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.