Merchants Eke Out Victory Over James Gang In Season Opener

By Sam Laskaris

Overtime was required.

But the Merchants Lacrosse Club managed to register a 12-11 victory over the visiting Ennismore James Gang in their Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) opener on Friday.

The two squads were deadlocked at 10-10 following three periods of action, necessitating a 10-minute OT session in the match held at Children’s Arena in Oshawa.

Merchants’ coach Jason Crosbie was happy just to get the W.

“That was one of the best Senior B games we’ve been a part of,” Crosbie said.  But Crosbie felt the match should not have been anywhere near as close as it ended up being. He estimated the Merchants fired more than 70 shots on net and hit either eight or nine posts or crossbars. “There was a lot of Swedish but no finish,” Crosbie joked.

Cory Upshaw, known mostly for his defensive work, ended up scoring the game winner with less than two minutes remaining in OT. “I just picked up a rebound (off a shot taken by Adam Perroni) and fired it into the net,” Upshaw said. The victory was especially sweet for Upshaw who missed the entire 2018 campaign nursing a shoulder injury. No surgery, however, was required. “I just had to take the time off to heal it,” he said.

Like Crosbie, Upshaw was also pleased the Merchants, who dressed 16 runners and were showing signs of fatigue late in the game, were able to pick up the two points.

“It was a sloppy one but we pulled it out,” Upshaw said.

The Merchants got off to a slow start and found themselves trailing 4-2 after the opening period. But they rebounded with a solid middle frame and led 9-7 heading into the third period.

The Merchants did manage to score first in the third to grab a 10-7 lead. But the James Gang roared back with three unanswered goals to force the overtime.

The Merchants’ next game will be in a week from now. The club will hit the road to square off against the Kitchener Waterloo Velocity next Saturday.

That contest, which will be staged at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, will have a 7 p.m. faceoff. The Merchants’ next home match is May 17 versus the Velocity. That game has a scheduled 8 p.m. faceoff at Children's Arena.

The renamed OSL will feature six squads this season. Also taking part will be the Six Nations Rivermen, Owen Sound North Stars and the defending league champs Oakville Titans.