Merchants defeat undermanned James Gang

By Sam Laskaris

For the first time this season the Brooklin Merchants have managed to win back-to-back games. The Merchants scored four unanswered goals in the third period to register a 9-5 victory over the visiting Ennismore James Gang in Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) action on Friday.

The match was held at the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin. While the Merchants had six healthy scratches, the James Gang showed up to the contest with just 13 runners, five under the maximum allotment. But the two squads were deadlocked at 1-1 after the opening 20 minutes and 5-5 heading into the second intermission.

- photo by Sam Laskaris

“We knew we had them right where we wanted them because they were short on guys and we had to capitalize on that,” Merchants’ captain Adam Perroni said of his club’s third-period efforts. “We could see them slowing down and we just had to keep the pressure on.”

Merchants’ assistant coach Ryan Degerdon echoed this sentiment.

“It was one of those games where they come up shorthanded,” Degerdon said of the visitors. “And it’s hard to get into a flow when it’s not a regular game and they’re not going up and down, up and down. There’s a lot of guys just hanging back. I was trying to preach to them we’ve just got to keep going and keep on the gas.”

Those Merchants’ efforts were rewarded in the final 20 minutes when they kept the James Gang off the scoresheet.

“The defence really held their own and the offence came out and they did what they had to do to win the game,” Degerdon added.

With the W, the Merchants improved their mark to 6-4. Ennismore’s record fell to 1-8. Brooklin veteran goaltender Ryan Schuetzkowski started the game for the Merchants. But rookie netminder Adam Brennan came in and played the third period. Degerdon explained Merchants’ head coach Clancy Almas had made a pre-game decision to give Brennan the final 20 minutes of action.

“Clancy made that decision at the beginning of the game,” Degerdon said. “He told Schutzie, hey listen, no matter what the score is, we’re going to put him in, let’s get him some game action. He posted a shutout and he took home the win.”

The Merchants are right back in action on Saturday night as they travel to Stayner, to square off against the Clearview Crushers. The opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Stayner Arena. Like the James Gang, the Crushers are also struggling this season, having picked up just one win in their first eight matches. Perroni said his side was looking to win both of their outings this week, against squads in the lower echelon of the league standings.

“If we want to set ourselves well up for the playoffs I think it would be nice to get these two games,” he said. “And it was good to get (the win Friday).”

- photo by Sam Laskaris

Degerdon is also hoping for another Merchants triumph over the Crushers on Saturday. 

“We want to keep this rolling and get on a three-game winning streak and keep this ball rolling,” he said. “We want to tighten things up and get together more as a team and really make a push for the playoffs.”

Though a half dozen healthy players were forced to sit on Friday, Degerdon focused on the positives, like the fact there’s no shortage of guys eager to suit up for the squad. 

“That’s what we want,” Degerdon said. “We want a competitive atmosphere here and that’s what we think makes a great team.”

Perroni, Eddie Renaud, Devin Pipher and Zac Carrigan all scored two goals each for the Merchants on Friday. Brooklin’s other goal was scored by Jacob Martino. For Martino, it was his first OSL goal.