Brooklin clinches playoff spot with road victory against Excelsiors
By Sam Laskaris
The Brooklin Lacrosse Club kicked off the second half of its regular season in fine style on Thursday. The Brooklin squad eked out a 10-9 victory over the host Brampton Excelsiors. Veteran Connor Kearnan netted the game-winning goal with just 2.9 seconds remaining in the contest, held at the Brampton Memorial Arena. Besides picking up a pair of points and improving its record to 5-4-0, more importantly the Brooklin team also managed to secure a playoff berth in the process. That’s because with the loss, the Excelsiors, who saw their record fall to 2-11-0, are now six points behind Brooklin in the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) standings.
Even if Brampton should happen to win its remaining three contests, and in the unlikely scenario that Brooklin loses its final seven matches, the two squads would end up with the same amount of points. But Brooklin would advance to post-season action since it has won the season series (3-0 thus far) between the two rivals. Brooklin is currently occupying third place in the MSL standings, behind the 9-2-0 Six Nations Chiefs and the 8-2-0 Peterborough Lakers.
Kearnan, whose game-winner was his third goal of Thursday’s outing, was unaware his side clinched a post-season berth with the triumph.
“That’s huge,” Kearnan said. “And it means a lot because the playoffs are what we are working towards.”
Kearnan, who also chipped in with a pair of assists for a five-point performance, said Brooklin’s coaching staff stressed how the team was trying to join Six Nations and Peterborough in the upper echelon of the standings and separate itself from the Excelsiors and the Cobourg Kodiaks, who are now sporting 2-7-0 mark, following a 12-9 setback in Peterborough on Thursday. Brooklin head coach Jason Crosbie was also pleased to hear his side had secured a playoff berth on Thursday. But he wasn’t thrilled with how the match versus the Excelsiors transpired.
“They made a lot of errors,” he said of his charges. “But we got through it.” Until Kearnan’s late game-winner it looked like overtime might be required to determine a winner in this affair. Brampton, which trailed 9-6, staged a late rally and deadlocked the game at 9-9 by scoring three goals in the final two minutes of play.
As has been the case several other nights this season, the Brooklin squad included numerous players, including junior callups, who played their first game of the MSL season.
“Every night is like a new chess game,” Crosbie said. “We can’t get a commitment from a lot of guys. So that’s the way it is. We’re just piecing together a different LEGO set with different LEGO pieces every night.”
Kearnan’s younger brother Brady also had another solid night, scoring twice and picking up a pair of helpers.
Devin Pipher also netted two goals for Brooklin while Luke Pilcher, Jack Boyden and Angus Rawding added singles. For Rawding, who was making his MSL debut, it was also obviously his first goal in the league. The Brooklin team returns to action this Sunday against the host Cobourg Kodiaks. That match, which will be played at the Cobourg Community Centre, has an opening faceoff scheduled for 6 p.m.