Merchants extend winning streak to four games with triumph against visiting Rivermen

By Sam Laskaris

The Brooklin Merchants’ win streak has now hit four games.

Though they were still awarded two points for the W,  Friday’s 11-8 triumph for the Merchants over the Six Nations Rivermen was a bit more significant than other victories during the club’s recent winning ways. Brooklin’s streak included a pair of wins against the Clearview Crushers and one against the Ennismore James Gang, teams that are occupying the bottom two spots in the Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) standings. 

Friday’s outing, staged at the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena in Brooklin, was indeed a meaningful one. It was the second time this year the Merchants have managed to beat the Rivermen, the defending league champs.

“It was definitely a big one,” said Brooklin’s Nolan Rutty, who was credited with a pair of assists in the contest. “Especially against a team that won Ontario last year. They always want to come out and beat us. And it was a great win for us.”

With the victory the Merchants improved their record to 8-4-0. With its 16 points, Brooklin is now tied atop the league standings with the 8-1-1 Oakville Rock. Oakville, however, has played three fewer matches than the Merchants. Brooklin also leapfrogged the Rivermen in the standings. Six Nations’ mark fell to 7-3-1. The contest was a rather physical one with plenty of extra stick work and a fair bit of less-than-legal hits. But the Merchants didn’t back away from the Rivermen.

- photo by Sam Hossack

Rutty said he was pleased to see his teammates sticking up for one another. “I like it,” he said. “A family-oriented team is always something that is great to be a part of. For me, not just with these guys but other teams I’ve played for, having that chemistry mentality and bonding at the right time really works wonders and it really makes the guys come together.”

Though Brooklin had also defeated the Rivermen 14-11 last month, Rutty wasn’t surprised to see his side once again prevail against Six Nations.

“We are here to compete every day, every week,” he said. “We showed that today and last time that we’re a team that can stick around. We can hang with anybody.”

Merchants’ defender Justin Bragg also likes the way his side has been performing of late. “We’re starting to click now,” he said. “You can see all of the offence is starting to click now and play well together. The defence is playing physical, we’re playing hard and we’ve got each other’s back out there.”

Bragg also echoed the thought of how important a win over Six Nations is during the team’s winning streak.

“It’s a big one for us,” he said. “I know they had a couple of guys missing but we also had a couple of guys missing. So, it was good battle out there. They brought everything they had and we brought everything we had. It was just a good character win for us.”

Devin Pipher led the Brooklin attack by scoring five goals on Friday. Tristan Hanna added four goals for the Merchants. And Zac Carrigan and Ben MacDonnell provided singles. Bragg added he’s pleased with the makeup of the Brooklin roster this season.

“I think we have a really good group of guys,” he said. “It’s a really good group of young guys. We went older last year but I think this year with the commitment of these younger guys, I think we’re going to be good for a couple of years here.”

The Merchants are now off until this coming Thursday, June 29. They will host Oakville in that match, which has an opening faceoff scheduled for 8 p.m.