The Canadian Lacrosse League season continues to entertain, as the parity amongst teams has left it near impossible for experts and analysts to predict the outcome of games. This Week saw the Niagara Lockmonsters, whom where coming off their first win of the season, drop a Friday night affair to the Ohsweken Demons, only to follow that up with a decisive win over the Durham Turfdogs. Meanwhile Barrie Blizzard dropped the top team in the league, in the Southwest Cyclops by a score of 8-7 on the road. Just four points separate last place from first place in the Canadian Lacrosse League, and with just six games remaining in the season, literally anything can happen. It should be an exciting stretch run to the season finale on Sunday, March 15th.
#1 Ohsweken Demons (3-2)
Last Week: 18-11 Win over Niagara
The Ohsweken found the offense they had been searching for this past weekend, exploding for 18 goals against the Niagara Lockmonsters. The potent Demons offense made a very good Niagara defense look like armatures this past weekend, and with the offensive explosion, the Demons have never looked more dangerous. Torrey Van Every led the Demons offensive attack with 5 goals & 2 assists for 7 points, while Chris Attwood and Wayne Van Every weren’t far behind, adding 6 points apiece. The depth of the Demons is something teams need to take note of moving forward, as thirteen players recorded at least a point in the Demons most recent win. Chase Martin got the call in net this past week for the Demons, but was quickly relieved by veteran Jake Henhawk after a tough opening to the game. Still the Demons battled back in the game after being down 6-2 and 8-4 during early parts of the game. A strong 2nd half of the game was what won it for Ohsweken as they claim top spot in the CLAX Power Rankings.
#2 Barrie Blizzard (3-2)
Last Week: 8-7 Win over Southwest
After narrowly dropping their season opener to the Southwest Cyclops, the Blizzard new heading into Saturday night’s matchup they had what it took to knock off the first place team in the league. An while it was a closely contested, hard fought battle, a strong fourth quarter from the Blizzard would ultimately be the difference in the game. Five straight goals from the Blizzard during a 10 minute time span during the fourth quarter saw them tie the game at 5, and then take the lead. Angus Dineley was strong in goal for the Blizzard, as he continues to prove he is arguably the top netminder in the Canadian Lacrosse League. The Blizzard got strong offensive performances from Shane Scott, Zach Tomkinson and Cam Monroe as the usually potent, Scott DeFrancesco and Mike Mawdsley where kept relatively quite throughout the night. Strong goaltending, physical in your face and timely goal scoring has been the strength of the Blizzard this season. If the Blizzard can continue to get timely goal scoring, and keep that physical defense out of the penalty box, they should continue to see success moving forward.
#3 Southwest Cyclops (4-3)
Last Week: 8-7 Loss to Barrie
The Cyclops where in action just once this past week and where unable to hang on to the top spot in the CLAX Power Rankings, however they do still hold a two point lead in the CLAX regular season standings over Ohsweken and Barrie. With that being said the Cyclops have played the most games of any team this season, and have just one game remaining on the schedule. The Cyclops where hurt by the Colorado Mammoth’s signing of Captain Mike Burke, as a once potent offense seemed to take a hit this past week. While it may just be a bump in the road, the Cyclops offense really did run threw Burke, and the likes of Dan Keane, Dylan Webster, Brady Heseltine and Jordan Critch will really need to step up moving forward. The Cyclops continue to get above average defense and goaltending, and that should be able to carry them into a playoff spot, and likely a home playoff date. However if the offense can only muster 7 goals, they could be in trouble moving forward.
#4 Niagara Lockmonsters (2-4)
Last Week: 15-10 Win over Durham, 18-11 Loss to Ohsweken
While Niagara did drop their Friday night encounter with the Ohsweken Demons, they got the win when it counted. The Lockmonsters would go on to defeat the Durham Turfdogs on Sunday afternoon in what was essentially a must win game for Niagara. Corey Fowler, Brendon Thenhaus, Dylan Llord and Jon Arnold had strong offensive games for the Lockmonsters while the defense really hunkered down and limited the Turfdogs offense. The Turfdogs where unable to muster any significant runs offensively and that can be accredited to strong goaltending and ever increasingly good defensive play by Niagara. With two games against Barrie left on the schedule, two wins over the Blizzard could vault the Lockmonsters into 2nd place in the Canadian Lacrosse League standings.
#5 Durham Turfdogs (2-3)
Last Week 15-10 Loss to Niagara
After such an impressive start to the season, the Peterborough… I mean Durham Turfdogs continue to struggle at both ends of the floor. While the offense did put up 10 goals this past weekend, it was the usually suspects providing the bulk of the offense, as Jesse Guerin, Geoff McNulty and Dylan Goddard continue to carry the load offensively. While Tim Bergin, John St. John and Coady Adamson did appear on the score sheet, the club needs to share the ball better and become more of a unit offensively. Defensively the team looks lost at times, as guys are not vocal, switches are missed and players are getting hung out to dry. The frustration is evident. Cole Murray got the start in goal, but Kevin Croswell was in, in relief before the buzzer sounded. The Turfdogs need to find more consistency in goal as both Murray and Croswell have struggled to say the least. One has to question coach Mat Giles in regards to his goaltenders as veteran John Chesebrough is still yet to get a start despite the struggles in goal. A loss this weekend to the Ohsweken Demons could leave the Turfdogs really struggling to snag the final spot in the Canadian Lacrosse League standings.