By Sam Laskaris

It’s all even now. 

Unlike a night earlier, the Brooklin Lacrosse Club got off to a solid start on Tuesday. The host Brooklin squad enjoyed a 5-2 lead after the opening 20 minutes of its Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) match against the visiting Peterborough Lakers in a game held at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby.

Since it continued to add to its lead throughout the contest, Brooklin was able to survive a Lakers’ third-period rally, which consisted of five straight Peterborough goals. And in the end Brooklin eked out a 12-10 triumph to even its MSL best-of-seven semi-final series at 1-1.

The Lakers had won the series opener 12-8 on Monday in Peterborough. The series resumes in Peterborough on Thursday.

“It was big,” Kyle Waters, who scored a hat trick for Brooklin on Tuesday said of his club’s win. “Obviously we played last night. I think they’ve got a little bit of an older team so we knew we needed to win this one and push it to 1-1 going back to their barn on Thursday.” Waters and his teammates were enjoying a six-goal cushion, 11-5, early in the final period in
Tuesday’s encounter.

But the Lakers came storming back, netting four even-strength goals and a shorthanded marker to cut the deficit to 11-10.

Brooklin’s Jake Stevens ended the Peterborough momentum when he scored what proved to be the game’s final goal with just over two minutes remaining on the clock. “It was huge,” Waters said of Stevens’ goal. “When you’ve got a D guy scoring a goal like that, it’s a huge momentum lift and obviously it pushed us over the edge and we were lucky enough to squeak out a win there. I think it was a massive goal.”

Walters was also cognizant of the fact members of his team could only blame themselves for allowing the Lakers to make it a close one until the end.

“We let the gas up a little bit for a couple of minutes,” Waters said of the third-period stretch when the Lakers popped in five consecutive goals. “When they’ve got talent like that down there we can’t do that. Obviously, we tried to keep as cool as we could. We knew we were still up by a few. We decided to reel it in a bit and we were lucky enough to pull it out in the end

Though it is still early on in this series, Waters believes Game 3 will be an instrumental one. “I think Thursday’s game is going to be a super important one on how the rest of the series goes,” he said. While Brooklin supporters might have felt the game was slipping away during the Lakers’ rally in the third, Stevens said the mood on the Brooklin bench was a different one.

“It was just keep going,” he said of the attitude his teammates had. “They’re a very good team, a lot of veteran players on that team. They’re going to go on runs. You’ve just got to make sure you don’t get too far ahead of yourselves and just buckle down and grind it out until the end like we did. And we got it done.”

Like many others, Stevens was surprised he was the one who put an end to the Lakers’ rally. “Usually I don’t go out the front door but we were trying to stop some transition, stop them from getting some transition so they let me stay out there and press,” he said. And when the ball ended up in his stick as he approached the Lakers’ net, Stevens had to react quickly.

“I felt a guy on my back and didn’t have much time,” he said. “I put it on net and it happened to go in.”

Stevens added it was vital his squad have a solid start on Tuesday. In Game 1 of the series the Lakers struck early and often and took a 6-1 lead into the first intermission.

“It was an asset,” Stevens said of Brooklin’s start in Game 2. “I think the last few times we played them they got off to big starts and with a team that good it’s hard to come back. So, it was important that we got out front today and we did.”

Meanwhile, Birthday Boy Connor Kearnan had a game-high six points for Brooklin, scoring once and earning five assists.

Brooklin also got two-goal performances out of Kearnan’s younger brother Brady, Dyson Williams and Curtis Knight. Ryan Lanchbury had the other Brooklin goal.

Following Thursday’s match, Brooklin will host Game 4 this coming Sunday. Game time is 7 p.m.