Brooklin doubles up visiting Excelsiors in defensive battle

By Sam Laskaris

Members of the Brooklin Lacrosse Club had some difficulties finding the back of their opponents’ net on Wednesday.

But in the end, it didn’t really matter that the host Brooklin squad only managed to score six goals against the visiting Brampton Excelsiors in their Major Series Lacrosse contest. That’s because Brooklin netminder Riley Hutchcraft had a stellar performance allowing his squad to register a 6-3 triumph in the defensive battle, staged at Iroquois Park Sports Complex
in Whitby.

With the victory Brooklin’s record improved to 4-3-0. The Excelsiors saw their mark fall to 2-8-0. Brooklin defender Mike Byrne was not surprised Wednesday’s match was a low-scoring affair. “I think both teams are young and athletic and both goalies played great,” he said. “Hutchie was our anchor back there and it was pretty easy to play in front of him today.” Brooklin led just 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes of action. And Byrne and his teammates took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission.
Brooklin outshot Brampton 51-41 in the contest. Like Hutchcraft, Brampton netminder Lucas Nagy also had a solid performance between the pipes. 

Despite the fact the teams combined for just four goals in the first two periods, Byrne said his teammates were not really down on themselves.

- photo by Sam Laskaris

“The offence was getting some good looks,” Byrne said. “I think it can be a little frustrating at times. But it was a little bit of a defensive battle. Today I know the D kind of brought us up. And in other games it will be the offence. So, it goes mix and match. Next game, who knows? The O might carry us.”

Brooklin’s Trent Boyd also had plenty of praise for Hutchcraft.

“He played phenomenal,” he said. “It was a great performance.” 

Besides making numerous saves, the spotlight was on Hutchcraft for a couple of other reasons during the match. In the third period he was assessed a roughing minor after taking a few shots at a Brampton player who he felt got a bit took close for comfort in his crease area. Boyd said he was pleased to see Hutchcraft take matters into his own hands. Literally.

- photo by Mark Stehlin

“We love to see it,” Boyd said of Hutchcraft displaying his combative self. “Hutchie is awesome. He kept us in the game the whole way. Our O came through in the third period. And Hutchie was a big part of that win, for sure.”

Hutchcraft also stopped a penalty shot in the second period.  Like Byrne, Boyd said members of the Brooklin squad were not overly concerned they had scored just three goals heading into the final 20 minutes.

“We were fine,” he said. “The D played great and we went back into the dressing room and we stuck to the game plan. The O, they had their chances, they just hit some posts and missed just wide. They got opportunities there in the third and they capitalized on them.”

Six different players scored goals for Brooklin. They were Jack Boyden, Ryan Keenan, Kyle Waters, Tristan Hanna, Connor Kearnan and Brady Kearnan. Connor Kearnan also chipped in offensively with three assists while Waters had a pair of

Brooklin returns to action next Wednesday, July 5, with a home game versus the Six Nations Chiefs for the annual Scott McMichael Minor Lacrosse Night. The opening faceoff is set for 8 p.m.