Merchants Celebrate Return Home with a Solid Win over the James Gang

By Mark Stehlin

The last time the Brooklin Merchants played at the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena (LVMA) was May 17, with a road trip and relocation to Iroquois Park due to the annual Brooklin Spring Fair the first weekend in June, sandwiched between home dates. The team was happy to be back in the friendly confines of the LVMA last night and displayed their contentment with a 17-8 win.

The Merchants came into the game at (7-1) while their guests were struggling at (0-7). The Merchants line-up featured Brooklin Lacrosse Club 2024 Major Series Lacrosse draft protected players, Kobe Handsor and John Wheller. It also included 2024 MSL draft picks Alexis Simard (2nd round, 8th overall) and Jacob Hickey (1st round, 3rd overall).

- photo Sam Hossack 

Despite the poor record of their guests, Coach Ryan Degerdon implored his players prior to the game to ignore their opponent’s record.

He said, “I told them that we need to prepare and focus every night as if this was a job for two hours.” Adding “I reminded them it doesn’t matter who we are facing, don’t think about records or players on the other side as we are preparing for bigger things here.”

Both Degerdon and assistant coach Mark Debrone said, “this season has been about putting a system in place that seeks consistency and 100% effort every night”. Degerdon added “my voice and Mark’s voice only goes so far in the room and we are counting on the leadership group to hold all players accountable to play the system.”

- photo Sam Hossack 

Period scores on the night were 6-3 after one, 6-4 after two and 5-1 after the third for the 17-8 final. Lukas Coote was in net for the win and played well during times when the James Gang tried to mount any form or comeback.

Scoring for the Merchants – Bragg (0,1) Renaud (3,1) Breyo (0,2) Watts (3,5) McCrory (0,2) Elliott (2,2) Renzetti (0,1) D Pipher (2,6) Wheller (0,1) Pulera (0,2) Handsor (1,0) Pongetti (0,1) P Pipher (2,3) Hickey (3,0) Simard (1,1)

Next up for the Merchants is a trip to Stayner to play the Clearview Crush on Saturday June 15 at 7 pm. The Brooklin Lacrosse Club are at Cobourg for a 6:00 p.m. game vs the Kodiaks and are at home on Wednesday June 12 to host the Brampton Excelsiors. On that night, they will honour the Whitby Rush, 2023 Women’s Major Series Lacrosse champions.