Major Series Lacrosse is just under one-third of the way through its 2013 season (18 of 60 games played) and so far things are playing out more or less according to expected form. Brooklin and Six Nations still appear to be the teams to beat; they’re both 5-1 and look like they’d be ready to go if the playoffs started tomorrow. Peterborough is adjusting to a boatload of new faces in the lineup and looks great one night, a little shaky the next, needing more time to gel before trying to defend their Mann Cup title. KW is growingly competitive but still falling just a little short against the top teams; they won’t be an easy out come playoff time, assuming they are able to make it to the big dance. And Oakville and Brampton are battling hard, sometimes competitive but mostly just lacking the horses and/or experience to take a real run at the top clubs just yet.
1 (1) Brooklin Redmen 5-1
Last week: L7-4 Peterborough, W15-3 Brampton
This week: @ Six Nations, @ KW, vs Oakville
The Redmen are leading the league in defence, allowing just a shade over 7 goals per game. Both goalies—Zack Higgins and Steve Fryer—have played well and they get a ton of help from the defenders. It also helps when you have veteran superstar Shawn Williams setting an example for the forwards, generally being the first guy off the floor when it looks like the ball will be going to their opponents.
2 (2) Six Nations Chiefs 5-1
Last week: W13-7 Brampton, W9-8 KW
This week: vs Brooklin
The Chiefs have a terrific pair of goalies in Evan Kirk and Brandon Miller. They’re allowing 8.3 goals per game, which is plenty good when you have the league’s most potent offence (scoring barely under 12 goals per contest). As with Brooklin, they’re getting plenty of help from a deep and athletic corps of defenders.
3 (3) Peterborough Lakers 4-3
Last week: W7-4 Brooklin, L11-8 OT KW (First Capital Cup in Kingston), W13-5 Oakville
This week: vs Oakville, @ Brampton
Peterborough’s D has seen more turnover than the Pillsbury factory this year, and at times it has led to some stretches where Tyler Carlson has faced plenty of rubber. He’s been equal to the task, though, standing up well when needed. The Lakers are allowing 8.4 goals per game. And while Carlson’s been good, it’s not all him. The young group of defenders—and their veteran leaders Scott and Brad Self and Stephen Hoar—have been keeping the lanes pretty clear, allowing him to see the ball.
4 (4) Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks 2-4
Last week: W11-8 OT Peterborough (First Capital Cup in Kingston), L9-8 Six Nations
This week: @ Brampton, vs Brooklin
Everyone knew that Mike Poulin was good. The surprise, albeit a mild one, has been how sterling Dillon Ward has been in his rookie season in MSL. The Kodiaks took Ward with the fourth pick in the 2013 draft to provide them with depth in the crease. He’s done that in spades, helping Poulin to limit opponents to 8.5 goals per game.
5 (5) Oakville Rock 1-4
Last week: L9-8 Brampton, L13-5 Peterborough
This week: @ Peterborough, @ Brooklin
Tye Belanger is the main man in Oakville. He’s a great young goaltender and has had some excellent games for them. He’s also been a little overwhelmed at times by the sheer volume of quality scoring chances the young Rock allow when things start to go off the rails. Oakville doesn’t tend to have bad games—they have bad stretches within games. Those stretches have led to a team goals against average of 11.4, which is simply too high to be competitive in such a tough league.
6 (6) Brampton Excelsiors 1-5
Last week: W9-8 Oakville, L13-7 Six Nations, L15-3 Brooklin
This week: vs KW, vs Peterborough
Scotty Komer was brought in to plug the dyke until Anthony Cosmo was available and the Excelsiors D pulled everything together. Even with Komer bearing up admirably, Cosmo back in the fold and stud defenders like Chris Corbeil, Kyle Rubisch and Sandy Chapman leading the way, though, the Excels are giving up by far the most goals in MSL, 12.7 per game.
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