Merchants drop playoff opener against visiting Rivermen

By Sam Laskaris

 Thanks in part to a seven-goal outburst in the second period, the Six Nations Rivermen were able to down the host Brooklin Merchants in the opening game of their playoffs on Friday.

The Rivermen held a slim 3-2 lead after the opening 20 minutes in Game 1 of their Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) best-of-five semifinal series against the Merchants.

The Six Nations squad though outscored Brooklin 7-3 in the middle frame to take a 10-5 advantage into the final period. The Rivermen also outscored the Merchants 4-2 in the third to emerge with a 14-7 victory in the match held at the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin. The contest was a rather physical one right from the opening faceoff.

“They came out to intimidate us in the game,” Merchants’ head coach Clancy Almas said of the Rivermen. “And they did.”

Almas added the vibes throughout the match were something his youthful squad had not experienced during regular season action.

“It was a different atmosphere,” he said, adding the game officials were much more lenient in the calling of the series opener.

It certainly didn’t take long for members of the two squads to display their dislike for one another in this series.

“It never ended,” Almas added of the aggressive play. “It never stopped. I thought a few times the benches were going to empty.”

The two rivals will be right back at it on Saturday. But this time the Rivermen will be the hosts. That match, which will be held at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Six Nations, has an opening faceoff scheduled for 7 p.m.

“I hope they battle back,” Almas said of his charges, adding he anticipates he will be making some changes to his roster. “And I think they will.”

Almas is also hoping his squad is also to display its speed in the remainder of this series, an attribute which led to plenty of regular season success. Darren Elliott netted a pair of goals for the Merchants on Friday. Also scoring for Brooklin were Parker Pipher, Devin Pipher, Cody Hamley, Ben MacDonnell and Tristan Hanna.

Following Saturday’s outing, the Merchants and Rivermen will have several days off. Brooklin will host Game 3 in the series next Friday, July 28. That contest is set for 8 p.m.