Merchants Host James Gang In Season Opener
By Sam Laskaris
The Oshawa-based Merchants Lacrosse organization will kick off its 2019 regular season on Friday with a home game
against the Ennismore James Gang. The opening faceoff is set for 8 p.m. at Children’s Arena (155 Arena St.), where the Merchants will play 8 home regular season contests.
The Merchants are one of six squads that will compete in the renamed Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) this year. The circuit was previously dubbed the Ontario Senior B Lacrosse League.
Also participating in the OSL this season will be the defending league champions Oakville Titans, Six Nations Rivermen, Owen Sound North Stars and the Kitchener Waterloo Velocity.
The Merchants, the affiliate of the renamed Brooklin Lacrosse Club which competes in Major Series Lacrosse, will be looking to improve upon their 9-6-1 record from 2018. The squad club placed fourth in the league standings and was defeated by the eventual league champs from Oakville in their best-of-five semi-final series, which went the maximum five games.
“We're looking to be young and athletic and be a tough team to play against night in and night out,” said Merchants’ general manager Brad MacArthur. "We're looking to develop our young players and prospects for our Major Series club, and be a legitimate contender in the OSL."
It will in all likelihood be a couple of weeks though before the Merchants will be able to have their full lineup in place.
“We will have key players away at school that we will rely on once they return,” MacArthur said.
This includes Liam Osborne and Brody Munro, who are both in their senior year with North Carolina-based Belmont Abbey College, an NCAA Division II school.
Meanwhile, Dylan Goddard is once again expected to provide plenty of offensive punch for the Merchants. Goddard appeared in 13 regular season contests in 2018 and led the squad in goals (28), assists (37) and obviously points (65). He added 19 points, including a team-high dozen goals, in five playoff matches.
As for the club’s defence, it is expected to be anchored by Ryan Degerdon and Cory Upshaw.
Those looking to make the jump into the OSL this season with the Merchants include Jeremy McWatters, Tyler Goodchild and Trent Boyd. A year ago McWatters starred with the Bowmanville-based Green Gaels’ Junior B squad in his final season of junior eligibility. He racked up 111 points (43 goals and 68 assists) in 20 regular season outings.
Goodchild and Boyd also concluded their junior careers with the Green Gaels last year. They were both late-season acquisitions from the Orillia Kings.
Following their home opener the Merchants will gear up for their first road match of the season, on May 11 against the Velocity.
The Merchants then have four more contests scheduled during May, all at home. They will be staged on May 17 versus the Velocity, May 24 against Oakville, May 25 versus Six Nations and May 31 against Owen Sound.