The Six Nations Chiefs have scored the most goals in Major Series Lacrosse this year. They’ve given up the fewest (tied with Brooklin). The Chiefs are 6-0-1 at home and 6-1 on the road. Evan Kirk has given them exceptional goaltending, but he’s been helped by a smart and aggressive group of defenders. Their scoring attack is extremely balanced. So it’s hardly surprising that they are sitting atop the MSL standings and have established themselves as pretty solid favourites to win the Lionel Conacher Award as Ontario Senior A champions and go on to carry the league’s banner at the Mann Cup out west. We know they’ll at least be in the running for it, since they’ve already clinched a playoff spot with about two-thirds of the season left to play. All that remains? Translate that regular-season dominance into a successful run through the post-season for the first time since 1996.
1 (1) Six Nations Chiefs 12-1-1
Last week: W15-7 Brampton, W10-6 Brooklin, W12-10 KW
This week: vs Peterborough, @ Oakville, @ Brooklin
We mentioned a balanced attack in the lead paragraph. Here’s the proof. Six Nations top four scorers: Colin Doyle 21g/35a/56pts; Roger Vyse 19/36/55; Cody Jamieson 26/24/50; Craig Point 18/30/48. Throw in Kasey Beirnes‘ 16 goals and Kedoh Hill starting to get his scoring touch back lately after a slow opening stretch to the season, and you have an offence that can hurt you from a lot of angles.
2 (2) Peterborough Lakers 9-4
Last week: W13-11 Oakville
This week: vs Brooklin, @ Six Nations, @ Brampton
For Lakers fans inclined to panic at the team’s 9-4 record and seeming inability to put together a complete 60 minutes, take heart. Last year’s eventual Mann Cup champions went 9-5 in the regular season and seldom put together a consistent 60-minute effort in many games, either. It’s just kind of the way the Lakers roll. That team went on to sweep Brooklin in the first round of the playoffs, getting better and better as they went, and topped the Chiefs in 6 games in the MSL finals. It’s a dangerous way to live in lacrosse, but Peterborough’s made it work to the tune of five Mann Cups in nine years.
3 (3) Brooklin Redmen 8-5-1
Last week: L10-6 Six Nations, @ Oakville postponed (power outage), W13-7 Brampton
This week: @ Peterborough, vs Six Nations
What a big week for the up-and-down Redmen. They could come out of it with a pair of wins and sitting in the thick of the race for second place, or they could be barely above .500 with the Kodiaks breathing down their necks. The defence and goaltending has been consistently outstanding, holding opponents to 7.8 goals per game, tied for best in the league. As any of their offensive players will tell you, it’s on the guys whose job is to put the ball in the net to step up and prove that this team is as good as the one that finished first in the 2012 regular season and that they can have more success in the playoffs.
4 (4) Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks 5-8-1
Last week: L12-10 Six Nations
This week: vs Oakville, vs Brampton
Speaking of big weeks…a pair of wins would put KW in solid playoff position and possibly bring them within striking range of Brooklin. A pair of losses would give hope to the Rock of mounting a late-season surge for a playoff spot. Six of the Kodiaks’ eight losses have been by 1 or 2 goals, so they’re obviously not far from where they need to be. They must be getting tired of being close but not close enough, though. The test of their character will be in how they learn from those tight losses going forward.
5 (5) Oakville Rock 2-9-1
Last week: L13-11 Peterborough, vs Brooklin postponed (power outage)
This week: @ Brampton, @ KW, vs Six Nations
The task this week for Oakville is straightforward. They simply have to beat Brampton and KW to give themselves a realistic shot at getting into the playoffs. If they don’t make the post-season, it won’t be a surprise to anyone. GM Terry Sanderson made it clear heading into the season that the club has a long-term plan to be competitive but that it was going to be hard to get there right away. That doesn’t mean anyone with the team doesn’t recognize that had their three 1-goal losses gone the other way they’d be right in the hunt, or that they don’t agonize over how close they’ve been. Stepping back for perspective, though, shows that the rebuild appears to be on track.
6 (6) Brampton Excelsiors 2-11
Last week: L15-7 Six Nations, L13-7 Brooklin
This week: vs Oakville, vs Peterborough, @ KW
Almost a mirror image of the Chiefs. Fewest goals for, most goals allowed. 1-4 at home, 1-7 on the road. Joe Resetarits with 18 goals and no one else other than Mike Burke with more than 18 points. It’s a tough year to be an Excelsiors fan.
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