MSL 3 Stars: John Grant, Shawn Williams and Tyler Carlson are the cream of the crop

John Grant made his return to MSL a spectacular one, scoring seven goals to capture first star honours. (Photo: Todd VanDonk)
John Grant made his return to MSL a spectacular one, scoring seven goals to capture first star honours. (Photo: Todd VanDonk)

A week after no team broke the 10-goal mark, five teams managed 10 or more this past week in Major Series Lacrosse, including both the Brooklin Redmen and Peterborough Lakers breaking into double digits in the same game. With the benefit of an extra 10 minutes, they actually put up a total of 26 goals between them, tied for the highest-scoring game of the season. So this week’s IL Indoor MSL 3 Stars will feature a healthy dollop of offensive players, but goalies are still holding their own. One managed to grab a star this week and some other put up good performances, including Angus Goodleaf stopping 42 of the 45 shots he faced to help the Lakers down KW 9-3. Get the whole story after the jump.

First Star
John Grant, Jr., Peterborough Lakers
In his first game back in his home town this summer, Junior was a little rusty for a couple of periods. As is his wont, Grant gave a blunter assessment of his play. “I was awful in the first period and I kept throwing the ball [at a sensitive part of my teammates],” he said. “I went in after the period and switched up and used a stick I’d never used before. I don’t know, I may stick with it for a little while.” Probably a good idea, John, it seemed to work out okay. Grant scored once in the second period then almost single-handedly brought the Lakers back to win a game in which they had been drastically outworked and outplayed through 40 minutes. He scored six goals in the third period, including Peterborough’s first five plus the last goal of regulation time that sent it to an extra frame, whipping the 3,000-plus fans at the Memorial Centre into a frenzy.

Second Star
Shawn Williams, Brooklin Redmen
I read on a site I won’t name, to protect their reputation, that Williams outduelled Grant in the Redmen’s 14-12 overtime win. Sorry, but that’s ridiculous: Grant put on a performance for the ages. Players don’t score seven goals in a game every day and none of Junior’s markers were cheapies. Williams was outstanding for Brooklin, though, and in most weeks could have been the first star. His two-goal, eight-assist game was as sublime as Grant’s contest was spectacular. Willy also came away with something that Grant demonstrated he wanted badly: the win. After running away with last year’s MSL scoring title, Williams is clipping along at 5.7 points per game this summer and doing it with an elegance that forces you to watch him closely to realize just how good he is. It’s worth the attention.

Third Star
Tyler Carlson, Ajax Rock
Goalies aren’t totally overlooked this week. In addition to Goodleaf, Mike Poulin put in a strong effort, stopping 69 of the 83 shots he faced while Aaron Bold was probably the difference in the Redmen’s win over Peterborough, as neither Lakers goalie played particularly well. But the man who stood the tallest between the pipes was Carlson. He gave his Rock team a chance to win in both their games against the now-league-leading Excelsiors. Carlson made 49 saves in an 11-10 loss then put up even better numbers in the return portion of the home-and-home series, stopping 53 of 58 shots. For the week he posted an .864 save percentage on 118 shots to earn third star honours.

Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at stamplax@hotmail.com.

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