Oakville Rock defeat Lakers in Season Opener for both teams
The Oakville Rock have set a lofty goal for themselves this season, but one that they feel is realistic. Despite never winning a playoff series in Major Series Lacrosse, the team has their mind set on winning the Mann Cup.
"We have to approach every game with the mentality that we have to win," said Rock Head Coach Matt Sawyer. "Perhaps, in the past we've gone into regular season games thinking, it's just another one, but every game is important in this league and we want to compete every night."
On Monday, the Rock got things rolling for the 2018 MSL season, by defeating last year's Canadian Mann Champions, the Peterborough Lakers. The Lakers got things started as off-season acquisition Corey Small got his first of the summer. The Rock would tie things up just under 3 minutes later with rookie Andrew Kew getting on the score sheet. The Rock's big off-season acquisition, Ryan Benesch would score with just 2 seconds remaining in the period and Oakville would head into the first intermission with a 3-2 lead.
Corey Small struck early in the second to tie the score at 3, but Brett Hickey would give the Rock the lead once again at the 2:21 mark of the period. Brandon Slade would score in transition and Benesch would score his second of the night and it was 6-5 after two.
The Lakers would tie the score with just under eight minutes to play in the third, catching a rebound and beating Nick Rose. With 1:47 remaining, Oakville rookie Dallas Bridle potted his first of the season and the Rock would hold off the Lakers in the dying seconds to preserve the 8-7 win.
"It's a good step for us to face adversity this early in the season." said Sawyer. "We surrendered the lead late, but kept battling and scored the winner late. We didn't give up and it was nice to see."
Forward Brett Hickey left the game with an apparent lower body injury. He will be evaluated this week, but a time frame for his return is still unknown.
The Rock have a busy week ahead as they host the Brampton Excelsiors next Monday, June 4th. They travel to Brampton on Thursday, June 6th and host the Brooklin Redmen on Friday, June 8th. All games are at 8:00PM.