Kodiaks Stun Chiefs at Home in MSL

Concerning Tuesday night’s Major Series Lacrosse matchup between the Kitchener/Waterloo Kodiaks and the Six Nations Chiefs, a wise man once said “The Kodiaks have a chance to take this on home floor” and “The winning team may only need six [goals].” Oh wait, that was me. And, oh wait, I was right.

Shameless gloating aside, the two teams, at least on paper, did not match up well at all. Logic dictated Six Nations would come into the Kodiaks’ barn, raze the roof and leave. But a closer analysis of the matchup would show otherwise. Both Evan Kirk and Mike Poulin have played exceptional in the Kodiaks and Chiefs nets. Either goaltender is capable of stealing the show, as was the case on this night.

The first thing fans notice when entering the Waterloo Athletics Center, home of the Kodiaks, is the size of the floor. Rather than the normal NHL sized surface, the Kitchener club plays on an Olympic size floor. The width is a substantial difference, and it became apparent early on Kitchener was comfortable playing there, while Six Nations weren’t.

Both teams scored in the first five minutes before Jamie Rooney put one in to give Kitchener the lead. Martin Whittaker then scored Kitchener’s third goal of the period to make it 3-1, but his foot was clearly in the crease. The missed call was important as it contributed to a four goal run to end the period, and give the Kodiaks a 5-1 lead heading to the lockerroom. Most of the five goals scored by the home team came off offensive players creating space by backing up a few steps and using the extra floor space. Six Nations was trying to figure out how to either contain the Kodiaks or use the floor to their advantage, but couldn’t until much later.

Six Nations has been known to play a gritty style of play, but at times some players have gone over the line. In the first Cody Jamieson was one of those players as he was called for elbowing in an altercation behind the play. The biggest culprit of the night would be Rory Smith, however, as he got into it with his man. A few slashes back and forth after the play led to a nose-to-nose confrontation. With Kitchener changing, Rory Smith drove his man into the open door and onto the Kitchener bench where he followed the play into the tunnel. The entire Kitchener bench, and the Chiefs’ Sid Smith, crowded around before referee Mark Gardonio jumped in to cool things off. Smith was escorted to the dressing room with a minor for roughing and a game misconduct. No doubt this is not the last we will hear of this incident, especially given Scott Evans suspension last week for entering the opposition bench.

Six Nations scored two goals in the second period, both from Casey Beirnes, the latter of which came with a tenth of a second remaining in the frame. They were sandwiched around a Joey Cupido marker which made the score after two 6-3 Kitchener.

The emotions seemed to calm down for the final period and the teams got down to playing lacrosse. Aaron Wilson started things off for Kitchener on the powerplay, their third such goal on the night in five chances. Craig Point answered sixteen seconds later, and Colin Doyle scored just twenty-seven seconds following that goal to draw Six Nations within two. But it would be Evan Kirk standing on his head down the stretch, including two key saves in the final minute, to secure the victory. Recognition also goes to Ryan Dilks who made a brilliant play flipping the ball in the air, away from the attacker, catching it and calling time out with seventeen seconds to play. The possession allowed the Kodiaks to run out the clock and score their biggest win of the season.

Kitchener has been knocking on the door to greatness all season long. They already hold a win over Brampton, and now have a victory against Six Nations. They have yet to play Brooklin, but when they do, it is becoming clear Kitchener wants everyone to know they should be included in conversation with the best teams in the league.

For the entire boxscore, be sure to check out Pointstreak.com.