OLA Jr A Power Rankings: Excelsiors pressing for top spot, but not quite yet

Whitby and Six Nations are both looking to overcome early semifinals deficits. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Whitby and Six Nations are both looking to overcome early semifinals deficits. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

The semifinals are under way in the OLA Jr A playoffs. Peterborough provided the early surprise of the semis by dumping the Six Nations Arrows 12-7 in their opening game. It shouldn’t really be much of a surprise, though. The Lakers are a typical junior team in that they can be world beaters one night and ordinary the next. They showed that in their quarterfinal win over Kitchener-Waterloo, needing all five games to take out a team that on some nights seemed overmatched. Against the Arrows, Peterborough put together a great second period, scoring the same number of goals (seven) as Six Nations scored in the whole game. Expect the Arrows to turn things around as the series progresses. While the Lakers are fully capable of taking the Arrows out, they won’t be getting many more 7-goal periods against the team that allowed the fewest goals in the league, by a substantial margin, in the regular season. (Read More…)

Jr. Salmonbellies will see a familiar face in Game 1 of B.C. finals against Coquitlam

Eli McLaughlin scored 28 points in 9 B.C. playoff games last summer for the New Westminster Salmonbellies. Tonight, the ‘Bellies will see McLaughlin on the floor in Game 1 of the B.C. finals. But he’ll be wearing the purple and gold of Coquitlam, not the red and white of New West. “We’re well aware of what Eli can do,” Salmonbellies coach Dan Perreault told The Province. “He’s a very strong player. We know that we have to try to limit his quality chances.” This is the way it goes at times in B.C. Last year, New West got the services of McLaughlin, who then returned to Delta for most of the 2014 season. Among this year’s late-season deals saw McLaughlin shipped to Coquitlam and that adds his lethal stick to that of Wes Berg, providing a big test for the New West defense. But that doesn’t worry Perreault and New West, who have a very capable offense themselves as these teams continue their quest for the Minto Cup.

O’Neill: It’s easy to lose sight of positivity and optimism, but reminders are plentiful

A view from the bench during the Pee Wee C championships in Richmond, B.C. (Photo: Marty O'Neill)
A view from the bench during the Pee Wee C championships in Richmond, B.C. (Photo: Marty O'Neill)

The recent weekend of my lacrosse life revealed a Canadian champion in the World Field Lacrosse, my child’s silver medal placement in the B.C. Pee Wee “C” Championships in Richmond B.C. and the message “you gotta stay positive” inside an old favourite song Saturday night from one of my favourite bands visiting the River Rock Casino from Minnesota. Usually on ILIndoor, the reports I broadcast are not the brightest snapshots of our sport of lacrosse. In recent news the latest reminder of decay comes at the hands of the National Lacrosse League and the Philadelphia Wings. This news hits home within me, having given the Wings organization 3 of the hardest working years of my life. (Read More…)

Langley Thunder auctioning jerseys in support of Tessa Beauchamp Foundation

The Langley Thunder are locked in a tight battle for a Western Lacrosse Association playoff berth, but that doesn’t mean they’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. A win tonight at home against the Maple Ridge Burrards will snap a 4-game losing streak but win or lose, it’ll also help the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation. Beauchamp lost her battle to cancer in 2012 and the Thunder are hosting an on-line auction for limited edition jerseys that’ll be worn for tonight’s game. Fans can bid on the jerseys until 6 p.m. local time today and live bidding will take place at the game through the end of the second intermission. Winners can meet the Thunder players after the game on the floor to receive their jerseys. The Tessa Beauchamp Foundation sets up scholarships and assistance and is the beneficiary of proceeds from the Thunder auction. For more information, check out the team’s website.

Halifax Southwest Hurricanes take early lead over Marley Lions in ECJLL finals

Led by captain Drew MacDonald, who scored 4 consecutive goals and added 2 assists, the Halifax Southwest Hurricanes rallied in the third period for a 10-8 win over the Halifax Northwest Marley Lions in Game 1 of the Junior A East Coach Junior Lacrosse League finals last night. The Hurricanes erased a 7-4 deficit to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 finals. The Hurricanes were able to capitalize on 6 powerplay opportunities, while the Lions were held scoreless in 5 man-advantage situations and outshot the Lions by a tally of 59-51. The Lions were led offensively by Tom Sangster, who had his strongest offensive performance of the season with 3 goals. With the victory, the No. 2 seeded and defending champion Hurricanes have stolen home rink advantage from the top-seeded Lions. Game 2 goes Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at Spryfield Arena. For more information on the teams and the series, check out the ECJLL website. Various members of this league also will comprise Team Nova Scotia, which will host the 2014 Founders Cup Aug. 18-24.

Akwesasne keeps the faith in rallying past Oakville for berth in Jr. B semifinals

If you thought the Akwesasne Indians would have trouble rallying from a 0-2 deficit against the Oakville Buzz, you weren’t alone. Not many believed the Indians would pull it off, but the few who did have faith were the most important: The Akwesasne Indians themselves. “Three wins in three games, and we were shorthanded, missing six regulars. Wow. These kids just never gave up,” Akwesasne GM Roy Ledoux told the Standard-Freeholder. Making it even more impressive is that the Indians won all 3 games in Oakville after losing Games 1 and 2 at home. So now it’s off to the Junior B semifinals against Halton Hills but this time, the Indians have home-floor advantage for the best-of-5 series that starts on Friday. Of course, there is a downside to showing such pluck. “I think the team became men,” said coach Garrett Cree. “It was just a great moment, and now I expect more.”

Last night: Excelsiors take 2-0 series lead with 12-10 win over Warriors

The Brampton Excelsiors overcame five special teams goals to beat the Whitby Warriors 12-10 and take a 2-0 lead in their best of seven OLA Jr A semifinal series. Whitby went four of five on the power play and scored a shorthanded goal, but it wasn’t enough against the Excelsiors, who are looking to build on a second-place regular season finish with a trip to the finals and a chance to head out west for the Minto Cup. Impressively, Brampton won for the second straight game without veteran leaders Zach Herreweyers and Shane MacDonald. Brandon Robinson and Jeff Teat had hat tricks to lead the Excels to the win while Philip Caputo and Clarke Petterson had 2 goals each. Randy Jones and Tyson Gibson chipped in with 5 assists and 4 assists, respectively. Ryan Keenan was the top gun for Whitby with 2 goals and 4 assists, Reilly O’Connor had 2 goals and 3 helpers for the Warriors and Austin Shanks added a goal and 4 assists. Brampton led from start to finish. They got on the board on the power play 1:43 into the game, led 3-2 after the first period and 8-5 after the second. The series resumes Thursday night in Brampton. (Read More…)

WLA 3 Stars: McIntosh, Duch and Jackson shine as final week of season kicks in

It was a long week for Maple Ridge, but Ben McIntosh came through in all 3 games. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
It was a long week for Maple Ridge, but Ben McIntosh came through in all 3 games. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

It’s funny how seasons end up in the end. The squads of the Western Lacrosse Association season have been battling since the middle of May and now, it pretty much comes down to just 1 more week. With Victoria already locking up the top spot, that leaves 6 more teams in contention for the remaining 3 berths and how does this relate to 3 Stars? It means everyone’s going to be playing their hearts out in this final week, even moreso than last week’s play. And that action was pretty good in itself, producing Ben McIntosh of Maple Ridge, Rhys Duch of Victoria and Casey Jackson of Burnaby as our 3 Stars for the week. (Read More…)

Fan poll: Best American to play in the NLL? It’s Jay Jalbert going up against Tom Ryan

We’ve plowed through the first half of the bracket, so here we are to kick off the second half of the first round. And today, we’ve got a couple of doozies. When we look back on the career of Jay Jalbert, we’re tempted to think he could have done more and had better numbers. But for the few seasons we were treated to his exploits on the rug, we were impressed, no doubt. Jalbert is going up against a guy in Tom Ryan who was known for more than lacrosse. For some, the long dreadlocks flowing from the lid overshadowed what Ryan accomplished as a player and that’s a shame, because Ryan brought an element that’s tough for anyone to match, American or not. Either way, you get to decided today who was the better of the 2, so let’s get your vote on. (Read More…)

Week 8 MSL Players of the Week

Drafted first overall, Oakville Rock's Rob Hellyer receives Rookie honours in consecutive weeks. (Photo: Tim Prothero)
Drafted first overall, Oakville Rock's Rob Hellyer receives Rookie honours in consecutive weeks. (Photo: Tim Prothero)

Surprisingly, Brooklin lost the only game they played in week 8; unsurprisingly, it came at the hands of the Peterborough Lakers who are one of only two teams to best the league leading Redmen this season. Second place Lakers added another win in Brampton before a home loss to the KW Kodiaks on Thursday. Determined to be kept in the playoff race, the Kodiaks lost Monday to the Oakville Rock before a recording a pair of wins – the aforementioned W in Peterborough and a Sunday night 2 points against the Excelsiors. Also determined to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Rock picked up 2 wins last week. Coming down from the week seven high, the Brampton Excelsiors lost all three of their week eight games. The Six Nations Chiefs had the week off. (Read More…)