By Sam Laskaris

An inability to score a goal in the first period of its Sunday contest hindered the hopes of the Merchants Lacrosse Club who were looking to pull off an upset.

The Merchants found themselves trailing 3-0 against the host Six Nations Rivermen after the opening 20 minutes of action.

For the most part the Merchants were able to hold their own after that in the match, which was held at the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Centre. And they were outscored by just one goal, 7-6, the rest of the way as the Rivermen posted a 10-6 victory.

With the win the Six Nations squad is now sitting atop the standings of the six-team Ontario Series Lacrosse with its 11-1-0 record.

The Merchants saw their mark fall to 4-6-1. The good news for the Oshawa-based Merchants, however, is the fact they are still occupying the fourth and final playoff spot, one point ahead of the 4-9-0 Ennismore James Gang.

The Merchants have also played two games less than the Ennismore side.

The Merchants showed up for the game with 17 runners, one less than the maximum allowed.

“We had to play a defensive player on offence again this game which can sometimes hinder offensive performance,” said Merchants’ head coach Clancy Almas. “However, Jake Boudreau did a great job up there.”

Boudreau scored twice and also earned an assist in the match.

The Merchants’ bench got even shorter halfway through the game when veteran Mark Debrone was injured and did not return.

Meanwhile, Merchants’ rookie Brady Kearnan had a four-point night, scoring once and chipping in with three helpers.

“He was once again a bright spot,” Almas said of Kearnan.

Almas also praised the play of goaltender Ryan Schuetzkowski.

“He had a great game in net once he settled down from early mistakes,” Almas said.

The Merchants certainly didn’t do themselves any favours late in Sunday’s game. Trailing 8-6 with under five minutes remaining, the Merchants were looking to cut the deficit to one goal as they were enjoying a powerplay.

Instead, Six Nations’ Vern Hill scored a pair of shorthanded goals, 30 seconds apart, to seal the deal.

Meanwhile, Darren Elliott, Devin Pipher and James Whiteford had the other goals for the Merchants.

The Merchants will hit the road again on Tuesday. They will travel to Ennismore to meet the James Gang in a match that will be held at the Robert E. Young Recreation Complex.

Game time is 8 p.m.

The Merchants also have two games remaining against the Rivermen.

“I’m excited to play them again with a full roster soon,” Almas said.

The Merchants will host Six Nations next Sunday, July 10, in a 6 p.m. contest at Oshawa’s Delpark Homes Centre.

The Merchants will also meet the Rivermen again on July 16 in Six Nations.