

The Major Series Lacrosse finals are set after the Peterborough Lakers finished off the Oakville Rock with a 10-3 win in Game 5 of their semis. Peterborough led 3-1 after the first period and ran out to a 6-1 lead after the second. Curtis Dickson led the Lakers with 3 goals, Adam Jones had a goal and 4 assists and Shawn Evans a goal and 3 assists. Matt Vinc was credited with 42 shots in the Peterborough net to earn the win.

While the Lakers won the series 4-1, giving them an 8-1 edge against the Rock between the regular season and playoffs, Oakville made the Lakers work for the series and look like they'll be an emerging force in the league. “We knew it wasn't going to be easy. They started off 0-7 and we knew they were a better team than that,” said Dickson. “They finished strong down the stretch and they have a good team. They've got a great goalie in Rosey and they've got a great offence. They've got some serious firepower. Kudos to our defence for holding them to three tonight. That was unbelievable. This is how we want to be playing heading down the stretch here into the finals.”

The Lakers move on to the MSL finals against the Six Nations Chiefs, the matchup that everyone expected to happen before the season started. Now that it has come to fruition, Nick Weiss says the Lakers defence needs to keep playing the way it did last night: together and for a full 60 minutes.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Chiefs double Excelsiors 12-6 to wrap up MSL semifinal

Dhane Smith and Six Nations are off to the MSL finals after downing Brampton 4 games to 1. (Photo: Dave Fryer)
Half of the Major Series Lacrosse championship series puzzle is in place. The Six Nations Chiefs earned a berth in their fourth straight league finals by finishing off their semifinal series 4-1 with a 12-6 win over the Brampton Excelsiors.

Things were close for the first half of the first period, then the Chiefs began to run away by connecting for three goals--starting with a Dhane Smith shorthanded marker--in a two and a half minute span. They led 5-1 after the first period and were up 8-1 by 6:16 of the second period.

Brampton was able to creep a little closer with a 4-3 edge in the third period, but they never really threatened to get back into the game. The Chiefs did an excellent job of containing league MVP Joe Resetarits, holding him without a point in the game. Mike Burke led Brampton with 2 goals.

Four different Chiefs matched Burke's goal output--Smith, Johnny Powless, Brandon Goodwin and Randy Staats had 2 goals each for Six Nations--while Kasey Beirnes produced a hat trick and Jeff Shattler contributed 5 assists.

The Chiefs now await the winner of the Peterborough vs Oakville semifinal, which could conclude as soon as tonight. Peterborough is up three games to one and playing at home at 8 pm. If Game 6 is necessary it will be Saturday at Oakville and Game 7 would be Sunday in Peterborough.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lakers beat Oakville 9-7 to pull ahead 3-1 in semifinals

Nick Weiss scored an impressive goal to give the Lakers a 4-1 lead after the first period en route to a 9-7 win in Game 4.
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
Goalie Matt Vinc and the Peterborough Lakers struggled in Game 3 of their Major Series Lacrosse semifinal against the Oakville Rock, losing 12-5. Tuesday night, both bounced back with much stronger games to take Game 4 9-7 and extend their lead in the series to 3-1.

Vinc stopped 46 of the 53 shots he faced and particularly strong as Oakville tried to come back from an early deficit, turning aside several good scoring chances to keep the Lakers ahead when the Rock applied pressure.

Dan Lomas opened the scoring for Oakville 7:03 into the game but Cory Vitarelli led the Lakers back with three straight goals in a six-minute span. Nick Weiss scored a fantastic goal to end the first period with Peterborough up 4-1. Weiss sprinted hard to catch and pass Jordan Critch going after a loose ball that was rolling out of the Lakers end towards the Oakville restraining line. Critch made a good play to tap the ball back between his legs so he had body position on Weiss, but the Lakers defender adjusted and fought hard to get the ball. He then drove to the net, ducked his shoulder inside of Critch to create a lane and threw a hard fake on Nick Rose before tucking the ball past him.

Chiefs trounce Excelsiors 14-3 to take 3-1 lead in semifinals

Defender Billy Dee Smith turned scorer to help the Chiefs run away with Game 4. (Photo: Dave Fryer)
On a night when three Brampton Excelsiors players were recognized for excellence in the regular season, it was the Six Nations Chiefs who showed how excellent of a team they can be.

Major Series Lacrosse Commissioner Jim Brady presented 2015 season awards to a trio of Excelsior players before the game Tuesday night in Brampton's Memorial Arena: Joe Resetarits as MVP, Chris Corbeil as top defender and Tyler Ferreira as rookie of the year.

Then Six Nations went out and dominated Brampton from start to finish, outscoring them handily in each period en route to a 14-3 win that gives them a commanding 3-1 lead in the best of seven MSL semifinal.

Ryan Benesch, Billy Dee Smith and Dhane Smith scored in the first 7:26 of the game as many goals as Brampton would manage all game. Corbeil got one back shorthanded but the Chiefs added another pair before the first period buzzer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Game 4 of Peterborough/Oakville series on free live webcast tonight

Tonight (Tuesday) at 8pm the Lakers take on the Oakville Rock at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. There are still tickets available for the game. Visit the Memorial Centre web site to order. If you can't make it to the game, you can watch it live via JVI Sports Network's free webcast. Go to the JVI web site to watch.
In the other semifinal, the Brampton Excelsiors play host to the Six Nations Chiefs in Game 4 with Six Nations leading 2-1. Tickets for the game are available at the door. To find Brampton Memorial Arena, follow this map.

O'Brien gone for rest of MSL semis, no other suspension arising from Game 3 melee

Tim O'Brien, left, has received a four-game suspension for
getting two game misconducts arising from actions in Oakville's
Game 3 win over Peterborough. (Photo: Dave Fryer)

Tim O'Brien won't be around for the rest of the Major Series Lacrosse semifinal series between the Peterborough Lakers and his Oakville Rock. O'Brien gets a four-game suspension for receiving two game misconducts for his actions in the game. He won't be eligible until into the MSL finals if the Rock advance.

No other suspensions were assessed following the game, although Commissioner Jim Brady has said that he will be notifying the teams that he will be paying attention to the series and further unruly behaviour will not be tolerated. 

MSL announces 2015 award winners: Excelsiors sweep player awards

Chris Corbeil is Major Series Lacrosse's defensive player of the year for the second time. (Photo: Dave Fryer)
Major Series Lacrosse is pleased to announce the winners of its 2015 awards. Each team nominates a player in each category then the teams vote to determine the winners. Teams are not allowed to vote for their own players or coaches. You can see all the nominees in this post.

Most Valuable Player: Joe Resetarits, Brampton Excelsiors
Resetarits made a huge difference for the Excelsiors in the 11 games he was able to play. He finished third on the team in scoring with 21 goals and 25 assists for 46 points. Resetarits was the centrepiece of the Brampton offence, helping to generate scoring chances for his teammates. Brampton wasn't expected by most observers to reach the playoffs but they won seven games to earn a postseason berth.

Most Valuable Defensive Player: Chris Corbeil, Brampton Excelsiors
Corbeil is the Excelsiors' captain and the leader of their defence. He is one of the best loose-ball men in the game and added 3 goals and 8 assists in 14 games while taking just 10 minutes in penalties. Corbeil was also named MSL's top defender in 2013. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Excelsiors hold on for 7-6 win, close to within 2-1 of Chiefs in MSL semis

Mike Burke, here against Oakville, scored 4 points to lead Brampton to a
7-6 win in Game 3 of the MSL semis. (Photo: Dave Fryer)
The Brampton Excelsiors entered Game 2 of the Major Series Lacrosse semifinals with a 6-4 lead over the Six Nations Chiefs but got blanked 3-0 in the third period to fall 7-6. Saturday night, the Excels again entered the third ahead, this time 6-5, and they applied the lesson learned from their previous loss to pull out Game 3 with a 7-6 win that tightens up the series at 2-1 for Six Nations.

Brandon Benn and Joe Resetarits gave Brampton a 2-0 lead by the 4:19 mark of the first period. After Brandon Goodwin got one back for the Chiefs, Brampton opened the second period scoring three of the first four goals to stretch their lead to 5-2. A pair of the second-period markers came from Mike Burke

Much like back in Game 2, the lead started to disappear gradually. Jeff Shattler scored 3 goals in the last half of the second period, including one with just two seconds to play, to gain ground for Six Nations. Only a Tyler Ferreira marker 1:18 from the end kept the Excelsiors ahead going into the third frame. 

Rock dump Lakers 12-5 for first playoff win

Mitch De Snoo helped lead the Oakville Rock's strong defensive performance as they downed the Peterborough Lakers 12-5 in Game 3 of the MSL semifinals series. (Photo: Dave Fryer)
The Oakville Rock earned a playoff spot for the first time in the franchise's history this year. Now they've won their first playoff game and they did it in dominating fashion. Coming into Saturday night's game trailing their Major Series Lacrosse semifinal 2-0, the Rock dumped the Peterborough Lakers 12-5 behind a seven-goal first period and a 39-save performance by Nick Rose.

While Rose was sharp from the opening faceoff, at the other end of the floor the Rock were finding holes in Matt Vinc early and often. Dan Lomas opened the scoring with his first of 4 goals in the game and Oakville was up 4-0 before Adam Jones was able to beat Rose with a perfect shot twelve minutes into the game. Jones would wind up with a hat trick to provide the majority of Peterborough's offence.

It was 7-2 for Oakville after one period and they stretched the lead to 9-3 in the second. Peterborough was never able to cut substantially into the margin. Jones did get back to back power play goals in the second but that would be all the scoring by the Lakers.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Chiefs go up 2-0 in semis with 7-6 comeback win over Excelsiors

 Connor Sellars had a pair of transition goals for Brampton but it wasn't
enough as Six Nations won 7-6 to take a 2-0 lead in the semifinals.
(Photo: Dave Fryer_
The Brampton Excelsiors scored the first three goals of the game but the Six Nations Chiefs made the most of scoring the last three goals of the game to take a 2-0 lead in their Major Series Lacrosse semifinal  with a 7-6 win in Brampton Thursday.

The underdog Excelsiors jumped ahead 1-0 when Mike Mawdsley grabbed a rebound right on the Six Nations crease and fired it behind Chiefs goalie Dillon Ward. Tyler Carlson shook off a hard shot right to the face mask to make 20 saves in the first period, keeping the Chiefs off the board. Thanks to a pair of transition goals from Matthew Bennett and Connor Sellars, that allowed the Excelsiors to head into the first intermission with a 3-0 lead.

The second period went back and forth. Six Nations outscored the Excelsiors 4-3. Dhane Smith had a pair of goals for the Chiefs and Sellars added another breakaway marker for Brampton, who led 6-4 heading into the third period.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Free live webcasts of playoff games Thursday and Saturday

JVI Sports Network will present Thursday night's Six Nations Chiefs at Brampton Excelsiors game and Saturday's Peterborough Lakers at Oakville Rock game as free live webcasts. Playoff games thereafter will be on a pay per view basis.

"We're going to do these two games live and free in part to thank the folks who donated to the GoFundMe campaign to allow us to webcast games this summer," said JVI president Gary Morrison. "The campaign didn't raise enough to webcast all of the games we would have liked to in the way we would have liked, but we do appreciate the people who contributed. So we thought we'd present these two games as free webcasts then switch over to PPV."

Tonight's game is at 8 pm and Saturday's game starts at 7:30. To watch the games, just click on the JVI Sports Network logo in the right hand column of this site.

Lakers take 2-0 lead over Rock with 12-8 win in Oakville

Curtis Dickson had 6 points to help the Lakers beat Oakville 12-8 and take a 2-0 lead in their MSL semis.
(Photo: Dave Fryer)
Every time the Peterborough Lakers and Oakville Rock have played this year, the Lakers have won, and every time it's been thanks in large part to a single big run of goals. That pattern played out for the sixth time Wednesday night. Peterborough scored six straight goals from 7:56 of the first period to  4:55 of the second period en route to a 12-8 win over Oakville that gave them a 2-0 lead in the best of seven Major Series Lacrosse semifinals.

Shawn Evans was huge once again for the Lakers. He had 2 goals and 3 assists in that 6-goal run and totalled 5 goals and 3 assists for the game. Curtis Dickson added 3 goals and 3 assists and Adam Jones a goal and 4 assists for the Lakers. Jeremy Noble's hat trick led Oakville and Brendan Thenhaus added 2 goals.

Peterborough led 4-2 after the first period and extended their lead to 9-5 after two. Game 3 of the series goes Saturday in Oakville with a 7:30 pm start.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Chiefs open playoffs with 9-6 win over Excelsiors

Randy Staats, here against Brooklin, scored 4 goals to lead Six Nations to a
9-6 win over Brampton in their playoff opener. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Randy Staats scored 4 goals, including a hat trick in the first period, to power the Six Nations Chiefs to a 9-6 win over the Brampton Excelsiors in the first game of their Major Series Lacrosse semifinal series Tuesday night.

Stephen Keogh for Six Nations and Chris Corbeil for Brampton exchanged goals in the first half of the first period, then Staats took over with three straight goals to make the score 4-1 after 20 minutes.

Joe Resetarits, who led the Excels with 3 goals and 2 assists, opened second period scoring at 7:17 and closed it with a goal three seconds from the buzzer. In between, though, Staats scored again then Jeff Shattler produced his own natural hat trick, and the Chiefs were up 8-3 following 40 minutes.

Brampton, as has been their wont, didn't give up. They outscored Six Nations 3-1 in the third to pull closer, but the hole was too deep to dig out all the way.

Game 2 goes Thursday night in Brampton.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Preview of Six Nations Chiefs / Brampton Excelsiors semifinals

Not surprisingly, both Stephen Stamp of IL Indoor and Mike Mackley of In Lacrosse We Trust are picking the first seeded Six Nations Chiefs (15-3 regular season) to beat the fourth seeded Brampton Excelsiors (7-11) in the Major Series Lacrosse semifinals.

Both suggest the games might be tighter than the standings might suggest. Read Stamp's analysis here and Mackley's here.

Lakers down Rock 7-5 in opener of semifinals

Curtis Dickson, here against KW, had a hat trick to lead Peterborough to a
7-5 win in the MSL playoff opener. (Photo: Kendall Taylor)
The Peterborough Lakers beat the Oakville Rock all four times the teams met in the 2015 MSL regular season, so the second-place Lakers are clearly favourites in the semifinal series between the teams. Three of the four games were tight battles, though, so it's hardly a surprise that Game 1 of the series was hard-fought and close again.

Peterborough got the first two goals of the game, from the sticks of Cory Vitarelli and Curtis Dickson, by the 11:11 mark of a first period that featured tight defence from both teams. It took the Rock a while to respond and when they did, it came from an unusual source. Defender Alex Crepinsek, who has just six regular-season goals in two seasons with Oakville, stayed up for an offensive shift and bouried a shot past Matt Vinc.

Rookie of the year candidate Dan Lomas evened things up with a minute to play in the first and the teams went to the intermission tied 2-2. The second period was even more tightly played. Crepinsek struck again, scoring a shorthanded marker that gave the Rock their first lead at 14:45. Shawn Evans matched Crepinsek's feat with a shorty of his own a couple of minutes later and the second intermission saw another tie at 3-3.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lakers/Rock semifinal series previews

The Peterborough Lakers and Oakville Rock square off Sunday night at 7 pm in Peterborough for Game 1 of their MSL semifinals. IL Indoor's Stephen Stamp and In Lacrosse We Trust's Mike Mackley provided their insights on the first round matchup on their respective web sites.

Both are leaning towards the second-place Lakers ousting the third-place Rock. You can read Stamp's analysis here and Mackley's here.

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.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Rock lose heartbreaker to Chiefs, miss chance to clinch playoff berth

The Oakville Rock were within a couple of minutes of downing the powerhouse Six Nations Chiefs and clinching their first earned playoff berth in Major Series Lacrosse. They had an 8-7 lead and were looking for some insurance. They almost got it, twice.

First Stephan Leblanc drove to the net and appeared to put the ball past Dillon Ward in the Chiefs goal, but Ward pulled out a spectacular save to deny him. A little later, Brier Jonathan picked up a loose ball in the Oakville zone and sprinted up the floor on a three on one. He filled the centre lane with Alex Crepinsek to his left and Ian MacKay, playing just his third MSL game, to his right. Jonathan passed the ball to MacKay and cut over to set a pick on Craig Point, the lone Chief back.

MacKay nipped around the pick and cut to the top of the crease, where he proceeded to throw one fake after another at Ward. With the goalie falling back, MacKay fired the ball into the net for what would have been a critical insurance goal. But referee Roger Nurse adamantly pointed towards the carpet, indicating that MacKay had stepped on the crease line. The slight misstep would come back to haunt the Rock.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lakers to open playoffs Sunday July August 2

The Peterborough Lakers will open their Major Series Lacrosse semifinal series this Sunday, August 2 at home at the Memorial Centre. Game time is 7 pm.

Peterborough is assured of finishing second in the regular season and will play the third place team in the playoffs. That will be either the Brampton Excelsiors or Oakville Rock, depending on results of games this week.

Monday's Six Nations at Oakville game to be webcast live by JVI

Monday's game in Oakville will be streamed live by JVI Sports Network. If the Rock can beat the visiting Six Nations Chiefs, they will clinch a playoff spot. Six Nations has already locked up first place and home floor advantage throughout the MSL playoffs.

To watch the game, click on the JVI Sports Network link in the right hand column of this web site.