Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Chiefs go to overtime yet again, pull out 11-10 win over Rock

Randy Staats, here accepting the ball in an earlier game, scored the winner
Tuesday night as Six Nations edged Oakville 11-10 in OT. 
The Six Nations Chiefs have played almost a full extra game this summer. Tuesday night marked their fifth overtime game of the Major Series Lacrosse season. That's 50 extra minutes of lacrosse.

While the players may not love the extra work, the good news for the Chiefs is they've been successful in OT. The last two goals of the game, by Dhane Smith and Randy Staats, gave them an 11-10 win over the Oakville Rock that improved their record in overtime this year to 3-0-2.

Lacrosse people talk all the time about how it's a game of runs. Seldom has the truth of that statement been more evident than in last night's game. Six Nations scored the first three goals of the game. Then Oakville scored three goals. That made it 3-3 after 20 minutes.

The second period was Oakville's turn for a run. They scored five goals, interrupted only briefly by a Ryan Benesch marker. The 8-4 lead made it look like the Rock had a good chance to move into a first-place tie with the Peterborough Lakers at 23 points, although the Lakers have two games in hand.

Not so fast, though. The Chiefs took control of the third period. In fact, the scoring played out as a mirror image of the second. Six Nations scored, Oakville's Eric Fannell responded, then the Chiefs got four in a row. Benesch's second of the game, at 18:42, forced overtime.

To recap: 3-0 run for Oakville; 3-0 for Six Nations; 4-1 for Oakville; 4-1 for Six Nations. And on to overtime.

The Rock got the first goal of the extra frame when Jeremy Noble completed his hat trick to go with a pair of assists. The lead didn't last long. Noble's goal came at 2:16 and Smith replied 37 seconds later. Staats finished off his hat trick with the eventual game winner three minutes from full time.

There was plenty of drama left before time would expire, though. With Jr B callup Tyger Stacey backing up starting goalie Warren Hill, the Rock elected to ask for an equipment check on Hill. It was an extent. Hill was determined to have an illegal jersey. That called for a 2-minute minor penalty but not ejection from the game.

Oakville had chances on the power play, but Hill stepped up and turned aside everything he faced. He wound up with 44 saves on 54 shots for the game. Nick Rose was even busier for Oakville; he stopped 54 of the 65 shots he faced.

The final result only served to keep the MSL standings even tighter. Peterborough still sits in first with 23 points, followed by Oakville with 21, Six Nations with 20, and Brooklin with 19. With the Redmen and Chiefs both facing the Lakers in the next two days, possible scenarios at the end of the week range from Peterborough clinching first place with a substantial gap to all four of the top teams clumped within two points.