Lakers and Redmen should be a Dynamite Series
The Peterborough Lakers and Brooklin Redmen are matched up in the first round best of seven 2018 semi-final series of Major Lacrosse Series action and fans should plan on seeing some incredible skill and execution.
During the 2018 regular season, the teams played four games against each other which included an 8-8 tie and Peterborough wins of 8-4 and 14-11 (a game which Brooklin led 6-0 in the first period). The final time the clubs met in the regular schedule, Brooklin won decisively 16-7, which included an 8-1 third period for the Redmen.
Both of these teams are loaded with talented offensive and defensive players. On offense, Brooklin has 22 goal scorer Dan Lintner, Curtis Knight who netted 18 goals and an array of offensive threats including Reilly O'Connor, Ryan Keenan and somewhat under the radar this season - the multi-talented Mark Matthews.
The Lakers' goal scoring players include Kyle Buchanan who tied for the MSL scoring championship with 68 points including 23 goals. In addition, the Lakers have 30 goal scorer Corey Small, Holden Cattoni with 29 goals and the always dangerous Shawn Evans along with his long-time cohort Cory Vitarelli.
On defence, Lakers' Captain Robert Hope leads an experienced Mann Cup championship group that includes staunch defenders such as Chad Tutton, Matt Gilray and Eric Shewell.
In response, on defense the Redmen have Graham Hosack, Kyle Rubisch and Chris Corbeil. The Redmen believe any of their 11 players on defense are capable and competitive.
Both teams have sometimes stellar and more than reliable goaltending. The Lakers have veterans Matt Vinc and Evan Kirk, along with MSL leading goalie 8 wins Doug Buchan and 6.27 goals against average and exceptionally impressive .844 save percentage. GM Paul Day knows his goaltending was instrumental in winning the 2017 Mann Cup and has full confidence their goaltending will be strong. The Lakers tend to alternate their goalies.
Zach Higgins with a 5 win season and 8.51 goals against average and save percentage of 77% is joined by veteran Mike Poulin in nets for the Redmen. GM Brad MacArthur suggested that "Both of our goalies have been around and will see game action in this series".
These teams met in the first round in the 2017 playoffs, a series which Peterborough won in six games. However, it was such a closely contested match-up, many observers agreed that with a couple of more timely goals or big saves and Brooklin could have won the series - four of the six games, saw the winning team do so, by a margin of two or less goals.
In assessing this forthcoming series, Lakers' General Manager Paul Day believes, "This season has seen as much parity in the MSL as far back as he can remember". He knows Brooklin are a club that needs to be respected and does not think for even a second, the Lakers will have an easy time with the Redmen. Day noted, "MSL fans will see some dynamite lacrosse". He went on to suggest, "On paper, we are a stronger team than the 2017 Mann Cup Champions with the return from injuries of Cory Vitarelli, Chad Tutton and Nick Weiss". That aside, games are won on the floor and Paul Day would not even briefly suggest that Brooklin is not capable of defeating the Lakers.
Brooklin GM Brad MacArthur offered similar sentiments when stating, "Any of the top 4 MSL teams canwin the Mann Cup this season. The level of competitiveness is extremely intense". He was reluctant to compare this season's Redmen roster to 2017 as "Some players have different roles from last year".
Although hesitant to predict a series outcome, MacArthur smiled as he noted, "It will not be a four game series". From a fan's perspective, let's hope not as this should be MSL lacrosse at its finest.
The series begins on Thursday August 2nd in Peterborough with Game 2 next Tuesday August 7th, also in Lakerland. Games 3 and 4 will be played at Iroquois Park Arena as part of the Ontario Lacrosse Festival on Wednesday, August 8th and Friday August 10th. Game 5 sees the series return to Peterborough on Monday, August 13th, Game 6 back at IPA on Wednesday, August 15th. Game 7 would be Thursday, August 16th at the Peterborough Memorial Centre. All games begin at 8:00 p.m.