Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Oakville doubles Cobourg 10-5 in Kokiaks' first game in their new home

Bradley Kri and AJ Masson battle for a faceoff in the Kodiaks first game since moving to Cobourg. (Photo: Anna Taylor)
The Cobourg Kodiaks got off to a great start in their new home and gave the home crowd of over 1,000 fans something to cheer about Sunday afternoon at the Cobourg Community Centre.

Unfortunately for the team and their fans, they weren't able to sustain their momentum and fell 10-5 to the Oakville Rock in the 2016 Major Series Lacrosse season opener.

Eric Guiltinan broke away and scored the season’s first goal just under three minutes into the game. Rance Vigneux was sharp between the pipes for Cobourg, allowing the Kodiaks to weather some pressure from the Rock until Matt Crough, playing his first game with the team, took a pass from Jacob Ruest and tucked it home from in close to make it 2-0 near the midway point of the first period.

Jeremy Noble finally got the visitors on the board when he rifled home an outside shot on the power play at 12:55. That was all the scoring in the first frame.

Oakville finally solved Vigneux more regularly in the second as Wes Berg scored three of his first four goals in the first half of the frame and Jason Noble added a transition goal. Cobourg coach Jamie Dubrick pulled Vigneux when Brenden Thenhaus buried a sidearm rip from deep to make it 6-2.

Ryan Schuetzkowski did a fine job in relief, holding the Rock from scoring again until Jordan Critch connected shorthanded with just seven seconds left in the second period. The Kodiaks called time out when they gained control after the ensuing faceoff; the officials conferred and added a second to the clock, so the time read 4.1 seconds to play.

That second would prove critical. A Kodiaks player ran the ball in from mid-floor and passed it to a teammate, who ripped a shot that ricocheted off the glass behind the net and straight out to Cody McMahon, who tucked it into the net just before the buzzer sounded. If you're thinking that sounds like a lot to have happened in 4.1 seconds, the Rock agree with you and complained to the refs that the clock didn't start running right away when play was blown in. The goal counted, though, and it was 7-4 after two periods.

Cobourg never got closer than that, though. Noble, Glen Bryan and Berg scored the first three goals of a third period that Oakville dominated to stretch the lead to 10-4 and seal their first win of the season. Shayne Adams got Cobourg's last goal with just 8 seconds left.

Broedie Birkhof was ejected from the game in the middle of the third for accumulating five minor penalties. He got a roughing double minor in the first period then an interference call for drilling a player as he was heading to the bench in the second. In the third he received one unsportsmanlike penalty then went ballistic on his way to the penalty box, repeatedly gesturing to the entire Oakville bench to come and fight him. They remained calm enough to ignore his invitation, which of course would have led to an automatic suspension for anyone who went to meet him.

Birkhof kept yelling and gesticulating at the Oakville bench after he was given another unsportsmanlike and was being escorted to the tunnel to the Cobourg dressing room, pushing the referee in the process.

Things got feisty again late in the third when Berg fired a shot just after the 30-second clock expired. Chad Cummings went after Berg but Bradley Kri, who had just come on the floor as the Rock offence went for a change, interceded. He and Cummings dropped the gloves, ripped each other's helmets off and got some punches in before they fell to the floor.

With just 15 seconds to play, the four players on the floor for each team simply stayed at their own ends as the final seconds ticked off then went to gather with their respective goalies.