Brooklin And Merchants Both Register Victories

By Sam Laskaris

It was a night of firsts.

Brooklin Lacrosse Club goaltender Riley Hutchcraft earned his first Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) victory on Wednesday night. And Dan Michel, whose playing rights were acquired in a deal with the Peterborough Lakers last week, scored his first goal in his first game with Brooklin.

Also Justin Lemcke, acquired in the same deal which brought Michel to town, had his first fight in a Brooklin uniform, winning a decision over Brampton’s captain Michael Burke. Most importantly, however, Brooklin earned its first victory of the 2019 campaign by downing the visiting Brampton Excelsiors 7-5 in a match held at Whitby’s Iroquois Park Sports Centre.

The good news didn’t stop there for the Brooklin organization. That’s because its Ontario Series Lacrosse affiliate, the Merchants Lacrosse Club, secured itself a playoff position thanks to a 16-6 victory over the host Ennismore James Gang. That game was staged at the Robert E. Young Recreation Complex.

“It feels awesome,” Hutchcraft, who also plays professionally with the National Lacrosse League’s Toronto Rock, said of his first W with the Brooklin squad. The victory snapped Brooklin’s nine-game losing streak. But Hutchcraft didn’t necessarily believe Wednesday’s effort was the best his squad has played this season. “We’ve been good all season,” he said. “We’ve just been on the wrong end of the scoreboard.”

Holden Garlent, who scored twice for Brooklin, was pleased to see his team score four of its seven goals in transition.
Besides praising Huthcraft for his work between the pipes, Garlent also raved about the play of both Michel and Lemcke in their first outings with the club. “We fed off their energy,” Garlent said.

Though Brooklin finds itself eight points back of a playoff spot with eight regular season games remaining, Garlent said his teammates are not giving up on the season. “We’re taking it game by game,” he said. “But we know we’re capable of winning our next eight games.”

Connor Kearnan also scored twice for Brooklin on Wednesday. Besides Michel, also providing single markers were Mitch Wilde and Connor Laird.

As for the Merchants, they didn’t face much of a challenge from the James Gang, who only dressed 12 runners.

“It’s tough to play in those type of games,” said Merchants’ assistant coach Ryan Preston. “There’s not much atmosphere. And it’s hard to stay engaged. But we got the two points and secured a playoff spot.” With the victory the Merchants improved their record to 7-5. Ennismore’s mark fell to 3-10.

Jeff Fernandes led the Merchants’ attack with a four-goal night. Liam Osborne also chipped in offensively with a hat trick while Tyler Goodchild netted a pair. Single goals were scored by Dylan Goddard, Jake Gilmour, Jeremy McWatters, Brody Munro, Josh Toguri, Cory Upshaw and Jackson Suboch.

Brooklin returns to action this Sunday with a road contest against the Cobourg Kodiaks. That game, which will be held at the Cobourg Community Centre, has a 6 p.m. faceoff.

Brooklin’s next home game is next Wednesday (July 10) at 8 p.m. versus the Oakville Rock.

As for the Merchants, their next outing is next Tuesday on the road against the Kitchener Waterloo Velocity.

The Merchants will then return home to face the Owen North North Stars. That match, at Children’s Arena in Oshawa, will have an 8:30 p.m. start.