Niagara Lock Monsters score early and late to eke out 13-12 win over Durham Turfdogs, take over first place in CLax
The Niagara Lock Monsters are learning how to play defence. That’s a scary thought for the rest of Canadian Lacrosse League, given that Niagara (6-2) is the highest-scoring team in the league. They edged the Durham Turfdogs 13-12 today to take over sole possession of first place in CLax, at least for now. The Toronto Shooting Stars (5-2) have a chance to catch the Lock Monsters by beating the 1-5 Iroquois Ironmen Sunday afternoon and can move back into first alone if they manage that and then down the Turfdogs (4-3) Monday night. Both of those games are at Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) and both can be seen on free live webcasts through JVI Video. Sunday’s game is at 2 pm and Monday’s faces off at 8 pm.
The Lock Monsters got off to a fast start Saturday at the General Motors Centre, getting a pair of goals from captain Brad Favero en route to a 4-1 lead after the first period. Shane Scott scored the first two of his five on the afternoon in the second quarter, though, as the Turfdogs evened things up at 5-5 going into the intermission.
The third quarter saw a frenetic pace that led to the teams almost equally the scoring of the entire first half in just 15 minutes. Four different players connected for the first four goals of the quarter, all by the Lock Monsters, as they once again produced what looked like a solid lead. Durham wouldn’t go away, though, primarily because of Scott. He scored three more goals in the quarter as the Turfdogs pulled back within one at 10-9 going into the fourth.
The Turfdogs continued to battle back and tie the game, but each time they did the Lock Monsters replied in timely fashion. Russell Poulton evened it up for Durham at 2:29 of the fourth and Jason Mazachowski responded 23 seconds later. It was Poulton again at 5:14 to square things up at 11-11, but but Dylan Llord’s power play marker put Niagara back on top at 6:19.
Finally, a tying goal by Scott DeFrancesco at 10:53 stuck for a while. Not long enough if you’re a Turfdog fan, though. On a strangely uncharacteristic play, two Durham players stayed up the floor and two others sprinted for the bench as the Lock Monsters broke out of their own end. The resulting 3-on-1 gave Zack Higgins no chance to make the save on what proved to be the winning goal by Dan Williams at 13:14.
Connor Danko and Higgins continued to establish themselves as two of the best, if not the best, goalies in CLax. Danko, making is fourth straight start after not being dressed for Niagara’s first four games, improved his record to 4-0 and continued to lead all goalies in goals against average (9.30) and save percentage (.829). He stopped 51 of the 63 shots that he faced, including a staggering 23 saves in the third quarter alone. Higgins made 24 saves in the third quarter and 60 overall on the 73 shots directed at him.
Favero, Llord, Williams and Andrew Potter all scored 2 goals and 2 assists for Niagara, who went 2-4 on the power play and got a shorthanded goal from Corey Fowler. Poulton with his pair was the only multiple goal scorer for Durham other than the nickel Scott dropped on the Turfdogs.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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