Merchants’ defeated by Oakville squad stacked with pro Toronto Rock players

By Sam Laskaris

Even though their four-game winning streak came to an end on Thursday night, members of the Brooklin Merchants were still upbeat.

The Merchants were downed 10-6 by the visiting Oakville Rock in an Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) match staged at the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin. With the loss Brooklin’s record fell to 8-5. Oakville, sitting atop the standings in the six-team OSL, improved its mark to 10-1. Since the Rock organization is not fielding a Senior A franchise in the higher calibre Major Series Lacrosse this season, Oakville’s Senior B squad is benefitting big time. About half of those who suited up for the club on Thursday also play professionally for the Toronto Rock in the National Lacrosse League.

“It was a good game,” said Merchants’ rookie Quinn Hyland. “We stayed with them the whole game. There were a couple of bad bounces and things didn’t go our way at certain times. We’ve just got to do better next time.”

Hyland said the youthful Merchants were not concentrating on what their more experienced opponents were doing. He added Brooklin’s game plan was to worry about its own efforts.

“Try not to think about what their team looks like and just focus on our game,” Hyland said of the Merchants’ strategy. “We know we have a good game, we have a good back end and Schuetzie and Cooter.”

- photo by Sam Hossack

That would be Ryan Schuetzkowski and Lukas Coote, Brooklin’s two main goaltenders this season. Schuetzkowski got the start and played Thursday’s outing. The Rock jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the opening period and led 4-1 after 20 minutes of action. The Merchants did manage to outscore Oakville 3-2 in the middle frame and trailed by just two
goals (6-4) heading into the second intermission. The Rock though coasted to victory after scoring three unanswered goals in the final period.

“Obviously we made some early mistakes,” said Merchants’ head coach Clancy Almas. “And we made some late mistakes and they make you pay for it. They’re pro. That’s what they do.” 

Though his charges held their own for the most part against the Rock, Almas said many of his players could have done better.

“I think we had a lot of guys who maybe didn’t play their A game today,” he said. “So, they need to know to pull their game together in big games.” 

Almas added the Merchants are not intimidated at all squaring off against the Rock.

“They’re loving the opportunity to play against this team,” he said. “If we could play this team the next five games in a row, we’d play this team the next five games in a row. This is the only team we want to play. We just want to play this team. We’re more excited to play this team than afraid.”

Despite having their winning streak snapped, Almas also said Thursday’s match, the Merchants’ third and last time they’ll see Oakville in regular season action, was another good learning experience.

“We made some adjustments in this game based on the last time we played them,” he said. “Some of it worked. Some of it we need to work on. I think having some more practice time before we see them again will hopefully make a difference.”

Oakville won all three matches versus the Merchants this year. The two rivals could potentially see plenty of each other, however, in an upcoming playoff series.

Darren Elliott and brothers Devin Pipher and Parker Pipher provided all of the scoring for the Merchants as they scored two goals each on Thursday.

Brooklin’s next game, which will be its final home tilt of the regular season, is next Friday, July 7. The Clearview Crushers will be in town for that contest, which has an opening faceoff set for 8 p.m.