It was a pretty quiet night for lacrosse across this great land with just 3 games played; 2 Junior A tilts and 1 Junior B. But the game we’re looking at is Barrie’s 10-7 win over Toronto. On the surface, there really isn’t all that much to read into the game. Daniel Craig, Joel Tinney and Mike Mawdsley each scored 2 goals for the winners and goalie Brett Kloepfer was solid in making 31 saves. But if you’re a fan of the Lakeshores, you are more than likely getting the sense that something special is brewing this season. Last night’s win gives the Lakeshores an 8-5 record, which not only is almost as many wins as their last 2 seasons combined, but it pushes the franchise closer to its first playoff berth.
We can’t really say the history of the Barrie team is a long and suffering one, because they’ve only been around since the 2009 season. But in the 4 seasons prior to this one, there aren’t a lot of pretty moments. They were 3-17 last year, 7-15 the year before and 4-18 in 2010.
The 2009 season, Barrie’s first as a Junior A team, was probably their most successful when it comes to wins and losses. The 8-14 record that season was good enough for a playoff berth, almost. The Whitby Warriors also had 16 points at the end of the season, and a playoff to determine the playoff participant went Whitby’s way.
So the Lakeshores this season are steadily climbing the ranks and their 16 points puts them third in the standings. The team opened with 5 straight wins, including a May 19 win over Orangeville. They are 3-5 since and while that’s nothing to get too excited about, the overall direction of the team certainly is.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the turnaround is overall defense. The Lakeshores in the past have been pretty leaky when it comes to stops, averaging 12.35 goals-against last summer and 12.27 in 2011. But this summer, Barrie is giving up just 9.07 per game and goalies Kloepfer (8.45 GAA, .756) and Nicholas Meigs (8.87, .751) are getting much-improved help in front of them while also coming through with the saves they’re supposed to be making.
Throw in a balanced offense led by Kyle Whitlow (25-37, 62 points), Craig (20-28, 48) and Austin Murphy (16-26, 42) and you have the recipe for a playoff team. There are still 7 games left in the regular season, including some tough goes against Six Nations, Peterborough and Burlington, so the Lakeshores aren’t exactly making reservations yet. But at least the optimism for a playoff dream is well-founded.
Ontario Junior B
Orangeville 19, Owen Sound 3 (box score)
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