CLax: Brampton Inferno down Toronto Shooting Stars 11-9 in final exhibition game

The next time the Shooting Stars play, it will be their home opener at Mattamy Athletic Centre, formerly Maple Leaf Gardens. (Photo: Tim Prothero, VintageLax)
The next time the Shooting Stars play, it will be their home opener at Mattamy Athletic Centre, formerly Maple Leaf Gardens. (Photo: Tim Prothero, VintageLax)

On Sunday, January 13th, pro lacrosse will make its return to the former Maple Leaf Gardens (now named the Mattamy Athletic Centre) where the Toronto Shooting Stars will play host to the Durham Turfdogs. On Sunday, the Shooting Stars wrapped up their exhibition schedule by playing host to the Brampton Inferno at Stephen Leacock Arena in Scarborough.

Brampton’s revamped lineup had only practiced twice prior to the game, and it showed with a few early slashing calls, one of the rules unique to CLax (no off-ball slashing). Already trailing 1-0, the Inferno killed both penalties and the momentum carried them to two late goals and a 2-1 lead after one. The Inferno struck first in the second, at the midway point of the frame, which would lead to three in forty-five seconds. They’d add two more before halftime to just one for Toronto, and Brampton led 7-2 at the break.

With the score 8-4 Inferno, Toronto’s Tory Gardner and Brampton’s Mike McNamara got tangled along the boards as McNamara tried to dodge a check. The two tussled briefly and were each assessed five minutes for roughing. The physical play continued to pick up all quarter and culminated with just over three minutes to play. Josh Ruys and Dave Cutten got into it in the Inferno defensive zone. Officials had to restrain Ruys who was given two for roughing (as did Cutten), and an addition two for unsportsmanlike resulting in an Inferno powerplay, though they were unable to capitalize. When the third ended Toronto had scored five in the quarter to trail 10-7.

Emotions continued to rise in the fourth. With Ruys in the box again in the fourth for interference (where he continued exchanging words with the Inferno bench), the Inferno were called for slashing after an exchange and picked up an extra two for loudly disagreeing. During the four-on-three, Toronto would score to creep back within three. Although the scoring settled, the tension didn’t, including a five minute major to Ruys for roughing and a minor for an illegal substitution to Brampton after two players got involved at the bench with less than two minutes to play. When the dust settled, the Brampton Inferno, despite only being together for the third time, came away with an 11-9 victory.

Mark Tinning led the way for Brampton with a hat-trick and two assists. Off season acquisition Ryan Campbell scored two goals, and added two helpers while Ben McCullough pitched in two assists and dominating physical play. Brampton saw all four goaltenders play (Jay Preece in the first, Rick McCullough in the second, Erik McLaren in the third and supplemental pick Steve Fryer anchoring the crew).

Only one player on Toronto’s side scored multiple goals (Aiden Genik – 2) although third overall pick in the entry draft Geoff Griffiths helped the Stars with three assists. Toronto saw two goaltenders share duties with Craig Robertson playing the first half and Angus Dinely in the second.

Toronto’s season begins on January 13th at the Mattamy Athletic Centre while the Brampton Inferno will face the Ohsweken Demons in a 2012 semi-final rematch on January 19th. They will be away from home until January 25th when they welcome the Demons to the Powerade Centre. Tickets for all these games are available for $12, or an all-inclusive CLax pass will allow fans to see all these, and any other CLax games at any arena, for $100. Visit www.ticketpro.ca to purchase tickets.

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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