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.

He scored the first of two shorthanded markers in the period that would prove to be the difference in the Redmen's win. Shane Jackson had the other six minutes later. It was his first of two, the only time in the game one team would score back to back goals.

The teams meet again on Wednesday in Whitby. If Brooklin wins, they will clinch second place and home floor advantage in the first round of the playoffs. If Oakville wins, they will finish ahead of the Redmen and in either second or third, depending on how the Six Nations Chiefs fare in their home and home series with the Brampton Excelsiors Tuesday and Thursday. The Peterborough Lakers have already clinched first place.