Thursday, July 23, 2015

Redmen stay alive in playoff hunt with win over Chiefs

Mike Poulin has been brilliant this week for the Brooklin Redmen. He led them to wins over Oakville and Six Nations with
46 and 47 saves, respectively, to keep their playoff hopes alive. (File photo: Tim Prothero)

The Brooklin Redmen's playoff hopes were on life support entering their Monday game in Oakville. Their 9-5 win over the Rock, led by a 46-save effort from Mike Poulin, maintained that status but things still didn't look rosy with the Six Nations Chiefs coming to town Wednesday night.

Brooklin can't afford another loss as it would eliminate them from playoff contention and first-place Six Nations had lost just twice entering the game. The Redmen stayed right with the Chiefs through 20 minutes, exiting the first period tied 3-3. A couple of minutes into the second, Brooklin took their second lead of the game on Dan Lintner's goal. It didn't last long, though; Jeff Shattler scored 23 seconds later to even things up.

That's the point where most teams just haven't been able to stay with Six Nations this summer. The Chiefs' depth and talent just wear opponents down and the league leaders pull away as the game progressed. But Brooklin flipped the script, taking control with their transition game. Veteran defender Derek Suddons scored two of the four goals as the Redmen pulled away over a seven-minute stretch.

It was 8-4 at the beginning of the third period. Brooklin wouldn't be able to score again, so it was up to Poulin and the defence to make the lead hold up. Stephen Keogh connected at 5:51 and when Ryan Benesch completed his hat trick a minute and a half later, Six Nations had momentum and it appeared the post-season was in jeopardy for the Redmen.

But the Redmen held on. Led by Poulin's 47-save performance, they allowed just one more goal--to Keogh with 2:03 left to play--and earned a win that pulls them within a single point of third-place Brampton and Oakville.

Brooklin will have to win their final game next Wednesday against Brampton and hope that the Excelsiors or Rock lose all the rest of their games. It's still a tall order for the Redmen to get to the playoffs, but their big win over Six Nations has at least given them a chance.