Merchants even series with road victory against Rivermen

By Sam Laskaris

And just like that the Brooklin Merchants are right back into their series against the Six Nations Rivermen.

On Friday night the Merchants were doubled 14-7 by the visiting Rivermen in Game 1 of their best-of-five Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) semi-final series.

Less than 24 hours after that contest, held at the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin, the Merchants hit the road and travelled to Six Nations on Saturday.

And they were able to register an 8-3 triumph over the Rivermen in a match staged at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena.

Besides deadlocking the series at 1-1, with Saturday’s triumph the Merchants also regained home-floor advantage.

Brooklin will host Game 3 in the series this coming Friday. Game time is 8 p.m.

The series will return to Six Nations for Game 4 on July 30.

And, if necessary, the Merchants will host a fifth and decisive match on Aug. 1.

Though his side was on the road Saturday, Brooklin head coach Clancy Almas was pleased the game was at the ILA.

“It’s a bigger floor (than Luther Vipond Memorial Arena),” Almas said. “It gave us an opportunity to showcase our speed.”

The series opener was a rather physical affair, one the Merchants had not really encountered during regular season action.

“It was as physical,” Almas said of Game 2. “But playing in their big barn gave us a little bit more space.”

No doubt the Merchants were down following Friday’s lopsided defeat. But Almas was not surprised to see his squad rebound with a victory of their own Saturday.

“This has been a very resilient team,” he said. “The fact they don’t quit, they’re a fun team to coach.”

One of the major reasons for Brooklin’s W was the stellar player of netminder Lukas Coote, who made 45 saves in the contest.

“The defensive unit was poised and Cooter really played a fundamentally sound game,” said Merchants’ general manager Brad MacArthur, who helped out on the Brooklin bench as assistant coach Ryan Degerdon was unavailable due to a previously planned family commitment.

Like Almas, MacArthur was also thrilled with how the Merchants responded after their series-opening defeat.

“I’m incredibly proud of how the young men battled tonight,” MacArthur said. “Six Nations is a solid team. We needed a bounce back effort tonight and we got it.”

While Coote was putting in a spectacular effort between the pipes for Brooklin, it was Tristan Hanna who led the Merchants offensively. Hanna netted a hat trick and added one assist.

Riley Curtis also had a four-point night as he scored twice and chipped in with two helpers.

Parker Pipher, Devin Pipher and Jacob Martino scored the other Brooklin goals.

Meanwhile, the Oakville Rock are leading the Owen Sound North Stars 1-0 in the other league semi-final series.

The Rock downed the visiting North Stars 13-7 in Game 1 of their series, which was held on Friday.

Owen Sound is hosting Game 2 on Sunday. The opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m.