The final week of the Canadian Lacrosse League will decide whether it’s the Barrie Blizzard or the Iroquois Ironmen who get the sixth and final playoff spot. The Ironmen have a game in hand so if they can win both matches this weekend; they will guarantee themselves a place in the post season. Sounds like a reasonable task for the Ironmen but they’ve only won two games all season, nevermind two in row. They’re also on the road for these last two games which will make things that much more difficult. On Friday they play against the Brampton Inferno, a team that is coming off their biggest win of the season over the first place Niagara Lock Monsters.
Brampton snapped Niagara’s nine game win streak on Sunday afternoon to move into a three way tie for 2nd place. This was a huge win for the Inferno and they’ll look to keep the momentum going on Friday when they host the Ironmen. These teams met back in February in a tight game that saw Brampton edge Iroquois 12-10. Things have changed since then though and the Inferno are a way stronger team than the one we saw five weeks ago. Although they lost three games in a row right after that; the Inferno have since defeated the Toronto Shooting Stars, the Durham TurfDogs and of course, the Niagara Lock Monsters as previously mentioned. This is going to be a tough game for Iroquois to win but you can bet they’ll lay it all on the line Friday night.
On Saturday the Ironmen will be in Oshawa to face the Durham TurfDogs; a team that did them a huge favour on Sunday by beating the Barrie Blizzard 14-9. Durham sits fifth in the standings but are only two points shy of entering the three team log jam at second place. The TurfDogs squeaked out a 14-13 win the last time these teams faced each other and we should see another battle this time around. This game is extremely important for both teams and it should be the best game of the final week of the CLax regular season. You can listen to the game live on the Radio Lacrosse Network; the link can be found at the top of the home page at www.inlacrossewetrust.com.
If the Ironmen do manage to win both of those games the Barrie Blizzard’s fate will be sealed and they will not enter the playoffs; thus making Sunday’s game a meaningless one for them. However, if the Ironmen lose both games, then it’s win and get in for the Blizzard. Barrie will host the Toronto Shooting Stars who are fighting for sole possession of second place. Toronto has lost two of their last three games but have been one of the best teams in the CLax this season. They are a well balanced team who doesn’t rely on just two or three players to get the job done; a different star steps up every night (pun intended). These teams have met twice already with Toronto winning both games. Toronto hammered Barrie 18-10 at home in the first meeting and then beat them 13-9 on the road. It’s very unlikely that the Ironmen will win both of their games so this one should be the most important game of the year for the Barrie Blizzard.
Notes: The Niagara Lock Monsters have clinched first place which gives them an automatic bye to the final four to be held on April 20th at the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena in Hagersville Ontario. The team that ends up finishing in second place will also get a bye to the final four. If the Barrie Blizzard and the Iroquois Ironmen remain tied for 6th place at the end of the regular season, Barrie will get into the playoffs based on head to head goal differential; which is only a one goal difference.