Perseverance Was the Key in Merchants Win Tonight

By Mark Stehlin

The Merchants Lacrosse Club hosted the Clearview Crushers at Iroquois Park Sports Centre tonight as the annual Brooklin Spring Fair took over the Luther Vipond Memorial Arena, making it unavailable. The Merchants came into the game with a 5-1 record while the Crushers were at .500 sitting at 3-3.  Clearview head coach, Ryan McMichael is no stranger to fans, players and the confines of rinks used by Whitby and Brooklin-based teams.  The Merchants had a special pricing scheme in place for this game, kids 13 years and under were admitted free and everyone else was asked to “pay what you can”.

The Crushers came out of the gate with something to prove which resulted in a quick 3-0 lead including a short-handed marker as they were killing a double minor for checking from behind.  Zac Carrigan scored for the Merchants with his first of three on the night to stop the visitors early run. The opening frame ended with Clearview up by a score of 5-3.

- photo Sam Hossack 

The visitors scored their first of the night with just 0:43 seconds off the clock and replicated that feat in the middle frame with just 0:40 off the clock.  The game saw a little more back and forth in the second with both teams responding to each other’s goals. The score after two was 12-8 for Clearview and the Merchants had their work cut out for them to start the final 20 minutes.

Head coach Ryan Degerdon said, “in the second intermission I challenged the players to be the team they can be, and they answered the bell”. When asked about the mood on the bench, he said “it was frustration in that these guys know they can do it, and they were better than this, but the first two periods were not good enough.”

- photo Sam Hossack 

Degerdon likes the depth on his team and reminded his players “as a brotherhood, you have to challenge each other to play at our best level” and that message resonated in the third period. 

The Merchants owned the final frame with a 7-2 win, good for the slim 15-14 victory tonight. 

Period scoring was 5-3 for Clearview after one, 7-5 for the visitors after two for a 12-8 lead. In the final frame the Merchants stormed ahead and won that period 7-2 for the 15-14 win.  Darren Elliott scored the winner with only 0:34 on the clock for the win to improve the record for the Merchants to 6-1 and drop Clearview to 3-4 on the season.

The team has a day off before a Sunday matinee in Owen Sound and Degerdon said “we have to play a full sixty minutes to be successful and not rely on a strong third period to win the game each time."

Merchants scoring – Justin Bragg (1,0) Ed Renaud (3,2) Cody Hamley (0,1) Zac Carrigan (3,8) Christian Watts (4,4) Tyler Goodchild (1,1) Darren Elliott (2,2) John Wheller (0,1) Kellen Pulera (1,2) Mike Pongetti (0,1) Parker Pipher (0,2). 

Lukas Coote started in net but was replaced by Deacon Knott at 4:06 of the second.

Degerdon said “it was not on Coote and the players on the team took ownership” reminding him that they had defensive lapses that caused several of the goals to start the game.

Merchants have a date in Owen Sound on Sunday June 2 at 5:00 p.m. vs. the NorthStars and are back at Luther Vipond Memorial Arena on Friday June 7 at 8:00 p.m. to host Ennismore. The Brooklin Lacrosse Club are in Owen Sound on Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. start and back home Wednesday June 5 to host the Six Nations Chiefs.