by Sam Laskaris

The Brooklin Lacrosse Club is on a roll. Brooklin improved its record to a perfect 4-0 by downing the Cobourg Kodiaks 13-11 in a Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) Classic match Tuesday night. All games in the five-week MSL Classic are being staged at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville.

A pair of veterans and a rookie goaltender led Brooklin to victory. Connor Kearnan and Curtis Knight handled the bulk of the team scoring, racking up five goals apiece.  Kearnan also earned three assists to end up with an eight-point performance while Knight had a pair of helpers for a seven-point outing. 

Meanwhile, netminder Joel Watson earned the W between the pipes in his first MSL start. Watson, a graduate of the Whitby Warriors’ Junior A squad, was one of Brooklin’s protected players prior to the 2020 MSL Entry Draft.

“We were extremely happy for him,” Brooklin head coach/general manager Brad MacArthur said of Watson. “I’ve known Joel since he was in minor lacrosse. It's good to see a kid come through the system and get his first win.” Watson, who honed his skills in the Whitby Minor Lacrosse Association, began his junior career with the Clarington-based Green Gaels’ Junior B squad before spending three seasons with the Warriors.

Though Kearnan and Knight were the two individuals racking up points on the gamesheet, MacArthur had just as much, if not more praise for a pair of other offensive players, Jeff Wittig and Dylan Riley, who made significant contributions on the night in the offensive zone. Wittig ended up with four assists while Riley had a pair of helpers.

Austin Murphy only scored once for Brooklin but it was indeed a big goal. Brooklin, which at one point in the third quarter had enjoyed a five-goal lead (11-6) found itself up by just one, 12-11, with just over three minutes remaining in the contest.

With his goal, coming with slightly less than three minutes left, Murphy gave his side a two-goal cushion. As it turned out, Murphy’s marker was the final one of the night. “Cobourg had a bit of momentum going and Murph kind of put an end to that,” MacArthur said. Ryan MacSpadyen and Mitch Wilde also scored singles for Brooklin. 

Wilde’s unassisted goal was a length-of-the-floor one into an empty net with a second remaining in the second quarter to give his side an 8-5 halftime advantage. Cobourg had pulled goaltender Steven Orleman in favour of an extra attacker in the dying moments of the opening half.

Tuesday’s outing marked the midway point for Brooklin in the MSL Classic, which began July 27 and continues Aug. 26.

Five of the six MSL clubs are participating in the tournament, which was hastily put together in July, a couple of months after league officials announced there would no 2021 regular season (or playoff) schedule because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Brooklin returns to action Wednesday night as it will square off against the Oakville Rock for the first time in the MSL Classic.

The opening face-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Brooklin is the only squad participating in the MSL Classic that is still undefeated. Oakville enters Wednesday’s contest sporting a 2-1 record.