Merchants Register Morale Winning Road Victory Against Six Nations

By Sam Laskaris

The Merchants Lacrosse Club went into some hostile territory and was able to eke out a victory on Saturday. Thanks to an impressive six-goal outburst in the third period, the Merchants defeated the host Six Nations Rivermen 9-8 in an Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) match. That contest was held at the Gaylord Powless Arena in the Six Nations community of Ohsweken.

The Merchants found themselves trailing 6-3 heading into the final 20 minutes of action. “It’s a good gutsy road win for us,” said Merchants’ assistant coach Ryan Preston. “This is a hard place to win in. Fans can be pretty chaotic, yelling and screaming at you.” Though they were facing a three-goal deficit as the final period started, Preston said the Merchants had also played rather well in the opening 40 minutes. “The score didn’t reflect how we were playing,” he said.
But the Merchants had arguably their best period of the season in the final 20 minutes. “Our offence had a heck of a third period,” Preston added.

With the victory, the Merchants improved their record to 5-2. With the loss the Rivermen saw their mark fall to 4-2.
Dylan Riley led the Merchants’ attack by scoring a hat trick. Riley said his side was not discouraged with how it was playing or the fact it faced an uphill battle in the third. “We knew we had to stick to our game plan,” he said.

The victory was even more impressive for the Merchants as the visiting Rivermen had soundly defeated them 13-6 last Saturday at Children’s Arena in Oshawa. Rivermen goalie Warren Hill, who also toils for the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League, was a difference maker in that outing last week. Hill also played between the pipes for the Six Nations squad on Saturday. “We had to get him moving side to side,” Riley said on how his teammates prepared for Hill this time around. “He’s a very good goalie when he’s stationary.”

The Merchants themselves also had an NLL goalie between the pipes on Saturday. Riley Hutchcraft, who is the Toronto Rock backup netminder, made his debut with the Merchants and picked up the W. “He played really well for his first game with us,” Riley said. “He’s a big reason why we won.” The triumph over the Rivermen no doubt has the Merchants feeling considerably better than a week ago when they were in a two-game losing slump. Merchants snapped that streak with a 15-9 win over the visiting Owen Sound North Stars in Oshawa on Friday.

Besides Riley’s three goals on Saturday, the Merchants also had two-goal performances from  Travis Getz and Tyler Goodchild. And single goals were provided by Adam Perroni and Jeremy McWatters.

The Merchants’ next game is this coming Friday against the visiting Oakville Titans, the defending league champs. The opening faceoff for this match, at Children’s Arena in Oshawa, is scheduled for 7 p.m.