SIX NATIONS CHIEFS HAND BROOKLIN FIRST TASTE OF DEFEAT IN MSL CLASSIC
By Sam Laskaris
The Brooklin Lacrosse Club is still sitting atop the standings of the Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) Classic. But the Brooklin squad missed out on a golden opportunity on Tuesday night to guarantee itself a first-place finish in the five-team tournament, which is being played over five weeks at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre in Oakville.
Brooklin blew a 14-10 lead late in the fourth quarter as the Six Nations Chiefs scored five unanswered goals and eked out a 15-14 victory. Brooklin, which suffered its first loss of the MSL Classic, is now sporting a 5-1 record. With the win Six Nations evened its record at 3-3.
Brooklin, which has two tournament games remaining, would have secured top spot in the over-all standings had it managed to hold on for a win on Tuesday. That’s because the three other participating clubs in the Classic all have at least three losses each.
Jason Crosbie, who handled the head coaching duties on the Brooklin bench on Tuesday, insisted team members are not thinking about the possibility of having the best record in the tournament. “It’s never come out of anyone’s mouth,” he said.
Crosbie added the entire MSL Classic is being used as a learning experience for his squad. That explains why he didn’t seem overly upset with the late Brooklin collapse on versus Six Nations. “It was an entertaining game right to the end,” Crosbie said. “In the last quarter we had mistakes from some young guys and (the Chiefs) got rolling a bit. You don’t want to give them any purpose or energy to keep going. But we couldn’t stem the tide.”
At various points on Tuesday it appeared Brooklin might coast to another victory. Thanks to a hat trick from Ryan Keenan and a pair of goals from Connor Kearnan, Brooklin found itself up 5-2 after the opening quarter.
Brooklin managed to extend its lead to 6-2 early in the second quarter via a goal from Jake Fox while the squads were playing some four-on-four action. The Chiefs, however, scored three straight goals to wrap up the second quarter and found themselves down by one (7-6) at halftime.
Things were still pretty tight after the third quarter as Brooklin was still up by just a single goal, 9-8. By scoring four straight goals in the final 15 minutes of play, Brooklin built up what appeared to be a commanding five-goal (13-8) advantage.
But the Chiefs didn’t quit and staged their dramatic comeback, netting the game-winner with just 33 seconds remaining in the game. “It’s a learning experience,” Crosbie added. “We’ll come back next week and we’ll reload and we’ll reset.”
Keenan ended up with five goals on the night for Brooklin while Kearnan had four goals. Ty Thompson and Zack Deaken added a pair of goals each.
Brooklin’s next opportunity to wrap up top spot in the tournament standings will be this coming Wednesday, Aug. 25, against Owen Sound. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Brooklin’s final Classic match will then be the following night, Aug. 26, versus the Oakville Rock.