Oakville Rock and Six Nations Chiefs meet in what should be a "Pick 'Em" series
Oakville Rock and Six Nations Chiefs are matched up in the 2018 first round best of seven semi-final series of Major Lacrosse Series action. Good luck in predicting the winner as both teams are capable of advancing to the MSL finals.
During the 2018 regular season, the Chiefs and Rock played four games against each other which included Oakville wins of 13-8, 9-8 and 9-5. The final time the clubs met in the schedule, Six Nations won 9-3.
Both of these teams have talented offensive and defensive players. On offense, Six Nations has 22 goal scorer Dhane Smith, Cody Jamieson with 21 goals, Jordan Durston with 19 goals and Randy Staats with 16 goals.
Oakville goal scorers include Andrew Kew with 28 goals, Matt Van Galen with 19 goals and Challan Rogers with 15 goals. Not to be ignored are forwards Johnny Powless and savvy veteran multiple Mann Cup champion Ryan Benesch.
On defense Oakville have which GM Josh Sanderson assessed as ""A solid group with depth who were strong allseason and are expected to step up even more so in the playoffs". Hesitant to name any individual defensive players, Sanderson commented, "It will be defense by Committee".
Defensively, Six Nations has a veteran core of top level defenders including veterans Brodie Merril and Billy Dee Smith along with Tyson Bell.
In the pipes, Nick Rose with a 9 win season backstops the Rock. Rose had a 7.76 goals against average and a .814 save percentage. He is backed up by Steve Fryer. GM Sanderson noted that "Rosie has been good for us all season and we expect him to continue to maintain his play".
The Chiefs have veteran Angus Goodleaf and Doug Jamieson who both had 3 wins during the regular season. Goodleaf had a .720 save percentage this season and was part of 2010 Mann Cup championship team from Peterborough. Jamieson had an impressive .892 save percentage and a 7.17 goals against average. If required, Warren Hill provides additional support in nets.
These teams met in the first round in the 2017 playoffs, a series which Six Nations despite falling behind 3-2 in games, eventually won in 7 games. It was a tight series and obviously going the distance, either club could have won.
In assessing this forthcoming series, Rock General Manager Josh Sanderson made reference to the 2017 series, hoping for a better outcome for the Rock. He noted, "Losing a series in the seventh game is tough and having the home advantage could be the difference this year". As might be expected, Sanderson would not make any bold predictions commenting, "They are a good team and we feel we are a good team and the series will be tight".
Chiefs' GM Duane Jacobs was unavailable for comment.
The closeness of what this series could be is reflected in the regular season statistics. Over a 16 game schedule the teams were 4 points apart in the standings. Six Nations outscored Oakville 152 to 147. Goals against were equally close with Oakville giving up 132 goals compared to the Chiefs 136 goals against. The winner of this series will likely be the team who steps it up that notch or two more than the other. Should be great entertainment and action for MSL fans to enjoy.
The series schedule is:
Game 1 - Thursday August 2 @ Oakville
Game 2 - Tuesday, August 7 @Six Nations
Game 3 - Thursday, August 9 @ Oakville
Game 4 - Sunday, August 12 @ Six Nations
Game 5 - Monday, August 13 @ Oakville (if necessary)
Game 6 - Wednesday, August 15 @ Six Nations (if necessary)
Game 7 - Thursday, August 16 @Oakville (if necessary)