Merchants conclude regular season home schedule with victory over James Gang

 Sam Laskaris

Thanks to a late offensive explosion, the Brooklin Merchants, who scored four goals in less than two minutes, were able to emerge victorious in their final regular season game.

The Merchants downed the visiting Ennismore James Gang 9-4 in an Ontario Series Lacrosse contest held Friday at the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin.

The Merchants were holding onto a slim 5-4 advantage with just under three minutes remaining in the third period.

The James Gang, who saw their record fall to 1-12-0 and are in the cellar of the six-team OSL standings, hung around and were right in the match for far much longer than what the Merchants would have preferred.

- photo by Sam Laskaris

With the victory Brooklin improved its mark to 9-5-0, good for second place in the league standings.

Rookie Daniel May, who had one of the Brooklin goals, was confident the Merchants would eventually score their share against the James Gang.

“The feeling was it was bound to happen,” he said. “It happened a little bit later than what we would have liked. But that’s the way she goes.”

May believed the Merchants were bound to be rewarded for their efforts since they have numerous offensively-gifted players in their lineup.

“You’re looking around and thinking guys let’s just put the ball in the net,” he said. “We were getting good chances. I mean we were dropping the ball a little bit. We were kind of holding the ball on the one side a little too long. But once we realized to kind of let go, just focus a little bit more and execute, you saw it in the last few minutes, we put five in the net.”

Another Merchants’ rookie, Tristan Hanna, who scored once and added a pair of assists, also was confident it would be his squad that would eventually register the W on Friday.

“We always knew we were going to be able to pull it out there,” he said. “We knew our shots were going to drop. We were following the script that (head coach) Clancy (Almas) laid out for us. And we were just having fun doing it. It was a lot of fun. It was a good time. We were confident in our ability there at the end.”

Hanna, who graduated from Cleveland State University in 2021, said his teammates were not at all disappointed they weren’t able to produce more earlier on in Friday’s outing.

“It was all good vibes the entire time on the bench,” he said. “There was no frustration. We stuck to our game plan and it worked out.”

For various reasons the Merchants have had a constantly changing roster this season. May said he liked the team’s look on Friday.

“We’ve got a lot of good people on this team,” he said. “I think that was the first game where we had almost everybody in our lineup. That’s the offence we’re going to roll with for the playoffs and we’re really happy with the people we have. It’s just kind of putting it together for a full 60 and hopefully it all goes our way.”

Parker Pipher paced the Merchants offence as he racked up seven points (four goals and three assists) versus the James Gang.

Zac Carrigan and Riley Curtis also had impressive showings. Carrigan scored twice and picked up three assists. Curtis popped in one goal and had four helpers.

The Merchants are right back in action on Saturday. They’ll hit the road and square off against the host Owen Sound North Stars.

The match, which has an opening faceoff set for 7 p.m., will be held at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound.

After Saturday’s contest, Brooklin has just one regular season game left, on July 15 on the road against the Six Nations Rivermen.