Thursday, September 15, 2016

Chiefs dominate Game 5 to win third Mann Cup title in four years

The Chiefs enjoy their Mann Cup victory. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
by Stephen Stamp

The Six Nations Chiefs have won their third Mann Cup in four years, beating the Maple Ridge Burrards 14-6 Wednesday night to take the Canadian senior lacrosse championship four games to one.

In the end, the depth and experience of the Chiefs was simply too much for the Burrards, who put up a game fight before falling short.

Dan Dawson had another exceptional effort, scoring 2 goals and adding 5 assists for the Chiefs. That gave him 30 for the series to lead all scorers in the series. Dawson, who was named the Mike Kelly Award winner as series MVP, also passed Colin Doyle for fourth place in all-time Mann Cup scoring.

Early on, the game looked like it would be a third straight hotly contested battle. Maple Ridge's Daniel Amesbury opened the scoring when he tucked home a rebound 7:35 into the game. As they have made a habit of doing, though, the Chiefs responded quickly. Randy Staats scored 19 seconds after Amesbury to tie things up.

Another habit the Chiefs carried into Game 5 was scoring late and early in periods. Wednesday night, Staats got his third of the game with 11 seconds to play in the first. It was a dispiriting goal that arose when Frankie Scigliano tried to play the ball behind his net and seemed to have a momentary lapse of judgment that saw him stand still while Staats snagged the ball as it rolled outside the crease, took a couple of steps so he could reach around the post and tucked it in to the unguarded net. That made the score 3-2 for Six Nations, the third straight game they held a one-goal lead after 20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chiefs win 9-7 again, take 3-1 lead in increasingly intense Mann Cup finals

Ben McIntosh (left) and Billy Dee Smith were central figures in Game 4, which Six Nations won 9-7 to take a 3-1 lead in the 2016 Mann Cup. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
For the second straight game the Maple Ridge Burrards held a 7-6 lead in the third period and for the second straight game the Six Nations Chiefs scored the final three goals to win 9-7. Now the Chiefs have the Burrards on the ropes, leading 3-1 in the 2016 Mann Cup and with a chance to close out the championship in Wednesday's Game 5.

After a blowout in each direction in the first two games, a pair of tight matches have resulted in the intensity ramping up as you'd expect in a best of seven series. That intensity resulted in some chirping between the teams across the centre line before each team headed off to its own dressing room after the game.

The teams have a good hate on for each other. As Chiefs defender Billy Dee Smith, one of the central characters in the post-game drama, said, “Just chatting it up, sharing some unpleasantries,” Smith said with a smile. “Guys are starting to get sick of each other. That's the way it should be. I don't like them right now.”

Not surprisingly, Maple Ridge head coach Rob Williams wasn't quite as lighthearted about the squabbling. “I will say there were some classless things said, we'll leave it at that. I'm sure it can be said both ways. That's what happens in a seven-game series played this tight and this tough,” said Williams.

The teams clearly don't like each other much, but they also clearly respect each other on the floor. Smith missed the first two games but has been a critical component of the Chiefs ability to limit the Burrards potent offence to seven goals in each of the last two games. He said keeping up with the Maple Ridge forwards has been a demanding challenge.

“It's definitely a grind. It's what you like to think the Mann Cup is about. No team's blowing out another team, every shift means something,” Smith said. “I think it shows at the end of the game, both teams are exhausted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mann Cup is a family affair

Zack Porter checks Brier Jonathan in the background while Dan Dawson tangles with DJ Saari. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

by Stephen Stamp

The 2016 Mann Cup features a sibling rivalry, although not the kind the term usually denotes.

Each team has a pair of brother acts taking part, so in this case it is a case of siblings banding together against other siblings.

Dan Dawson is leading the series in scoring with 19 points through three games, moving him into fifth in all-time Mann Cup points and leaving him just 10 behind Colin Doyle for fourth. Paul Dawson is a defender for the Chiefs who has played a key role in Six Nations limiting the Maple Ridge Burrards to 28 goals through the first three games.

Six Nations' other pair of brothers are both helping boost the Chiefs offence. Austin Staats has garnered plenty of attention for his clutch scoring and exuberant celebrations, as well as his propensity for getting knocked down but getting back up again. Austin rolled his ankle, separated his shoulder twice and generally seemed to be sprawled on the floor through much of the MSL finals against Peterborough. He returned every time, though, to help fill the gap left by injuries to a trio of Chiefs lefty forwards.

Chiefs win 9-7 overtime thriller to take 2-1 Mann Cup series lead over Burrards

Austin Staats celebrates his game-winning overtime goal in Game 3. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
by Darryl Smart

Cody Jamieson has made a habit of, well, just being Cody Jamieson.

After sitting out the first two games of the Mann Cup nursing a knee injury, Jammer returned to the lineup and was one of the best players on the floor, scoring three goals and four assists to lead the Six Nations Chiefs to a 9-7 overtime win over the Maple Ridge Burrards. 
The Chiefs now lead the best-of-seven Canadian senior A men's lacrosse championship series 2-1.

"I always want to be in there," Jamieson said. "It's tough to watch. I wasn't able to be on the bench Saturday night, so I had to sit in the stands. I didn't like that at all. I wanted to play."

Jamieson gave the Chiefs some insurance in the extra frame, scoring midway through after Austin Staats continued to impress, netting the game-winner 26 seconds into overtime.

"This was a big win for us," Jamieson said. "We were disappointed in our effort Saturday. We wanted to bounce back. Everyone punched in and worked hard."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Maple Ridge Burrards bounce back with 13-9 win over Six Nations Chiefs to even Mann Cup at one win each

Luke Gillespie injected energy and 3 goals into the Maple Ridge lineup when he was inserted for Game 2. Here he scores a shorthanded goal in the first period. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Maple Ridge Burrards regrouped after a tough loss in the opening game of the 2016 Mann Cup and scored an impressive 13-9 victory over the Six Nations Chiefs in Game 2, giving the franchise its first win at the national championship since 1977. The best-of-seven series is now tied 1-1.
After looking somewhat overpowered in the series opener, a much improved Burrards' squad took the floor on Saturday night and showed the boisterous crowd that a Six Nations sweep was not in the cards. The visitors made some adjustments on both sides of the ball, showing much more patience in the offensive zone, while also tightened up their coverage on defense and battling much harder for loose balls.
"I think we just outworked them tonight," said Maple Ridge captain Aaron Davis. "In the first game, for whatever reason, they were the harder working team. They beat us to loose balls and got a lot of second chances, but tonight we really changed the momentum in those areas."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mann Cup 2016: Dawson climbing the career points ladder

Dan Dawson scoring one of his 44 career Mann Cup goals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Dan Dawson doesn't like to talk about it, but he's climbing the list of all-time Mann Cup scorers. Friday night, he shot up two places to sit seventh in the storied history of the Canadian national senior championship.

Dawson's 8-point performance leapfrogged him past Josh Sanderson (36 goals, 77 assists, 113 points in 28 games) and Bill Wilson (83/32/115 in 33 games). In his 36th Mann Cup contest, Dawson had 3 goals and 5 assists to push his totals to 44, 72 and 116. Dawson also, with his sixth point of Friday's game, reached the one thousand point plateau for his senior career including regular season, playoffs and Mann Cup games.

When you ask Dawson about it, he will answer your question politely and interestingly, but will shift the focus to the team almost immediately. He is truly humble and uncomfortable talking too much about his own accomplishments.

Is it the pickles? Salty secret to Chiefs' playoff success

Austin Staats and the Chiefs are getting their drive from pickles in the 2016 post-season. (Photo; Tim Prothero)
Courtesy Six Nations Chiefs

When Dave Sowden arrives at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena for his Mann Cup preparations, he’s had a little extra cargo than usual.

For the last couple of weeks, the Chiefs’ light-hearted trainer has carried around a covered blue pale.

Its contents are about as key to the Chiefs’ success, as the return of Cody Jamieson.

“We started to bring the pale of pickles to the series in Brooklin,” Sowden said. “Some of the guys like them, so I thought I’d bring some along on the trip. Every game I brought pickles, we won. Even if they weren’t ready, the pickles were in the house.”

At the time it seemed to be a bit of a coincidence, so nobody thought too much about it. Only thing is, the players enjoyed what Sowden and offensive player Craig Point created.

Chiefs ride 8-goal run to 15-8 win over Burrards in Game 1 of Mann Cup

Riley Loewen escaped this double team and had 5 points, but the Chiefs dominated the second half of Game 1 to draw first blood in the 2016 Mann Cup. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

Both of the combatants in the 2016 Mann Cup have shown a knack for bouncing back when things start going against them. In Game 1 Friday night, both teams did so but the Six Nations Chiefs did it much more emphatically than the Maple Ridge Burrards did.

After Maple Ridge scored four straight second-period goals to rebound from an early deficit to tie the game 5-5, Six Nations ran off nine in a row to blow the game open en route to a 15-8 win in the opener of the national senior championship at Six Nations' Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.

Maple Ridge got off to a 1-0 lead three and a half minutes in when Ben McIntosh slipped open in the slot and buried a pass from Jarrett Davis past Dillon Ward. Dan Dawson replied with his first of 3 goals—to go with 5 assists for a game-high 8 points—less than a minute later.

The Burrards created some chances but were unable to beat Ward again in the period, and eventually it was the Chiefs who went on a run that saw them score 4 goals, including two power play markers, in a 10-minute stretch to head to intermission with a 5-1 lead.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Mann Cup preview on IL Indoor

Today's the day. The 2016 Mann Cup gets under way at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena between the Major Series Lacrosse champion Six Nations Chiefs and the Western Lacrosse Association champion Maple Ridge Burrards.

IL Indoor's Stephen Stamp has published his preview of the Mann Cup. We won't spoil it for you, so go over and take a look to see his breakdown of the teams and prediction for the series between the underdog but determined Burrards and the Chiefs, who look to win their third Mann Cup in four years.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Chiefs and Burrards two days away from squaring off in Mann Cup

It's the old guard versus the new kids on the block, but that is just one of many story lines for the 2016 Mann Cup.

The annual best of seven Canadian senior lacrosse championship features the best lacrosse players in the world. This year it sees the Six Nations Chiefs looking to claim their third title in four years facing off against the Maple Ridge Burrards, who haven't been to the Mann Cup since 1990.

Legendary player John Tavares, who will go into the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame in a few weeks, is now coaching the offence for the Chiefs. When the Burrards made their last Mann Cup appearance 26 years ago, he was a rookie for the team that at that time played out of Vancouver.

While the Chiefs have become Mann Cup regulars, they faced the toughest challenge in years to claim Ontario's Major Series Lacrosse crown. The regular season was the most competitive in years, with fourth teams battling for first place until the final week. Six Nations overcame several injuries to key players to down the Brooklin Redmen in the semifinals.

Their opponent in the championship series for the third straight year was the Peterborough Lakers, who finished first in the regular season but had to fight hard to beat the Oakville Rock in the semis. The Lakers then enjoyed a perfect start to the MSL finals, winning three straight games to all but assure themselves of a return to the Mann Cup that they lost to the Victoria Shamrocks a year ago.

Burrards arriving tonight, press conference tomorrow

The Maple Ridge Burrards on en route to Ontario and are expected to arrive in Toronto around 9 pm Wednesday night. They will make their way to the ILA for shootaround on Thursday and attend the Mann Cup press conference at 1 pm at the arena.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tickets for Mann Cup available at Arrow Express Sports

Tickets for the Mann Cup can be purchased at Arrow Express Sports at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.

Ticket prices:
Adult $20
Senior & Student $15
Child $12

Assigned seating is available if you purchase the 4-game package. The package also allows you to renew your assigned seat for any further games.

Arrow Express will be open for sales of 4-game packages and general admission tickets for Game 1 at the following times:
Tuesday Sept 6  9:30 am - 8 pm
Wednesday Sept 7  9:30 am - 8 pm
Thursday Sept 8  9:30 am - 7 pm
Friday Sept 9th  9:30 am - 1:30  pm

General admission tickets for subsequent games will be on sale during intermission, for 1 hour after the game and from 10 am - 4 pm on the next game day.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mann Cup schedule

Six Nations Chiefs (Major Series Lacrosse champions) vs Maple Ridge Burrards (Western Lacrosse Association champions)

All games at Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, Six Nations

Game 1  Friday, Sept 9  8 pm
Game 2  Saturday, Sept 10  8 pm
Game 3  Monday, Sept 12  8 pm
Game 4  Tuesday, Sept 13  8 pm
Game 5  Wednesday, Sept 14*  8 pm
Game 6  Friday, Sept 16*  8 pm
Game 7  Saturday, Sept 17*  8 pm

*if necessary

Chiefs overcome 3-0 series deficit, 6-4 game deficit to win Major Series Lacrosse championship

The Chiefs posing with a hard-earned MSL championship trophy. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Someone will have to comb through the records to see if it's ever been done, but Six Nations Chiefs accomplishment of coming back from down 3-0 to win the Major Series Lacrosse championship series is at the very least a rare feat.

Not only did they come back from down in the series, the Chiefs had to come back from a deficit in Game 7 Saturday night. They trailed the Peterborough Lakers 6-4 in the second period and 6-5 after 40 spectacularly entertaining minutes.

Then three goals in the first 5:19 of the third period put Six Nations ahead bya pair and they held on for a 10-7 win that sends them to the Mann Cup for the third time in four seasons.

Naturally, in a matchup between two such excellent teams, it took contributions from up and down the lineup to make it happen. Dillon Ward won the Johnny Shooter Davis award as playoffs MVP, closing it out with his 45-save performnce.

Dhane Smith's 5-point night (3 goals, 2 assists) gave him the playoff scoring lead with 41 points, just one ahead of his fellow Chiefs righty Dan Dawson.

Austin Staats scored 2 goals and 2 assists, giving the 18-year-old a 33-point playoff run since joining the team partway through the semis against Brooklin to fill in for injured lefty forwards.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Game 7 viewing: see the champions crowned

Major Series Lacrosse will crown its 2016 champion Saturday night at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. Game time between the Peterborough Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs is 7 pm.

While tickets are going quickly, there are still some seats available through the Memorial Centre box office, in person, online or by phone.

If you can't make it to the game but live in the Peterborough area, you can watch the game on Cogeco TV.

Worldwide you can watch the game streamed live and free by JVI Sports Network thanks to game sponsors Arrow Express Sports, the ILA Sports Store and the Dreamcatcher Fund.

Game 7 in the offing: Chiefs down Lakers 10-7 to force deciding game Saturday

Austin Staats and Chiefs fans share the joy of Six Nations final goal in their Game 6 win. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
For the third year in a row, the Major Series Lacrosse championship will come down to Game 7 between the Peterborough Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs. Six Nations made sure of that Thursday night by roaring out to a 6-0 lead and hanging on for a 10-7 win, their third straight after the Lakers had won the first three games of the series.

Chiefs head coach Rich Kilgour expressed deep appreciation for what lacrosse fans have seen over the last three finals as each team has won a seven-game series and now each team has three wins in this series.

“It's 10-10 in the past three years and I'd bet the goals are within one or two,” Kilgour said. “They're a great team, I like to think we're a great team. They're well-coached, I like to think I'm a halfway good coach once in a while. It's been great lacrosse. It's been mean, it's been rough. It's been up, it's been down. It doesn't get any better than this.”

This season has seen a strange series. Peterborough overcame a four-goal third-period deficit to win Game 1 in double overtime. The Lakers edged Six Nations by a goal in Game 2. Peterborough extended its lead to a stunning 3-0 with a blowout win in Game 3.

Then it was Six Nations' turn. They put on an historical display of defence and goaltending in an 8-1 Game 4 win and Dillon Ward continued to shine as the Chiefs won Game 5 by an 8-6 score.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Game 6 live streaming

Game 6 of the Major Series Lacrosse finals will be streamed live by JVI Sports Network on their YouTube channel. The streaming is made possible by sponsors The Hill Academy and Traditional Lacrosse.

The Hill Academy was recently voted the top high school lacrosse program in North America by USA Today. Six Hill Academy alumni are playing in the MSL finals: Dillon Ward, Randy Staats and Leo Stores for the Six Nations Chiefs; Chad Tutton, Josh Currier and Jake Fox for the Peterborough Lakers. The Hill's director of lacrosse, Brodie Merrill, also plays for Six Nations.

Traditional Lacrosse is best known for their handcrafted wooden lacrosse sticks. They also sell apparel as well as modern heads and shafts.

The Lakers will try to close out the series in Game 6 while the Chiefs will try to force a Game 7 between the teams for the third straight year.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Six Nations Chiefs win 8-6 to draw within 3-2 in MSL finals

Dillon Ward wasn't unbeatable, but he wasn't far from it for the Chiefs as they won Game 5 8-6. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The aberration isn't that the Major Series Lacrosse championship series now sits at three games to two for the Peterborough Lakers over the Six Nations Chiefs; the aberration was that one team won three games in a row to open the series.

That was the underlying theme in comments from coaches and players on both sides of the floor after Six Nations took Game 5 in Peterborough Tuesday night to get within a home win of evening the series up. They'll have that chance Thursday night at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.

“Before the fourth game I just told them all our goals are still attainable. We wanted to win four games against Peterborough, we can still do that,” said Chiefs head coach Rich Kilgour. “We've got a great group of veterans in there and they echoed the same thing: it's not over till it's over. If we get the first one we go from there. We get the second one, I think they might be feeling a little pressure now. We just line up and play. We don't look behind us, we look forward.”

Dhane Smith led the Chiefs with 2 goals and 3 assists and Randy Staats chipped in a pair of goals while Dillon Ward made 38 saves on 44 shots. Cory Vitarelli scored 3 goals and added an assist to lead the Lakers. Matt Vinc stopped 36 of the 44 shots he faced.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Game 5 goes Tuesday night at 8 pm; free live webcast by JVI Sports Network

Game 5 of the Major Series Lacrosse finals Tuesday night in Peterborough will be available via free live webcast by JVI Sports Network, thanks to presenting sponsor Thompson Brothers Lacrosse.

The Peterborough Lakers lead the series 3-1 but the Six Nations Chiefs built some momentum with an 8-1 domination in Game 4 in Six Nations Sunday night.

Thompson Brothers Lacrosse is growing the game of lacrosse with camps and other efforts that leverage the appeal of Lyle, Miles, Jeremy and Hiana Thompson, all of whom play in the National Lacrosse League and are breakout stars for the sport. Jeremy also plays for the Chiefs.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Chiefs stave off elimination with domination 8-1 win in Game 4 of MSL Finals

Randy Staats may have come out the worse in this encounter, but the Six Nations Chiefs won almost every facet of the game in trouncing the Peterborough Lakers 8-1 to force a fifth game in the MSL finals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Courtesy Darryl Smart
Billy Dee Smith didn’t want to call Sunday’s 8-1 victory over the Peterborough Lakers a comeback.
“We showed up tonight,” said Smith, who was one of the defensive catalysts for the Six Nations Pro-fit Chiefs. “Down 3-0 we didn’t want to be swept.”
With the victory, the Chiefs staved off elimination, with the Lakers still leading the best-of-seven Major Series Lacrosse final 3-1.
“For whatever reason, the last three games we didn’t bring it… mentally, emotionally,” Smith said. “If someone did something good, nobody had their back. No excuses aside, they capitalized on their opportunities more than we did.”
But Sunday at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena was different.
“Tonight we had a goal, and we stuck to our game plan, did what we did all season, and what we’ve always done,” Smith said. “We played some really tight and we swung the ball instead of standing still. Those two or three things make a huge difference and it showed tonight.”

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Free live webcast of Sunday night's 7 pm Game 4

An important note for all Major Series Lacrosse fans. Sunday night's Game 4 in Six Nations starts at 7 pm. It was previously scheduled for a later start time but will face off at 7 pm.

Thanks once again to Canadian Tire Pit Stop at 1050 Lansdowne St in Peterborough for coming back on as presenting sponsor once again, making it possible for JVI Sports Network to stream the game live and free of charge to viewers. Canadian Tire Pit Stop staff are the Oil Change Experts and can also take care of your tire rotation, tire repair and transmission flush needs.

Welcome aboard to 3 Stars sponsor Liberty Tax Service in Peterborough. During the game, tweet your suggestions for the 3 Stars, making sure to tag @jvivideo.

To always be informed of when games are streaming on JVI Sports Network, make sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Peterborough Lakers dump Six Nations Chiefs to move to verge of MSL title with 3-0 finals lead

Brad Self scored on a brilliant end to end run, including hurdling over a falling Chiefs defender, as part of Peterborough's opening 7-0 run. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

In any tight, hard-fought series, there's bound to be at least one blowout. Even considering that, Thursday night's 15-9 win by the Peterborough Lakers to take a 3-0 lead in the Major Series Lacrosse finals over the Six Nations Chiefs was stunning.

Shawn Evans started the onslaught at 2:18. When Josh Currier connected just under 11 minutes later the scoreboard read 7-0 in the Lakers favour and for all intents and purposes, the game was over.

Six Nations fought hard to get back into the game but were never able to close the gap to fewer than five goals because Peterborough kept playing hard, knowing how dangerous the Chiefs can be. Six Nations twice scored three straight goals but each time, the Lakers responded.

One play could symbolize how the night went for each of the teams. Six Nations had just run off three goals to close the gap to 13-8 with 5:47 to play. Peterborough had the ball in the offensive zone when a Chiefs defender stripped the ball from rookie forward Holden Cattoni, who lost his stick in the process. Cattoni spun away towards the ball, ran around it and kicked the ball straight into the stick of teammate Cory Vitarelli, in stride and right in the mesh.

When Vitarelli fired a shot home, it showed that it was the kind of night where even when the Chiefs did things well it just didn't seem to work out for them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Peterborough Lakers forge 2-0 series lead with 7-6 win Tuesday in Six Nations

Cory Vitarelli reacts after scoring for the Lakers in their 7-6 win over the Chiefs in Game 2 of the MSL finals.
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Peterborough Lakers took a 2-0 lead in the best of seven Major Series Lacrosse championship series with a 7-6 win over the Chiefs in Six Nations Tuesday night. 

The game was webcast by JVI Sports Network and can be viewed in their YouTube archives. Anyone interested in sponsoring a game webcast can contact Stephen Stamp via email at

Peterborough got an early lead on an unusual power play goal. With Six Nations controlling the ball in the offensive zone, they pulled goalie Dillon Ward to place a fifth runner in the neutral zone. It's a common tactic that teams employ; when the penalty expires, the player from the penalty box steps to the bench so the goalie can return to his crease. Meanwhile, the player in the neutral zone steps in to join the offence with a full 30 second clock.

This time, however, the move backfired when Ryan Benesch was pressured into a turnover near the restraining line and no other Chiefs player had run to the bench to let Ward back on the floor. Brad Self scooped up the loose ball and launched a shot from his own side of centre that bounced into the empty net for the game's first goal.

Monday, August 22, 2016

MSL finals Game 2 will be webcast live and free by JVI Sports Network

It's great news for Major Series Lacrosse fans who can't make it to the ILA Tuesday night. Thanks to Canadian Tire Pit Stop at 1050 Lansdowne Street in Peterborough, Game 2 of the MSL finals will be streamed live and free on JVI Sports Network's YouTube channel.

Canadian Tire Pit Stop are the Oil Change Experts. They also do tire rotations, transmission flushes, tire repairs and more. And now they are heroes to lacrosse fans who can't get to Game 2 in person thanks to their sponsorship of the game webcast.

Game 1 was an absolute thriller, won 12-11 by the Peterborough Lakers in double overtime on Adam Jones' sixth goal of the game. The Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs are meeting in the finals for the third straight year with each of the previous two championship series going the full seven games, so expect the excitement to build as this year's title tilt progresses.

To watch the game, go to JVI's YouTube channel here.

Please follow Major Series Lacrosse, JVI Sports Network and Canadian Tire Pit Stop on Twitter.  

Lakers take 1-0 lead in MSL finals after 12-11 double OT win in instant classic

Adam Jones had 6 goals including the double overtime winner as Peterborough took Game 1 of the MSL finals 12-11 over the Six Nations Chiefs Sunday in Peterborough. Game 2 is Tuesday in Six Nations. (Photo: Kendall Taylor)
Adam Jones scored 6 goals in Sunday night's Game 1 of the Major Series Lacrosse championship series. The last one may have just saved a friendship.

The Peterborough Lakers staged a huge comeback, scoring the final 4 goals of regulation time in the last 8:35 of play, to force overtime. They got the first goal of the 10-minute extra period but the Six Nations Chiefs responded to make it 11-11 and send the game to sudden death.

Jones beat Dillon Ward with a low shot just inside the far post to give Peterborough the win. He took a pass from Zach Currier in transition and ignored defender Nick Weiss, who was open on the far side, to shoot instead.

“Zach gave me the ball and set a seal on one of their players,” Jones said after the game. “Nick Weiss was going down the far side. He told me in the dressing room that if I would have passed it to him he would have defriended me on Facebook. But I think the defender thought I might pass it so that gave me some room to shoot and it happened to go in.”

The bulging of the net set off a raucous celebration among the 3,197 fans who were already plenty excited by the comeback and the scintillating first overtime.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

IL Indoor previews MSL finals

Turner Evans scores the goal that propelled Peterborough to last year's MSL championship over Six Nations. The teams rekindle their rivalry starting Sunday night in Peterborough. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Stephen Stamp of IL Indoor has taken an in-depth look at the matchup that sees the Peterborough Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs meeting in the Major Series Lacrosse championship series for the third straight year. You can read his report here.

Game 1 faces off at 7 pm Sunday night in Peterborough.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Schedule set for MSL finals

The Peterborough Lakers and Six Nations Chiefs didn't have an easy road to the Major Series Lacrosse finals, but they are meeting in the championship series for the third straight season. Six Nations beat the Brooklin Redmen and Peterborough downed the Oakville Rock, both in six games.

The schedule for the finals is:

Game 1 at Peterborough: Sunday, August 21, 7 pm
Game 2 at Six Nations: Tuesday, August 23, 8 pm
Game 3 at Peterborough: Thursday, August 25, 8 pm
Game 4 at Six Nations: Sunday, August 28, 7 pm
Game 5 at Peterborough: Tuesday, August 30, 8 pm*
Game 6 at Six Nations: Thursday, September 1, 8 pm*
Game 7 at Peterborough: Saturday, September 3, 7 pm*

*if necessary

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lakers close out Rock in semis with 6-4 win

The Peterborough Lakers went into Oakville and won Game 6 to advance to
the MSL finals. (Photo: Anna Taylor)
The Peterborough Lakers had been to the Major Series Lacrosse finals in 12 of the previous 13 years. The Oakville Rock had never won an MSL playoff series. While the Rock appear poised to end their streak in the near future, Peterborough kept theirs rolling by beating the Rock 6-4 to win the semifinals four games to two.

Oakville led 1-0 after a first period in which defence and goaltending ruled the roost. Only Dan Lomas' power play goal at 11:12 was able to find the back of the net. Peterborough didn't get on the board until 6:06 in the second period and it took a sensational effort.

Nick Weiss ragged the ball on the penalty kill before eventually cutting to the net, fighting off three defenders and slotting the ball past Nick Rose. Mark Steenhuis followed that with a power play goal on a similar drive to the net. His shot went off Rose and the post, bounced on the goal line and spun up into the air, just barely crossing the line if indeed it made its way across.

Matt Vinc held the Lakers in the game with some excellent saves as Oakville put pressure on throughout the second period and eventually did manage to strike paydirt, getting three straight goals over an eight-minute stretch. Steenhuis clawed back some momentum for the Lakers with another power play goal 30 seconds from the end of the period.

It took another spectacular play for the Lakers to even things up in the third. Chad Tutton stayed up for an offensive shift, horizontally towards the crease, took a perfectly time pass from Josh Currier and whipped a backhand off Rose's leg and into the net at 3:13.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lakers down Rock 10-7 to take 3-2 lead in semis

Nick Rose making one of his 61 saves Saturday night in Peterborough. Rose's standout performance wasn't enough as the Lakers prevailed 10-7 to take a 3-2 lead over Oakville in the MSL semifinals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

Shawn Evans returned after missing a game from injury and seemed to be in the middle of all the action as the Peterborough Lakers beat the Oakville Rock 10-7 at the Peterborough Memorial Centre Saturday night to take a 3-2 lead in the teams' Major Series Lacrosse semifinals.

Evans scored 2 goals and 3 assists to lead the Lakers and was involved in a controversial play that the Rock felt could have changed the course of the game.

In Game 4, Oakville had taken an early 3-0 lead that was critical to their 8-6 win to even the series. In Game 5 Saturday, Peterborough were the ones getting out in front with a pair of goals in the first half of the first period. Oakville got a couple back but trailed 3-2 after 20 minutes.

Evans, who sat out with what the team called an upper body injury, missed much of the early part of the second period. In his absence, the Rock scored three straight goals in a span of 2:44. The latter two came just 33 seconds apart as Jeremy Noble slid down the alley and drifted a shot over the shoulder of Evan Kirk then Brendan Thenhaus fired a shot at the near post that appeared to drop in when Kirk fell backwards and knocked the net back.

Peterborough looked to have pulled within a goal when one of their players ripped a hard outside shot past Nick Rose. The Lakers had six forwards on the floor at the time though, so the goal was correctly waved off.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Chiefs overcome shorthanded left side and 6-3 deficit to take series lead over Redmen

Dan Dawson, here celebrating a goal earlier in the series, scored the key marker in Six Nations 10-8 win Friday.
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Six Nations Chiefs found a way to win a huge lacrosse game Friday night. Now they just have to find some lefties as they continue their Major Series Lacrosse semifinals.

The Chiefs rebounded from a 6-3 deficit to beat the Brooklin Redmen 10-8 at Iroquois Park Sports Centre and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Jordan Durston led the way with 3 goals and an assist. But partway through the third period, Durston joined fellow lefty forwards Cody Jamieson and Johnny Powless on the sidelines when he fell awkwardly and appeared to suffer what could be a serious knee injury.

That left the Chiefs with a left side consisting of Ryan Benesch, junior callup Austin Staats and usual transition player Brodie Merrill. Staats, Benesch and Durston scored consecutive goals to tie the game up at 6-6. After Brooklin rookie Austin Shanks gave the Redmen the lead again at 6:45 of the third period, Durston finished off his hat trick to tie things up again.

While their next goal came from the lefties' side, it was delivered by a righty who got his coach's message, Dan Dawson. He snaked his way through a passel of defenders to the top of the crease on his off side then twisted his body and hands to someone sneak a shot past Mike Poulin, who continued to play solidly in the Brooklin net.

“I've been giving him crap for a couple of games that I didn't bring him here to be the seventh or eighth offensive guy, I brought him here because he's Dan Dawson,” said Chiefs head coach Rich Kilgour. “He was way more aggressive tonight then he ends up getting that big one at the end. I can't say enough about the guy. He just wants to be a good teammate. I told him every once in a while you have to say 'It's number 6's turn' and take one to the net. He nodded his head and said I gotcha coach and it worked out pretty good.”

Friday, August 12, 2016

Oakville Rock even semifinals with 8-6 win over Peterborough Lakers

The Rock and Lakers are playing a physical, intense series and it's tied 2-2 after Oakville's Game 4 win. (Photo: Kendall Taylor)
If there was any doubt remaining that the Major Series Lacrosse semifinals between the Peterborough Lakers and Oakville Rock is a series, it was erased with Oakville 8-6 win Thursday night in Peterborough that tied things up at two games each.

The teams were tied 6-6 after two periods, just the kind of situation that Lakers fans have gotten used to seeing their team pull out. Thursday, though, it was the Rock who responded to the pressure. They outscored Peterborough 2-0 in the third period with a mix of stingy defence, solid goaltending by Nick Rose and opportune scoring.

What proved to be the winning goal came in a four-on-four situation when Mitch de Snoo found himself up the floor after transitioning the ball.

“I tried to give the ball to Steph[an Leblanc] and I guess he didn't like the shot and he gave it back” de Snoo said. “I happened to get over the top and took a shot. Definitely wasn't my most well-placed shot but it went it and I'll take it.”

It was de Snoo's second goal of the game. His first came in a 3-goal run to open the game. Leblanc started things 44 seconds in when he blew past defender Nick Weiss and bounced a shot past Matt Vinc. de Snoo ran past Scott Self for an unassisted goal 37 seconds later. When Wes Berg ripped a high to high laser home 1:24 later, it was a dream start for the Rock.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tavares, Sanderson and Kelusky named to NLL Hall of Fame

(from left) Josh Sanderson, John Tavares and Tracey Kelusky have been elected to the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame. All three played the majority of their careers in MSL and are still coaching or managing in the league. 
Three of Major Series Lacrosse's greatest players, all of whom are still involved with the league, have been elected to the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame.

All-time leading scorer John Tavares was a unanimous selection. He is joined by Josh Sanderson and Tracey Kelusky. Tavares is now a coach with the Six Nations Chiefs and Kelusky with the Peterborough Lakers. Sanderson is the General Manager of the Oakville Rock.

Redmen even MSL semis with 10-6 win in Six Nations

Mark Matthews had 4 points for Brooklin and the series is now tied 2-2.
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
38 saves from Mike Poulin and eight different players scoring allowed the Brooklin Redmen to win every period en route to tying up the Major Series Lacrosse semifinals against the Six Nations Chiefs with a 10-6 victory Wednesday night in Game 4 at Six Nations' Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.

Curtis Knight and Dan Lintner each scored twice for Brooklin and Mark Matthews led all scorers with a goal and 3 assists. Jr A callup Austin Staats, making his MSL debut, was the Chiefs' top gun with a a pair of goals and an assist, matching the 3 points scored by Dhane Smith (1g, 2a) and Jordan Durston (3a).

The Redmen had surrendered home floor advantage with a Game 3 loss but regained it with last night's win. They took the early lead with goals 45 seconds apart from Lintner and Shayne Jackson, the latter scoring at 5:30.

The score was 3-2 after one period and 4-3 midway through the second. After a nine-minute scoreless stretch, Graeme Hossack broke away for a key shorthanded goal with two and a half minutes to go in the period. Knight connected in the final minute of the frame to make it 6-3 for the Redmen.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lakers down Rock 14-12 to pull ahead 2-1 in MSL semis

Evan Kirk and the Peterborough Lakers upended Mitch de Snoo and the Oakville Rock in Game 3 of the MSL semifinals. Kirk made 46 saves and Adam Jones and Mark Steenhuis each scored 4 goals for Peterborough. (Photo: Dave Fryer)
For the first time in the Major Series Lacrosse semifinals, both the Peterborough Lakers and Oakville Rock found their rhythm on offence. The result was a highly entertaining 14-12 win that gave the Lakers a 2-1 lead in the best of seven series Monday night at Oakville's Toronto Rock Athletic Centre.

Oakville got out to a 2-0 lead with the second goal being a rare one from defender Billy Hostrawser. He certainly didn't look out of place in the offensive zone, though, spinning and whipping a low backhand past Evan Kirk from the side of the crease. It was a goal that would have made any forward proud.

Cory Vitarelli got Peterborough on the board just 26 seconds later at 8:25. Vitarelli did a great job of getting inside position on a defender to accept a pass as he stepped into the slot then took a few methodical steps towards Nick Rose before zipping a shot just off of Rose's arm into the net.

Six minutes later the Lakers went on a run that gave them a lead they would never relinquish, although not for a lack of effort from the Rock.

Mark Steenhuis started the run then kept it going with a power play goal, followed by an Adam Jones marker in transition that made it three goals in exactly two minutes and a 4-2 lead for Peterborough after one period.

Chiefs earn crucial road win to take 2-1 series lead over Redmen

Dhane Smith is getting back to full speed and helping lead the Six Nations
Chiefs in their MSL semifinal series against Brooklin. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Courtesy Six Nations Chiefs

The Six Nations Pro-Fit Chiefs picked up their socks when it counted Monday night.

Down a goal after 40 minutes, Dhane Smith made his presence felt, scoring twice, while Johnny Powless and Stephen Keogh added one goal each in the final frame to lead the Chiefs to an 8-6 win in Whitby. The Chiefs now lead the best-of-seven Major Series Lacrosse semifinal series 2-1.

After Reilly O'Connor opened the scoring seven minutes into the game, Cody Jamieson responded with a pair of goals three minutes apart. Dan Lintner responded for the Redmen late in the period.

That goal sparked the Redmen, as Ryan Keenan and Austin shanks gave their team a two-goal lead before the second period was two minutes old. Midway through the frame, Dan Dawson scored, before Mark Matthews and Ryan Benesch exchanged goals to set up the third-period comeback.

Dillon Ward was rock solid, making 51 saves to preserve the win, while his teammates forced Mike Poulin to make 52 stops.

The series now shifts to the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Both semifinals knotted at 1-1

No one expected to see any sweeps this year in the Major Series Lacrosse playoffs. Now we know for sure there won't be any in the semifinals.

One night after the Oakville Rock evened their best of seven series against Peterborough at 1-1 with a 12-9 win fuelled by seven goals in transition, the Six Nations Chiefs got the other semi to 1-1 as well with a 9-4 win over the Brooklin Redmen on Saturday.

The second period was the difference in Six Nations. After a 3-3 opening frame, the Chiefs blanked Brooklin 5-0 over the middle 20 minutes. Each team scored only once in the third. Oddly enough, those third-period goals came just 27 seconds apart.

Craig Point sat out Game 1 for the Chiefs. Despite an offence loaded with big names and big talent, Six Nations had trouble scoring in that game, falling 6-4. Point helped rectify that issue with 3 goals Saturday. Rookie Austin Shanks answered Point with a hat trick of his own for the Redmen.

Shanks and Mark Matthews scored power play goals for Brooklin but the Chiefs were much more dangerous with the extra man. Ryan Benesch, Cody Jamieson and Point all scored power play markers and Point's third-period goal came with Dillon Ward pulled for an extra attacker.

Both semis get back in action Monday night. Six Nations travels to Brooklin and Peterborough is in Oakville for their respective Games 3.  

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Brooklin takes 6-4 win in Game 1 defensive battle with Six Nations

Kiel Matisz scores a big goal for Brooklin in their 6-4 Game 1 win of the MSL semifinals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

Consider the message sent.

If there was any doubt that the Major Series Lacrosse semifinal between the Brooklin Redmen and Six Nations Chiefs was going to be a series, that doubt was removed Wednesday night when the Redmen won a defensive battle 6-4 on their home floor.

The Chiefs have been to the last four MSL finals, winning two Mann Cups in that span. Brooklin missed the playoffs last year. So, says Redmen goalie Mike Poulin, Wednesday night was about “Holding home court and sending a message that we're in this series. I talked to a lot of people and when they asked me who we're playing and I said Six Nations, they kind of gave me the look of death. Winning Game 1 is really just sending the message, we're here to play.”

Even without Chris Corbeil, who was acquired by Brooklin at the trade deadline but is missing the first couple games of the series for his honeymoon, the Redmen's defence put on an impressive display. They limited the Chiefs' scoring chances. When Six Nations was able to create good shots, Poulin was there to make some excellent saves.

None among his total of 38 stops was bigger than the one he made in the dying seconds with his counterpart Dillon Ward on the bench for an extra attacker. Cody Jamieson received a cross-floor backdoor pass that he redirected quickly towards what looked like it would be the tying goal.

“He came from the other side, so I thought he was a righty,” Poulin said of the play. “I wasn't expecting it, to be honest, but I jumped over and was lucky enough to get the leg out so it worked out.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Redmen vs Chiefs semifinal previewed on IL Indoor

As promised, IL Indoor editor Stephen Stamp posted his preview of the Brooklin vs Six Nations MSL semifinal today. As everyone who has watched the regular season unfold, he had a difficult time making a pick in this series. See his article and who he wound up going with here.

Grant leads Lakers to 8-3 Game 1 win over Oakville after pregame jersey retirement ceremonygr

John Grant Jr won the Mann Cup with Peterborough the last time he appeared in one, in 2012. He's hoping Tuesday's Game 1 semifinal win was the first step towards one more. (Photo: Dave Fryer)
The Peterborough Lakers held a ceremony to announce they are retiring John Grant Jr.'s jersey at the end of the season before Tuesday night's Game 1 of the Major Series Lacrosse semifinals against the Oakville Rock. Then Grant went out and reminded everyone why his #24 now hangs in the rafters alongside other all-time greats from the franchise.

Grant had 3 goals and 2 assists to lead the Lakers to an 8-3 win. Taking the first game at home was extra important to Peterborough since the next two games in the series will be played in Oakville; the Memorial Centre is unavailable for the the next week because of the annual Peterborough Exhibition.

The game was prefaced with an emotional 20-minute pregame ceremony during which the crowd of 2,724 gave Grant three standing ovations. His parents, wife Raygen, daughter Gabby and other family members were on the floor for the ceremony. Long-time friend and teammate Tracey Kelusky spoke. “When we were young we wanted to be the Gaits,” Kelusky said. “Kids today want to be John Grant Jr.”

The Lakers presented Grant a framed collage of photos from his legendary career with the team. National team chairman Dean French was also on hand to present Grant a framed Team Canada jersey. To conclude the ceremony, Grant addressed the crowd. He finished up saying, “Now if you don't mind, I need to wear this jersey for another month or so,” and ran to the Peterborough bench to get ready to play.

A few minutes later, appropriately, he got the Lakers on the board. Grant fought through a couple of defenders and fired a bouncer. Nick Rose got some of it but the ball dribbled across the goal line before Rose could spin and stop it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

MSL playoffs previewed on IL Indoor and In Lacrosse We Trust

The countdown to playoffs is well underway. The first game of the first semifinal gets underway Tuesday night at 7:45 pm when the Peterborough Lakers play host to the Oakville Rock in a rematch of last year's series won in five games by the Lakers.

Wednesday night, the Six Nations Chiefs visit the Brooklin Redmen to kick off the other semifinal. Six Nations beat Brampton in five games last year to advance to the final against Peterborough, which the Lakers won in seven games.

IL Indoor and In Lacrosse We Trust have both run previews. Indoor's Stephen Stamp published a look at the Peterborough/Oakville series and will post his preview of Brooklin/Six Nations Wednesday before their first game. Anna Taylor of ILWT ran a single column covering both series.

Lakers to honour John Grant Jr at Tuesday's playoff opener vs Oakville

John Grant Jr. will be the last Laker to wear the #24 and he'll begin wearing it in his last playoff run Tuesday night.
(Photo: Tim Prothero)
John Grant Jr. was in diapers when he grabbed his first lacrosse stick, probably a wooden one because his legendary lacrosse father didn’t like those “Tupperware ones.”

To say that the Peterborough Grants’ family life centred around lacrosse is an understatement; it was life. John Sr. was a phenomenal player who grew up in the Civic Arena area of Park Street with either a hockey a lacrosse stick in his hands, admiring the play of another legend Bob Allan who he watched and copied. Senior went on to an excellent career with the Peterborough Lakers and starred in the pro league for Philadelphia where fans stuck to him like ants on honey.

John Jr. was showing the same kind of talent at a young age joining, and growing up with, the Peterborough Minor Lacrosse Association house league and Lakers’ all star teams.
The kid was incredible and the junior team couldn’t wait to get hold of him. He jumped intermediate lacrosse and went to junior winning the OLA Junior A MVP award in 1994.

The Senior Lakers were anticipating his arrival and he didn’t disappoint them winning the Major Series Lacrosse league rookie of the year award in his first season with the big squad. In that year his #24 wasn’t available but he grabbed it the next season and has worn it ever since, playing most of those years alongside his friend and now Lakers’ assistant coach Tracey Kelusky. That was  a long time ago.

Major Series Lacrosse announces year-end award winners

Shawn Evans of the Peterborough Lakers has won the Jim Murphy Award for most valuable player in Major Series Lacrosse for the second time. Evans also led the league in scoring, with is 82 points being 13 more than anyone else scored even though he sat out the last two games of the season.

The Lakers also took the Harry Lumley Award for fewest goals against. The award is shared by Matt Vinc and Evan Kirk who gave up just 120 goals between them.

The league's top defensive player and winner of the Merve McKenzie Awards is Graeme Hossack of the Brooklin Redmen.

Tyson Bell of the Brampton Excelsiors and Jordan Durston of the Six Nations Chiefs tied for the Gene Dopp Memorial Trophy presented annually to MSL's outstanding rookie.

The Oakville Rock trio of Matt Sawyer, Jon Harasym and Pat Campbell won the Terry Sanderson Award for the top coaching group.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Evans leads scorers, Vinc and Rose top goalies in MSL regular season

Shawn Evans won his third MSL scoring title this year, leading the league in both points and assists. (Photo: Dave Fryer)

Shawn Evans put himself in elite company by winning the Major Series Lacrosse scoring title this summer. He becomes the sixth man to win at least three, joining legendary players Johnny Shooter Davis and Josh Sanderson at three Ontario senior scoring championships each. Shawn Williams won six titles, Bill Isaacs seven and all-time leading scorer John Tavares nine.

Evans finished with 82 points, giving him a 13-point cushion despite sitting out the final two games of his Peterborough Lakers' regular season. He also collected more assists, 60, than all but second-leading scorer Cody Jamieson of the Six Nations Chiefs. Evans also led the league in assists with Jamieson second at 49.

Evans' third title moves him ahead of the 13 players who won two each. That group includes an interesting array of former stars. They range from Norm Zimmer, who won the first two OLA senior scoring championships in 1925 and '26 to Scott Evans, Shawn's older brother who won titles in 2005 & '06. A pair of current Brooklin coaches, Derek Keenan and Gil Nieuwendyk, each won a pair, as did Peterborough legends J.J. Johnston, Bobby Allan and Larry Ferguson.

Wes Berg barely held on for the goal-scoring lead. Berg had 32 goals, one more than Cory Vitarelli, who almost caught him by scoring six in Peterborough's final game Tuesday night. Berg played 17 games this season and Vitarelli 14.

Schedule released for Brooklin vs Six Nations semifinal

The schedule has been announced for the Major Series Lacrosse best of seven semifinal between the second-place Brooklin Redmen and third-place Six Nations Chiefs.

Game 1 - Wednesday Aug 3rd @ Brooklin 8pm
Game 2 - Saturday Aug 6th @ Six Nations 7pm
Game 3 - Monday Aug 8th @ Brooklin 8pm
Game 4 - Wednesday Aug 10th @ Six Nations 8pm
Game 5 - Friday Aug 12th @ Brooklin 8pm *
Game 6 - Saturday Aug 13th @ Six Nations 7pm *
Game 7 - Tuesday Aug 16th @ Brooklin 8pm *

*if necessary

Schedule released for Peterborough vs Oakville semifinal

The schedule for the semifinal between the first-place Peterborough Lakers and fourth-place Oakville Rock has been announced. The sequence of games is a little unusual because the Lakers don't have access to their Memorial Centre home next week during the Peterborough Exhibition. 

Game 1  Tuesday, August 2 in Peterborough, 7:45 pm
Game 2  Friday, August 5 in Oakville, 8 pm
Game 3  Monday, August 8 in Oakville, 8 pm
Game 4  Thursday, August 11 in Peterborough, 8 pm
Game 5*  Saturday, August 13 in Peterborough, 7 pm (note earlier start time)
Game 6*  Monday, August 15 in Oakville, 8 pm
Game 7*  Thursday, August 18 in Peterborough, 8 pm

*if necessary

Lakers down Kodiaks 19-9 to wrap up MSL regular season schedule

John Grant was passing up a storm Thursday night. He had 9 assists to go
with his 3 goals. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
A week ago, John Grant Jr. looked like an old lacrosse player. Thursday night, he looked like the old John Grant.

The 41-year-old Grant took a few games looking for his rhythm when he returned to the Peterborough Lakers after a summer spent primarily playing professional field lacrosse. It's safe to say he's found it. With the Lakers already having clinched first place before their game against Cobourg Thursday, Grant put on a passing display for the 3,238 fans at the Memorial Centre as the Lakers dumped the Kodiaks 19-9 in the final game of the Major Series Lacrosse regular season. Six Nations downed Brampton 10-4 in the other game Thursday.

Grant had 3 goals and 9 assists, picking apart even small seams in the Kodiaks defence the way he has for years en route to being one of the highest-scoring and most exciting players in the game. He earned 4 assists on goals by Cory Vitarelli alone. Grant also sprinted back to break up a breakaway chance by Cobourg transition player Chad Cummings late in the fourth quarter with the win well in hand.

Vitarelli had a big night as well, scoring 6 goals. The final one elicited one well-prepared fan to toss a pair of socks onto the floor to celebrate Vitarelli's sock trick. Adam Jones chipped in 3 goals and 3 assists and Mark Steenhuis 2 goals and 4 assists for Peterborough.

Peterborough native and former Laker Matt Crough led the Kodiaks with 4 goals. His last one was reminiscent of a Grant play. Shorthanded, Crough snapped up a pass that had been tipped by a defender en route to him atop the crease, threw a crazy dangle at the defender who picked him up and eventually fired a fancy underhand past Matt Vinc.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Playoff seedings finalized as Brooklin beats Oakville 9-6

The playoff matchups are all set in Major Series Lacrosse after the Brooklin Redmen secured second place with a 9-6 win over the Oakville Rock Wednesday night at Iroquois Park in Whitby.

Curtis Knight led the way with 5 goals, including 3 in the decisive third period, to set up a semifinal meeting with the third-place Six Nations Chiefs that will start next Wednesday in Whitby. First-place Peterborough will play host to Oakville, who finish fourth, in the first game of the other semifinal next Tuesday.

Oakville would have finished ahead of Brooklin had they won last night to split this week's home and home and thus the season series. The Rock got off to a good start when Glen Bryan scored on a transition break just under three minutes in. Knight evened things up about 10 minutes later, but Oakville went into the locker room up 3-1 after Stephan Leblanc and Dan MacRae scored 24 seconds apart later in the period.

Bryan Cole was given a five-minute roughing major when he collided with Brooklin goalie Zack Higgins just over a minute into the second period. Higgins lay on the floor for quite a while as a melee ensued behind his net. When he got back up, he was awfully tough to beat.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Redmen take defensive battle 5-4 over Rock

Austin Shanks, here scoring against Brampton, had the winner for the
Redmen in their crucial Monday win. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
The Brooklin Redmen assured that they will still have something to play for on Wednesday while the Oakville Rock missed a chance to assure themselves of at least third place in Major Series Lacrosse action Monday night at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville.

The teams were tied entering the night with Oakville holding the edge for potential tiebreakers between the teams by virtue of outscoring Brooklin by six goals in the two games they split earlier in the season. But the Redmen kept their hopes for second place in the final standings alive with a 5-4 win on Austin Shanks' goal with three and a half minutes to play.

Both goalies came to the fore, with sparkling save percentages. Oakville's Nick Rose posted an .884 mark by making 38 saves on 43 shots. Mike Poulin was even better for Brooklin, though. He turned aside 42 of 46 shots for an NHL-like .913 percentage.

The game didn't look like it would be so low-scoring early on. Damon Edwards got the Rock off and running with a goal just 56 seconds into the game. Fellow transition player Mitch Wilde evened it up at the 2:20 mark.

When Jeremy Noble connected at 5:10 of the first, the teams were on track to score over 30 total goals. The offence ground to a halt at that point, though. Nobody was able to score for almost an entire period. The next player to find the back of the net was Brooklin's Mark Matthews at 3:15 of the second.