The 2013 Major Series Lacrosse (MSL) season ended in bitter disappointment for the Peterborough Lakers, as the squad failed to make the league finals for the first time in over a decade. The Lakers will look to bring championship calibre lacrosse back to the Peterborough Memorial Centre in the upcoming summer campaign.
Peterborough has made some notable changes in the aftermath of last year’s disappointing finish, including alterations behind the bench. After spending four yeas as an assistant coach for the Lakers, Joe Sullivan will be taking over for Jamie Batley as head coach and general manager. Sullivan, who is also head coach and general manager of the NLL’s Minnesota Swarm, will be joined on the coaching staff by assistants Jason Clark and Mark Crough.
The Lakers solidified their goaltending with the acquisition of Matt Vinc. The netminder spent the summer of 2013 as a member of the Victoria Shamrocks, leading the Western Lacrosse Association champions to an appearance in the Mann Cup finals.
Another notable off-season acquisition is the addition of Adam Jones. The lefty was picked up from the Brooklin Redmen in exchange for Jordan Macintosh. Jones spent last summer with the Langley Thunder of the WLA, notching 32 points (16 G, 16 A) in 17 games.
Leading the Lakers will be 2013 MSL MVP Shawn Evans. The Peterborough native finished with a league-leading 106 points (29 G, 77 A) in the regular season before posting 27 points (13 G, 14 A) in the post season.
Evans will be joined offensively by experienced Lakers including Corey Vitarelli and Mark Steenhuis.
With Andrew Suitor and Andrew Watt—both of whom missed last season with injuries—showing signs of full health with their respective NLL clubs Peterborough will feature a bolstered back end. The Lakers potentially have a hole to fill in the absence Daryl Gibson. The veteran, who was urged out of retirement last season due to an injury plagued Peterborough defense core, earned recognition as team MVP defensively for his efforts.
The Lakers success could be effected by the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championships taking place July 10-19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Peterborough has three games during this timespan, as both Vinc and Jones will be representing Team Canada. Joining Vinc and Jones on Team Canada is Laker veteran John Grant Jr. The prolific scorer played sparingly during the 2013 season, appearing in just seven regular season games before leading the team in playoff scoring with 28 points (10 G, 18 A) in six games. With commitments to Peterborough reducing within recent years and upcoming obligations with Team Canada, Grant could potentially be a seldom sight in the Lakers lineup.
Peterborough will kick off the 2013 MSL season at home versus the Brampton Excelsiors on Thursday, May 29.