Week two in the MSL saw more of the same: a lot of patchwork rosters. A clearer picture developed, however, of how the season might go. The Brampton Excelsiors’ early success fell off, while the Cobourg Kodiaks maintained their status quo of trying hard but not quite getting there. There are no words to what the Peterborough Lakers did to the Excelsiors on Thursday, while the Six Nations Chiefs picked up a pair of wins against the Oakville Rock, who looked shell-shocked by the end of a long week.
Brooklin 15 @ Cobourg 4
Another day, another blowout loss for the Kodiaks. The Redmen led 9-1 after the first period with only 13 runners. The team does not seem to have improved much in the off-season. One bright spot for the Kodiaks, however, continues to be their shorthanded play. They scored three while playing a man down, although that stat becomes less impressive when you hear that the Redmen scored six power play goals on 11 chances, four PP goals coming in the first period alone. The Kodiaks were sunk after 20 minutes in this one and despite the depleted Brooklin lineup, had no chance of coming back. Reilly O’Connor had 10 points for Brooklin (3G/7A), Dan Lintner had eight (4G/4A), Kyle Whitlow had seven (3G/4A) and Colton Watkinson five (4G/1A).
Brampton 11 @ Oakville 11 – OT
We assumed Oakville would be at the top of the league this year, and Brampton would again be near the bottom, so this game threw us. Oakville had most of their big guns and Brampton, as they will all summer, relied on the trio of Mike Burke, Tyler Ferreira and Phil Caputo for offense. The Excels actually led after the first and second but allowed the Rock to catch up in the third. Each team scored once in overtime, earning rookie goalie Nolan Clayton his first MSL point. Burke (1G/6A) and Ferreira (3G/4A) each had seven points while Caputo had six (3G/3A) for Brampton. Brett Hickey and Wes Berg each had four goals for Oakville, with tow and one assist respectively. Stephan Leblanc had four assists. Steve Fryer and Nick Rose played near equal minutes. Each team received one point for their efforts, no real help to either of them.
Oakville 8 @ Six Nations 13
Oakville led the first game of this home-and-home series until the Chiefs went on one of their patented runs, scoring five in a row to end the second period up 11-8. They added two more in the third while holding the Rock scoreless. Craig Point led the Chiefs with six points (2G/4A). Kyle Jackson (2G/3A) had five. Connor Fields had four points for the Rock (1G/3A). Wesley Berg had a hat-trick. Steve Fryer took another loss while Warren Hill picked up the win, making 50 saves.
Cobourg 8 @ Brooklin 10 – OT
This may have been the best game the Kodiaks ever played. Inspired from losing 15-4 to Brooklin on Sunday, the Kodiaks showed some tenacity. Up 5-1 in the second, they did allow the Redmen back in the game at 5-5, but instead of getting down and out as usual, they kept pushing the pace, all the way to overtime. Unfortunately the still-young team lost steam in the extra-frame. Rookie Dylan Hutchison put them up 8-7 but the Redmen replied eight seconds later, as Dan Lintner converted Mitch McMichael’s face-off win. A pair of goals at 7:10 and 7:28 from Derek Hopcroft gave the Redmen the win. Unfortunately for the Kodiaks, if you lose in OT, you don’t get a point, so Cobourg remains at the bottom of the standings with zero points after four games. Matt Crough had a hat-trick for the Kodiaks. Hopcroft and Lintner had two goals each for the Redmen while Reilly O’Connor had a goal and three assists. Adam Perroni, Brodie Tutton and Rob Kloepfer were all tossed in the third for fighting, as well as Colton Armstrong for a boarding major, after previously taking a slashing major in the first.
Brampton 7 @ Peterborough 28
The Lakers had an easy week with just one game and have played the fewest so far with just three. They made their one game this week count, though, and it’s still hard to find the words for it. Fans in the stands at the Memorial Centre were laughing – not necessarily at the Excels expense, but more at the sheer number of goals that were going in. It was a fun night for Lakers fans, although it’s an embarrassing loss the Excels will have to fight hard to bounce back from. The Lakers are perennial contenders for sure, but 28 goals is mind-boggling.
You’d never know the teams were tied 3-3 in the first, but Brampton’s defensive systems just collapsed, allowing the Lakers shot after shot from in close. Rookie goaltender Nolan Clayton just wasn’t up to the task of doing both his job and his defencemens’ jobs as well, and that’s not on him. The Excels were also at the mercy of Jake Withers in the face-off circle. In his first game this summer, the sophomore just back from Ohio State went 24 for 27 on face-offs. You can’t score if you don’t have the ball and Withers barely gave the Excels a chance to play. Being early in the season, the Lakers showed no mercy and used the game as an opportunity to practice systems and build chemistry. Brad Self (2G/11A) led with 13 points. Holden Cattoni scored seven goals, adding two assists. Turner and Shawn Evans each had seven points. Phil Caputo had four goals for the Excels. Despite the outpouring of points, the Lakers still only have two players in the top 10 in league scoring – Turner Evans and Self.
Six Nations 12 @ Oakville 9
This was Oakville’s third game in a week, on an unusual night, and the second time facing Six Nations in a span of four days. That’s not exactly a fair shake from the schedule makers, but the Rock had to soldier on. Just like the first game, momentum was a big factor. The Chiefs had a three-goal run to end the first up 4-2. Oakville had a run in the second that put them up 6-5. Wesley Berg scored in the middle of a six-goal run from the Chiefs but the Rock couldn’t muster much more with special teams killing them. Six Nations was 3-7 on the power play with a shorthanded goal in the span of about 10 minutes between the second and third
The Chiefs offense got to Brett Hickey who picked up two minor penalties including an unsportsmanlike plus a misconduct with 22 seconds left. Hickey and Berg each had two goals and an assist for the Rock. Ryan Benesch (1G/4A) and Jordan Durston (5A) led the Chiefs.