The MSL playoff race heated up this weekend with the resurgence of the Brampton Excelsiors, who picked up wins over both the Brooklin Redmen and Six Nations Chiefs.
Prior to this weekend, the Excelsiors sported a record of 2-8, good enough for four points; two of those points came from a forfeited game by Peterborough, and the other two came from a win over Kitchener-Waterloo. The Excelsiors now sit solidly in fifth place over the Oakville Rock, who held that position prior to this weekend. The last playoff spot is still up for grabs, as Brampton is now only two points back of KW.
Thursday, the Excelsiors defeated the Redmen 14-12 in overtime. Brampton won the game in every regard – outshooting (56-50), outscoring (14-12), and beating the Redmen on face-offs (21-30 Brampton, 9-30 Brooklin). Kevin Ross led the charge with three goals and four assists, while Joe Resetarits added two goals and four assists.
Brooklin had a four goal lead in the third period, but that evaporated as Anthony Cosmo shut the door and Brampton stepped up the offence in the last 11 minutes, rattling off four goals in a row to force overtime. Brampton scored three in the extra frame to the Redmen’s one, to take the game and their second win of the season.
Of note in this game was the one minor penalty taken throughout the whole 70 minutes.
Saturday, the Excelsiors floored a lineup three men short. Six Nations had a full lineup, however, most of their players were call-ups and affiliated players, as a good chunk of the Chiefs lineup is representing Team Iroquois at the World Lacrosse Championships. Without stars like Cody Jamieson, Roger Vyse, and Jeff Shattler, the Chiefs just couldn’t keep up with the energetic Excelsiors, on a high after defeating the Redmen, and took the game 4-3.
Brady Heseltire, Dylan Webster, and Ryan Callaghan led the Excelsiors with two points each.
Cosmo missed the game; Tye Belanger picked up his long awaited first win of the season.
The weekend’s games finally pushed two Excelsiors up to 20 points on the season, Resetarits and Mike Burke.
The Excelsiors troubles this season may partly stem from a lack of home arena. Games that have been traditionally all played at the Powerade Centre have been split between that arena, Memorial Arena, and Century Gardens. Only four games this season have been scheduled for the Powerade Centre. Now that the Excelsiors have found some consistency by picking up some wins, the playoffs are suddenly once again possible.
The Excelsiors will try and make it three wins in a row over top teams when they host the Peterborough Lakers on Monday.