1. Brooklin Redmen
Brooklin got a boost this week with the return of #1 goaltender Mike Poulin, in addition to several NLL stars fresh from the championship final in Mark Matthews, Curtis Knight, John Lafontaine, Steve Priolo, Mitch Wilde, Adrian Sorichetti, and Kevin Brownell. Despite the added strength and experience, they still only beat the Cobourg Kodiaks 8-6. The Kodiaks transition game killed the Redmen, who allowed three shorthanded goals in one game, two on one power play alone, so that’s something they’ll have to work on as the season goes on. Zach Higgins had done very well in goal for the Redmen but they’ll be glad to have two reliable tenders the rest of the way. Shayne Jackson continued his scoring tear finishing the week with a total of 21 points and sits among the league leaders.
2. Peterborough Lakers
The Lakers had only one contest this week at home versus Brampton, whom they beat on the road 15-5 last Saturday. Thursday’s contest was a tighter one and was only decided in the last minute when Adam Jones broke a 10-10 tie. Shawn Evans added an empty netter for a 12-10 win, but it was a lot closer than the Lakers would have liked. Evans leads the league with 26 points after just four games.
The news came this week that superstar Curtis “Superman” Dickson has a potential sports hernia and that’s why he hasn’t joined the Lakers yet. It’s to be determined whether Dickson will need surgery or not, but regardless it’s unlikely he’ll be able to help his Peterborough teammates on their quest to host the Mann Cup. However, the team received some good news as well – Peterborough native John Grant Jr. has decided to return for one final season in the MSL. He’ll be in the lineup on Thursday when the Lakers host Cobourg, but he won’t be a regular – because he lives in Denver, he likely won’t make more than the six games necessary to qualify for playoffs.
3. Six Nations Chiefs
Oakville was the first team to beat Six Nations this season in the front half of a home and home this week. What can you say about Six Nations? Their best players have been their best players. Dhane Smith, Randy Staats, Cody Jamieson, and Ryan Benesch are always a factor on the score sheet even if they’re only dishing out assists, with Jamieson in the lead at 22 points. Dillon Ward has played the bulk of the minutes as expected and boasts a GAA of 8.0. The Chiefs will benefit from the return of pro face-off man Jay Thorimbert in week three which is only going to make them more dangerous.
4. Oakville Rock
Oakville for some reason continues to seem to do just whatever is necessary to remain in fourth place. Stephan Leblanc and Rob Hellyer lit up the TRAC in their home game against Six Nations, which they won 15-8. Then the next night in a return match at the ILA, their offense was virtually non-existent in a 9-4 loss. Backup Steve Fryer took the loss in that one. They’re inconsistent which isn’t surprising considering how many of their players had such an inconsistent NLL season in Toronto. Leblanc, to no surprise, led the team with 14 points after week two. Despite their inconsistencies, Nick Rose sits second among the league’s top goaltenders with a mind blowing 6.98 GAA*.
*Stats include one game from week 3
5. Brampton Excelsiors
The Excelsiors were dangerously close to starting the season like the Toronto Rock. They went 0-4, losing their fourth on Thursday in Peterborough, a heartbreaker in the last minute. They were well on their way to 0-5 Sunday in Cobourg before a third period miracle brought them back from the dead and showed they’ll be a dangerous team down the stretch. Six Nations Jr A grad Quinton Martin has been playing like a veteran in between the pipes in the absence of Tyler Carlson and perhaps Anthony Cosmo. Time will tell if Martin can handle the responsibility down the stretch, but it’s a good bet that if Brampton falters again, they’ll need an upgrade in goal. As for Sunday’s win, their leaders stepped up. Dan Dawson, Mike Burke, Phil Caputo, and Mike Teeter all had two goals. Burke leads the team in scoring with 18 points.
6. Cobourg Kodiaks
The Kodiaks had two tough games in week two. Wednesday they lost 8-6 in Brooklin, and completely broke down on Sunday at home. A 6-2 after the second period evaporated as Brampton outscored them 8-0 in the third period for a 10-6 win. Nobody expected Cobourg to be super competitive this year for a variety of reasons but Sunday’s loss was just demoralizing. Well on their way to their first home win as a franchise since July 2014, every system just shut down. They don’t have long to recover, though, as they have a home and home with powerhouse Peterborough Thursday and Sunday. One bright spot was the return of goaltender Davide DiRuscio, who was solid in both games making number of tough stops. Matt Crough continues to lead Cobourg with 12 points.