Defending League Champions Hand Merchants First Loss Of The Season

By Sam Laskaris

For the first time this season the Merchants Lacrosse Club was unable to register a victory. The defending Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) champion Oakville Titans downed the host Merchants 8-5 on Friday night at Children’s Arena in Oshawa.As a result, the situation is rather crowded atop the OSL standings.

The Merchants, Titans and Six Nations Rivermen are all tied for top spot as they’ve all won three out of their first four contests.

Despite the loss, Merchants’ captain Ryan Degerdon was rather pleased his side was able to keep the Titans’ offence to a minimum. “Defensively we played well,” he said. “(Giving up) eight goals against (Oakville), we’ll take that every night.” Degerdon added a slow start hindered his club’s chances of registering a victory against the Titans. “We came out a little slow,” he said. “We had a couple easy games to start the year and knew this would be a big test for us. But we weren’t ready to come out.”

The Merchants kicked off their season with a victory over the Ennismore James Gang and then earned back-to-back triumphs against the Kitchener Waterloo Velocity, two squads in tough to challenge for the league title this season.

Though they were trailing 6-2 after the second period, the Merchants were able to make things close in the final 20 minutes. They got within two goals (7-5) before the Titans added a late marker. “For an early-season game this was a good test for us,” Degerdon added. “We now know what we have to do to be better.”

Lukas Coote had a solid outing between the pipes for the Merchants. “Personally, I thought I put in a good enough effort to give our team a chance to win,” he said. 

It certainly didn’t help matters that the Merchants were not only able to pump more goals past Titans’ goaltender Jesse Legault. “We’re way better than a five-goal team,” Coote said. “We have a great team here. Some guys are injured and some guys aren’t back yet.” And it certainly didn’t help the Merchants’ cause on Friday night having some inopportune lapses. “We had a lot of turnovers and a lot of lost possessions,” Coote added.

Austin Murphy netted a hat trick for the Merchants while Dylan Goddard and Tyler Goodchild netted singles.

The Merchants will play their second game in as many nights as they are hosting the Rivermen on Saturday. That contest has a scheduled 7 p.m. faceoff.