Rivermen stay alive with overtime victory versus visiting Merchants

By Sam Laskaris

The Brooklin Merchants will have a second opportunity wrap up a series and earn a berth into the national Presidents Cup tournament.

The Merchants were unable to close out their Ontario Series Lacrosse (OSL) semifinal series on Sunday as they were edged 13-12 in overtime by the Six Nations Rivermen.

The match was held at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Six Nations. With that win, the Rivermen evened up their best-of-five OSL semifinal series at 2-2. 

The fifth and final game of the series is set for Tuesday. The Merchants will host that contest at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre. The opening faceoff is set for 8 p.m.

The winner of the Merchants/Rivermen series will advance to square off against the Oakville Rock in the OSL championship series. Oakville swept the Owen Sound North Stars 3-0 in its best-of-five semifinal. Besides moving on to the league final, either Brooklin or Six Nations will also qualify for the Presidents Cup, the national Senior B tournament, which will be held in Oakville beginning on Aug. 27.

Since the Rock are hosting the Canadian tourney, the OSL is allowed to send two representatives to the event.

Merchants’ head coach Clancy Almas was obviously disappointed his charges were unable to finish the series on Sunday.

“We played with a short bench and unfortunately we couldn’t close it out,” Almas said. “It was a lost opportunity.”

Almas said the Merchants had five regular defenders who were unable to participate in Sunday’s outing due to various reasons.

“They beat us in the transition game,” Almas said of the Rivermen. “Having the extra offensive players really didn’t help us much tonight. But our kids played outstanding.”

Almas is confident he will have what will resemble what his starting lineup ideally looks like for the series finale.

“We’ve battled through some adversity to get as far as we have,” he added. “And I think we’re looking forward to Tuesday night to hopefully close this out at home.”

Parker Pipher led the way offensively for the Merchants on Sunday with a seven-point performance, including four goals.

Darren Elliott, Devin Piper and Zac Carrigan scored two goals each for Brooklin. All three players also had three assists apiece. Also scoring for the Merchants were Scott Reed and Riley Curtis.

The two squads were deadlocked at 3-3 after the opening 20 minutes of action. The Rivermen then held a slim 7-6 lead after the second period. A 10-minute OT session was required to determine a winner as the clubs were tied at 11-11 at the end of the third period.

Six Nations scored the first two overtime goals. The Merchants were only able to score once in OT.