Merchants’ rally falls short as Brooklin edged by host North Stars
It’s no secret where the playoff-bound Brooklin Merchants are hoping to end up following regular season action.
Ideally, the Merchants would love to finish in second place in the standings of their six-team Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) circuit.
Brooklin is unable to catch the league-leading Oakville Rock. But a second-place finish would give the Merchants home-floor advantage in their opening round of the post-season.
The top four finishers in the six-team OSL will advance to the post-season after regular season action concludes this coming weekend.
The Merchants, however, didn’t to themselves any favours on Saturday as they were defeated 12-11 by the Owen Sound North Stars. That match was held at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound.
Despite Saturday loss, the Merchants, who saw their record fall to 9-6-0, continue to sit in second place in the standings.
Like Brooklin, the 8-4-2 Six Nations Rivermen, who are technically third since they have fewer wins than the Merchants, also have 18 points. The Rivermen, however, have a game in hand.
And instead of giving themselves some breathing room over the fourth-place North Stars on Saturday, with their loss the Merchants are now just a point ahead of Owen Sound, which is sporting 8-4-1 mark.
And the North Stars have two games in hand on the Merchants.
“I was really hoping we’d figure these guys out,” said Brooklin head coach Clancy Almas, who obviously would have preferred it was his charges emerging with the two points to help out their playoff positioning.
The Merchants and North Stars were deadlocked at 4-4 after 20 minutes of action. Owen Sound took control in the second period outscoring Brooklin 6-3 to take a 10-7 advantage into the second intermission.
“They have a very veteran team,” Almas said of the North Stars. “And we hung around with them until the end.”
Owen Sound managed to win all three regular season contests versus the Merchants this season.
The two rivals had also battled to an identical 12-11 score, in the North Stars’ favour, back on May 20 in Owen Sound.
As has been the case many nights this season, Zac Carrigan led the Merchants’ attack on Saturday as he netted five goals.
Almas also praised the play of Riley Curtis, who joined the club late this season and is expected to have a significant playoff role.
“He was so much better tonight,” Almas said of Curtis, who was playing his third game for the Merchants. “He was very focussed on making his passes better.”
Brooklin’s next outing will be its final regular season match of 2023. The Merchants will be on the road to square off against the Rivermen this coming Saturday.
That game, which will be held at the Six Nations Sports and Cultural Memorial Centre, has an opening faceoff scheduled for 7 p.m.