CLAX Power Rankings: Blizzard and Demons Shake Some Ice

Week 2 of the Canadian Lacrosse League season saw the Barrie Blizzard travel to Oshawa, Ontario to take on the Durham Turfdogs, and the Ohsweken Demons travel to Niagara to open their season against the 0-1 Lockmonsters, while the Southwest Cyclops had the weekend off. Barrie used a quick start against Durham to even their record at 1-1, while the Demons and Lockmonsters engaged in a back and forth affair, that ultimately saw the Demons come out on top with a 11-9 win, sending the defending champs into Week 3 action still looking for their first win of the season. Four teams now sit tied for first place in the CLAX Standings, with Ohsweken and Southwest holding slight advantages, as they’ve played just one game.

#1 Barrie Blizzard (1-1)
Last Week: 14-10 W over Durham

Barrie fell behind early in Week 1, and ultimately it ended up costing them against the Southwest Cyclops, however the game was one with Blizzard where in, and easily could have pulled out the victory, if not for the weak opening to the game. In Week 2 Barrie made sure they came out guns a blazing, as they would open up an 8-2 lead by the end of the first quarter. While the Turfdogs would make a valiant effort to come back in the second half, the Blizzard put the game out of reach with 3 straight, late fourth quarter goals to close the game out. With the 14-10 victory, the Blizzard move to 1-1 after two weeks and have looked very impressive at times. Veteran Angus Dineley has been solid through two games, and has provided offense from the goal crease, picking up 2 assists thus far this season. Brad Levick had a goal & 3 assists in Saturday’s victory and has been Barrie’s most effective offensive threat through 2 games, with 4 goals & 4 assists. Mike Mawdsley has also been very impressive offensively for the Blizzard, although he had just 1 goal in the Win against Durham, he did rack up a 5 point effort in week 1. Mike Teeter had an effective debut for the Blizzard, potting 4 goals & 1 assist for 5 points, while seeing a ton of power play time. Though the Blizzard lost defensive stud Colin Boucher to the NLL’s Vancouver Stealth after just one game, the likes of John Rae, Spencer Janes, Tom Watt and Darryl Robertson have stepped up defensively. The Blizzard have a fast, high temp defense that thrives pressure opposing offenses, the Blizzard’s “Defensive” players have also made solid contributions in the offensive zone, increasing there versatility as players.

#2 Ohsweken Demons (1-0)
Last Week: 11-9 W over Niagara

After having a bye in Week 1 of the Canadian Lacrosse League season, the Ohsweken Demons where chopping at the bit to get starter on Sunday afternoon, in a matchup between the two teams that competed in last year’s Creators Cup Final. While the Demons pulled out the win by a narrow margin in a back and forth affair, they did defeat a very talented Niagara squad that looked much improved over their Week 1 performance against the Durham Turfdogs. Although it’s just one win, the Demons finished last season with a 7-1 record and return much of that roster. That coupled with them picking up their 1st win of the year over the very talent Niagara Lockmosters have them sitting 2nd in the power rankings. Veteran Tom Montour showed his versatility and offensive flare on Sunday afternoon, leading the Demons offensively with 6 points on 4 goals & 2 assists. Youngsters Josh Johnson and Rodd Squire had impressive season debuts, each picking up 3 points, while veteran Travis Hill also had a 3 point effort. Neither Roger Vyse or Wayne Van Every suited up for the Demons in their opening game, when those players join the lineup the Demons offense should only become that much more potent. Up next weekend is the Demons home opener where they will take on the undefeated Southwest Cyclops

#3 Durham Turfdogs (1-1)
Last Week: 14-10 L to Barrie

The Durham Turfdogs had an excellent showing in Week 1 against the defending Champion, Niagara Lockmonsters, however falling behind 8-2 after just one quarter of play on Saturday, ultimately cost them the chance at going 2-0. While the Turfdogs picked up their play after first quarter and where able to get within 2 goals of the Blizzard, they just didn’t have the fire power offensively or the timely goaltending they had in week 1. Cole Murray got his second consecutive start in goal, but was relieved of those duties early on in the first quarter, with veteran Kevin Croswell coming in, in relief. Croswell didn’t fair much better early on, but he did settle down as the game moved forward. With a questionable effort in goal Saturday, questions about the Turfdogs goaltending moving forward, may become an issue. Week 1 offensive leader Kyle Clancy was ejected early in the 2nd quarter, after unnecessarily slamming Ross Smith’s head into the end boards. Losing Clancy was a huge blow to the offense, as the Turfdogs where already without Nic Grasby and Coady Adamson on Saturdayafternoon. Dylan Goddard made his season debut and showed well, picking up 3 points. Rookie Josh Gilray also made his debut on Saturday picking up 3 points in the loss. Jesse Guerin remains a steady offensive threat, picking up 3 assists for the 2nd consecutive game. For the Turfdogs to be successful moving forward, they’re going to need to show much better consistency and show much more discipline, as 15 penalties in a single game is exuberant sum. The Turfdogs are off next weekend, so they’ll have some time to correct the issues they faced in Week 2.

#4 Southwest Cyclops (1-0)
Last Week: Did Not Play

The Southwest Cyclops did not see action in Week 2 of the Canadian Lacrosse League season, however they did dispose of the Barrie Blizzard 13-11 on the road in week 1. Given Barrie’s strong effort against the previous undefeated Turfdogs in Week 2, the fact Southwest was able to defeat Barrie on the road last week speaks volumes of the talent of the squad. With youngsters Dan Keane, Jordan Critch and Mike Burke leading the club offensively, scoring shouldn’t become an issue. The Cyclops are also strong in goal with veterans Grant Crawley and Jay Preece protecting the cage. If the Cyclops young defense can continue to effective in limiting scoring opportunities the Cyclops will become a huge threat in the Canadian Lacrosse League. With a tough games on the horizon in Week 3 we will definitely see what the young Cyclops are made of, as they’ll take to the road to play the 1-0 Ohsweken Demons on Saturday.

#5 Niagara Lockmonsters (0-2)
Last Week: 11-9 L to Ohsweken

After a less then stellar effort in Week 1, that saw the Lockmonsters look sloppy and disorganized, they put forth a much stronger effort at home in Week 2, despite ultimately dropping the game 11-9 to Ohsweken. After a quite Week 1 performance, offensive star Corey Fowler broke out for 3 goals & 2 assists in the Week 2 loss, while former Toronto Rock offensive stud Brendan Thenhaus also got back on track offensively with 2 goals & 2 assists. The Lockmonsters defense tightened in Week 2 and they got off to a much better start, things are starting to click for the defending Champs, however they’re still not quite where they want to be. With that being said, if Niagara could of won the game on Sunday, the bounces just simply did not go their way. With a road matchup against Southwest next up for the Lockmonsters, they are in a position where they need a victory. Look for them to come out heated, with Guns a blazing on January 31st