By Sam Laskaris

Thanks to a huge fourth quarter on Tuesday, the Brooklin Lacrosse Club remained undefeated in the Major Series Lacrosse Classic. Brooklin registered its third consecutive victory in the five-team tournament, downing Owen Sound 19-10 in a game staged at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville.

Five of the six MSL squads are participating in the five-week event, which continues until Aug. 26. All games are at the two-pad Oakville facility. The Peterborough Lakers are the only MSL franchise that opted not to participate in the tourney, which was hastily put together, about two months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the league’s regular season.

Brooklin and Owen Sound were involved in a back-and-forth outing on Tuesday up until the final quarter.

Brooklin held a slim 12-10 advantage heading into the final 15 minutes of action. Brooklin, however, managed to score seven more times in the fourth quarter. And goaltender Nick Damude, who was making his first start in a Brooklin uniform, earned the victory, in part by holding Owen Sound off the scoresheet in the final quarter. Brooklin had selected Damude, a product of the St. Catharines Athletics’ Junior A club, in the first round, fifth over-all in the 2019 MSL Entry Draft.

Jason Crosbie, who served as Brooklin’s head coach for the night while Brad MacArthur assessed his players’ performances from the stands, knew Damude was in all likelihood nervous for his first MSL start. “You want to come in and make a good impression,” Crosbie said of Damude. “I think he was frustrated with his own game. I said how many of those goals do you want back and he said all of them.”

Crosbie, who is usually a BLC assistant coach but ended up with his first Brooklin win serving as a head coach, was pleased to see Damude settle down and not allow any shots past him in the final quarter.

“We talked about shutting it down on D because we weren’t doing that,” Crosbie said, adding he was thrilled to see some of the team’s offensive stars continue doing their part as well and put the game out of reach. 

Several Brooklin players had stat-padding matches. Though he only scored once himself, Ryan Keenan was an assist machine on the floor, picking up nine helpers for a ten-point performance. “He’s a (National Lacrosse League) veteran and a league all-star for a reason,” Crosbie said of Keenan, who also toils with the NLL’s Saskathewan Rush.

Dan Michel, Chris Boushy, and Jonathan Donville scored four goals apiece while Connor Kearnan netted a hat trick. Boushy was also credited with four assists, resulting in an eight-point match for him. Jake Fox added a pair of goals for Brooklin, including the finale of the game, via a spectacular behind-the-back shot. Jake Stevens also scored for Brooklin.

For Brooklin, Tuesday’s contest was its only one this week. The squad returns to action next Tuesday, Aug. 10, when it squares off against the Cobourg Kodiaks. Brooklin will then battle the Oakville Rock next Wednesday, for the first time this season. Opening faceoffs for both matches are scheduled for 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s other MSL Classic game, the Six Nations Chiefs picked up their first win in three starts, defeating Cobourg 15-7.

The Kodiaks are still seeking their first tournament victory, as they were doubled 14-7 by Brooklin last week, in their only other game thus far.