Merchants Win a Thriller over the Rivermen in Home Opener

By Mark Stehlin

In a repeat of an Ontario Series Lacrosse 2023 playoff series, the Brooklin Merchants hosted the Six Nations Rivermen tonight at the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena. This was the first game of the new season for the home side and the second for the guests, coming off a 24-10 win over the Clearview Crushers a week ago. 

Prior to the game, the Merchants honoured the memory of Jordan Haber who tragically passed away in August 2023. His parents, girlfriend, other family and several former teammates were on hand to witness his jersey being raised to the rafters and take in some words from his father, Nemur and current Merchants head coach and friend, Ryan Degerdon. 

These two teams were evenly matched a year ago and the same can be said of their play tonight. Period scores were 4-3 for the Merchants after one, 9-7 Merchants after two and a 12-11 final, with the Merchants hanging on for the win.

Degerdon said after the game that the line-up “was full of new faces and I think I gave out five first-game balls tonight.” He added “I liked the positive criticism on the bench and they way the guys talked to each other coming off the floor”. At this early stage of a long season, Degerdon said “I’m looking for the positives, it isn’t so much about the X’s and O’s right now, but I’m looking for work ethic and I see that as contagious.”  

-photo by Sam Hossack

-photo by Sam Hossack

There isn’t much time to dwell on this victory as these teams meet again tomorrow night in Six Nations when the Rivermen will want to put on a good effort for their home fans. The Merchants have two more on the road May 11 in Hamilton and May 14 in Ennismore before a return to Luther Vipond on Friday May 17 to host Owen Sound. 

Ryan Schuetzkowski was in net and took the win for the Merchants. Scorers for the home side were Ed Renaud with three, two each for Cody Hamley, Trent Boyd and Brayden McGregor and singles to John Wheller, Jacob Hickey and Ben McDonnell. 

The 50/50 pot was claimed by Sandy and John Fusco, congratulations.